growth

WomenWhoCode helping women in tech

WWCONNECT2016 in Seattle

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Computer literacy is becoming essential than ever in a recent development of technology. At work, I find myself feeling incapable because I don’t understand Ruby, SQL and data analysis. I’ve been feeling of necessity of learning how our app works so I can talk to our developers and find a solution. One of my colleague have told me “Everyone should learn how to code.” Working at a small office, I know that it’d help a lot if everyone could jump in on a repo and fix issues, and create and discuss new features based on coding knowledge (not just an idea off course from capability of our system).
Then at home, as I sit down winding on a couch, CEO of Girls who code was talking on The Daily Show with Trevor Noah about their mission to teach girls to code and touted about their success stories. I’ve seen more and more of the message of importance of coding skill.

OK, so I need to learn how to code.

So, what do I do? As I was searching on the web and found the Women who code having an event in Seattle. I wasn’t sure if this is the right place for somebody who just started learning to code. I’ve been teaching myself basic free online courses for a couple of months. I really wanted to see if this is something I can do it and enjoy it. I wanted to see women working in the field, their success and their struggle and all. And I found WWCode created this worldwide community and it is growing strong. I thought this will be a great opportunity to learn. So, I signed up WWCONNECT2016 held in Seattle on Mar 19-20.

I’m glad I flew to Seattle (on March, yeah, I was advised it’s not the best season to go there but I found the weather was soothing and I liked it.) As I got there at the venue, there was a sense of support, encouragement and motivation in a room.

Here’s what I learned at WWCONNECT2016 conference.

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Takeaway

Whatever your passion may be, do learn to code. — Nandini Ramani, VP of Engineering at Twitter

Her story was personal and motivational. Keyword was “keep learning”. “Your knowledge is a size of your fist. And the rest is what you don’t know.” – that’s a wisdom she received from her father. Her aspiration to keep learning showed us why she is successful in her career but also an interesting and outstanding woman. I was able to talk to her after the keynote speech. I appreciate her generosity and openness.

Your goal is to not just become a great engineer, but to become a great engineer to inspire others. — Regina Wallace-Jones, Head of Security Operations at Facebook

To inspire the world is our goal and it was an important message that coding skill could be used in cross-industry. You may be want to work in medical field or law, but your coding skill will come to play to achieve success in a respective field.

Speak up for yourself and speak up for others — Rebekah Bastian, VP at Zillow

Speaking up in the meeting can be horrifying sometimes, especially for women. Her advice was to speak up in the first 5 min. If you spoke first, you get recognized and it becomes easier. She continues, once you learn how to speak up, then help others to let their voice heard. Sometimes quiet ones have a great idea and solution that saves a company cost and time.

*Quote may not be their exact words. It’s based on my notes.

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Workshops

There were a lot of workshops going on simultaneously. Some were advanced topic specifically focused on certain theme like API, Gerret, Javascript. But some were more general topic that apply to any role you may have at work like leadership and salary negotiation etc.

“Empathy” was a keyword I heard throughout different workshops. In a workshop “Bridging a gap between design and engineering”, speaker talked about importance of empathy between designers and engineers. In User Centered Design workshop,  empathy towards users was talked about in order to bring a pleasant experience.

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Community

Lastly, this is the most creative thing I’ve seen in this event. CEO of WWCODE asked audience to come up on the stage and give a shot-out about their success #applaudher.

Nothing is more motivational than hearing the real story from each one of these women. And above photo is the wall where participants left a note of their success.

#ApplaudHer

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It was so inspiring to talk to fellow participants at the event. Each had a different path. Some did sort of a traditional way coming straight up from undergrad and/or graduate school and landed at a highly successful companies in the world like facebook and Amazon. Others made a career transition from consultant to software engineer, from nanny to software engineer, or home maker to iOS developer!

Thanks WWCODE. Best of luck for all.

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