11 May 2012

Talent Showcase of Geekgirls in the UK

" The future belongs to those who can create networks" - Bookboon

This post is a week over due as I have been a little busy with work. I couldn't post about the recent event at Geekgirl and ThoughtWorks...

...For those that have kids; are you doing enough to show your kids that they can do anything in life without fear or judgement? Or are you raising them to believe that certain jobs should only be fulfilled by a certain gender. I ask this because to a large extent our believes are influenced by parents. This is not a discussion about nurture vs nature, for that read this; 'Who Shaped Our Behavior? Peers or Parents?' 

Moving on...You may not be in IT, but I think opening your mind and therefore that of your kids to the endless possibilities of the thousands of jobs out there within the industry changes and shapes the world we live in. This "influencing"shouldn't just be left to career advisers or teachers but should also be discussed at home.

I recently attended the very first GeekGirl UK meetup at the Google campus in the city(London). It was showcasing the talents of women within the IT industry, who gave talks from Test Driven Development, Privacy in within Social Networking to Start-ups and benefits of mentoring. It was a delight to see so many women showcasing their passion for technology as well as sharing knowledge through current and past projects they have been a part of. This was held on Sunday, April 29th. 

I then attended another event held in St Pauls by ThoughtWorks who gave a talk on Continuous Design and Delivery; centered around the Agile methodology. This was the second women's only event in a space of two weeks. "Why is it only women allowed?" "Why are men not allowed", were just some of the questions I got from some of my male friends. With some the reaction I got was more of an eye-glistening stare, which gave me the impression that some envisioned a bunch of red swim-suit-clad-females pouncing around alla Baywatch. With one jokingly asking if I was training to be a lesbian.  Now, before you start hyperventilating furiously while clutching baseball bats ready to rip my friend a new one; he was joking!

The Continuous Designs and Delivery presentation surprisingly had some male attendees, so I was gutted because one of my friends wanted to come but I got the impression that it was a female only event. There is nothing wrong with events like this. I see them more as a celebration of the increase in females joining the industry. That's not to say that men shouldn't be allowed at these events because I don't think we would appreciate men having that restriction at other events. If we are celebrating the increase of women in the IT industry we can certainly do this without excluding the other gender. Its the same as men celebrating the increase of males within the nursing industry or increased presence in any other female dominated industry. They can celebrate that without excluding females....Ok enough of the lecture! The pictures and snippets from the GeekGirl event are below.


Introduction by the organisers Heidi Harman and geeky crew:

Ellen Sundh gave an interesting talk on incorporating 3D sound into your applications. Also showcasing her project on the Sound of Football as well as the endless possibilities of bettering apps by taking advantage of this technology.

Susan Mar gave a talk on interactive design and the use of artificial intelligence in interactive installations. One the installations she talked about is currently in John Lewis on the second floor(Ladies wear). If I venture out that way I will be sure to update this post with more details.

Paula Graham debated what freedom/privacy really means when the govements can freely access our emails as well as other data which we think is personal and private.(Thanks to the terrorism laws and such)

Becky Stewart talked about the arts of programming and IDEs on the openframework communities.

Trisha Gee took on a passionate talk on mentoring and just how important it is to get involved in mentoring graduates. If you want quality graduates then take part and show graduates an insight of the industry you work in to prepare them for roles they could be fulfilling in future. There is also a shortage of women taking part so contact Trisha if you are interested in getting involved(as well as men of course). No, you don't need to spend hours and hours with graduates you could also provide help or advice via email.

Jamie Tolentino enthused on how empowering learning how to code can be for your application development careers.

Maria Gomez demoed the tools and tricks around Test Driven Development in JavaScript

Jill Irving works in user experience(UX), talked about responsive design on mobile and tablet applications.

There were many young and talented women at the event who will no doubt pave the way for more women in the IT industry for time to come. There were more sessions that I wished I had attended but they clashed with other sessions I was also eager to not miss out on.

There are more pictures here with links to the different project the ladies talked about.

ThoughtWorks:   Continous Design/ Continous Delivery

An introduction from Luke Barrett, ThoughtWorks' MD for Europe followed by Renee Hawkins, Patrick Downey and Jill Irving. They went through what goes into the software development process, idea-to-market, UX - understanding the users(empathy maps, user characters...) by using creative idea storming methods.  The talks also covered tips on continuous delivery on large system implementations that involve lots of 'moving' parts.

Also taking on questions from the audience with regards to how ThoughtWorks measured success on projects.; making sure that both the project sponsors and actual users are happy. Another important aspect of automation for certain tasks that in the long run save time and money. Especially when you have frequently repeated tasks.

In addition to a great presentation I was impressed by some of the Pro Bono work on their social impact program. This includes custom mobile apps that are beneficial to those in the developing world.

It was also great to see some familiar faces at the presentation. I managed to catch up with some of the ladies I met at the Geekgirl meetup. As well as the presentation, Thoughworks is also in the market for talented ladies(Yes! Men as well before you bite my head off). I had the pleasure of chatting to Mr Massey, one of Thoughworks' recruitment coordinators. Who is also an actor!  (Yes your read it right the first time.) No wonder their table was labeled the 'Talent Team' with an  impressive acting CV so I guess the label was well suited. So many questions...Well if you are a talented "geek" and in the market for a position(of the IT kind...) then check out Thoughtworks and their talent spotting team.

If there is anything mentioned here that you would like more information on, then tweet me or email me and I will do my best to help.

Please don't forget to “like” me on Facebook if you haven’t done so already! Thanks for your support!



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