WWConnect 2016 Recap

Well this recap is long overdue, been a busy bit of time since then, luckily there has been other news sources with WWConnect coverage too. Overall an incredible experience being the first annual Women Who Code conference, my first conference for tech, AND I gave a talk. *phew*

First day started pretty normal, check in, wander around to see the space and what booths were being set up later for the career fair (hint: Facebook, Snapchat, Heroku to name a few). Going upstairs to the main area, I ran into the speaker coordinator who showed me to our smaller conference room where we can prepare and review our slides. I knew the Portland WWC group was going to show up soon, so I went to go find them in the main area. There was quite a bit of sitting and listening to the keynotes, but that’s what I do best, I like to listen and learn from others experiences; more often than not I am able to apply part of it to my own situation.


The first day keynotes included Alaina Percival (CEO of WWC!) followed by Regina Wallace-Jones, who works with Facebook security, and then some panelists after that. During lunch after the keynotes, I was able to make a ring and chat with fellow Portlanders who made the trek up, it was nice to see some familiar faces from the networking nights! After lunch, the clock was ticking and only had one full hour before panic to talk would set in. My first talk I went to was Erica Stanley’s “Prototyping for Iot” (Internet of Things, think bluetooth connectivity), which was another great intro besides going to an IoT meetup recently to prepare for my builder kit to come soon! I was also able to chime in with a talk I remember hearing years ago from Imogen Heap and her musical gloves she uses to perform multiple instruments. (check it out here) P.S. she’s the co-founder for GDI Atlanta!


Once that talk was over, I spent the remaining half hour or so, pacing and nervously looking over my notecards I never used but it’s more helpful to carry around. I saw the room I earlier in the day where I was going to talk which looked like it could hold 10 people around the table comfortably and the room was PACKED by the time I started. I was amazed so many would show up! A few left but that was the theme of the weekend…there were about four talks going on intermittently during the same hour and difficult to pick! Doing my quick talk went over all well I thought; I mostly surprised myself that I was able to fill the time allotted (half hour) since I’m a reserved quiet person at heart. There were even questions to answer at the end, which was a nice turnabout since I’d rather answer questions than prod other people. A couple came up from Portland and asked what my favorite knit shops were and if I went to any meetup. Another more serious one was after hearing I quit my old job and moved cities, they were curious of my game plan. I was just three hours away in Seattle, where they were planning Philadelphia to Colorado! That’s…much bigger of a trip. The last who came up to me surprised me the most was one of the sponsors of the whole weekend came up and we chatted while going to the career fair area to the 3D printer stand to chat about their MakerSpace, which I found Portland has one too! The night before was a long drive up and a couple stops along the way, honestly after talking, I was exhausted. So, I went back to the place I was staying and took a lonnnnng snooze and relieved to be done.

The second day started a bit later than the preious and thankfully so with a similar run down. Grad lots of coffee, some snacky breakfast foods, announcements and more keynotes. Nandini Ramani (VP of Twitter engineering) was first and like all other talks, so inspiring to see what you are able to do in tech and the obstacles more than likely will be in my future. Following her was a larger speaking panel of a group of women in tech spanning numerous years and their input of their setbacks, what they excelled in and so on. Post lunch were more talks and once again difficult to choose! Since I’m learning JavaScript right now, I went to Ke Chang’s talk on React Native to show how the library can make phone apps work for both iOS and Android and you don’t necessarily have to pigeon hole yourself to either one to work with it.


The last talk I went to was a bit tech and terminology heavy that went over my head but thought I’d be able to learn more about APIs and how they work. It was more a roadmap how to find the good ones to work with; overall look for documentation, clean code, and updated regularly. Sadly, this was the last talk of the day and I wish I could have seen more! I know there are going to be many more conferences in my future so I can’t take back what I already passed in talks but to look forward to many more.

Speaking of, later this month, ACT-W is going on and I’m working to revamp my portfolio and connect with more local development companies! Nice to have a conference that’s a short drive away :)

Until next time!

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