was a four day conference to empower women software engineers to become thought leaders, conference speakers, and open source contributors. I attended the conference last year as well - and I learnt so much from it. Check out my previous blog post
This year, I attended as an alumna and a conference organizer. My main role in the conference organization was getting sponsorships and co-ordinating sponsors (booths, sponsor talks, and so on) during the conference. Thus, I could participate in most of the conference. This gave me a very unique perspective - because I got to experience the conference from both sides simultaneously - as an attendee and an organizer.
In this blog post, I’m going to touch just the surface of my learnings and my incredible discoveries during these 4 days:
What I learnt as an organizer:
The power of aligned vision: It’s no secret that great things can be achieved if people are united with a common vision and mission. I got to experience this first hand at Write/Speak/Code 2016. Here we were, a group of organizers from all over the country (Chicago, NY, Boston, Portland…the list goes on). Some of us had never met each other - some of us had met just once, during the conference last year. Some of us were close friends. Here’s the thing: it didn’t really matter how well we knew each other. We had all gotten together, communicated virtually over Slack and Hangouts for the past few months and all of us had one common goal - to deliver a successful conference. How did we unite with this common vision? Because our leaders (our conference lead and all W/S/C board members) lived and breathed the vision and passed it on to us.
The power of community: One of the goals of W/S/C is to create a community of amazing people who want to support each other and help each other grow. The conference did just that - even before it started, during the conference, and after it got over too. As an organizer in charge of sponsorship, I reached out to many people - and I found support and encouragement. During the conference, one thought dominated my mind, "there are so many awesome people in the world and so many of them are in this room!" Above all, I learnt that I have a community - to rely on, to accept me, and to help me grow. And this feeling has been the most precious of all!
What I learnt as an attendee:
All the talks and sessions in the conference were great - and each of them offered an unique perspective and a new idea. All of them deserve a blog post of their own, and I may
do just that in the near future - so subscribe to my blog
for further updates! Here are just some of the highlights:
A place for creativity in tech: While technology is a lot about logic, math, and science - there’s growing realization that in order for technical teams to be successful, they need to be creative too. This was a theme in many of the talks - that explored creative approaches to being successful in technical teams.
Importance of communication in tech:
Clear and concise communication is important in all fields and all industries. The technology industry is no exception. Many sessions explored great ways to improve communication in technology and leadership roles. There is also another form of communication I was “reintroduced” to during this conference. While I was aware of "sketchnoting" as a way to communicate, this conference gave me a chance to try my hand at it. Here’s one of the sketch notes I did
during the conference.
Burnout and emotional labor in tech: This aspect of the technology industry is mostly felt by the underrepresented groups. I have often been the only girl in the technical team, and I inadvertently ignored this feeling - especially because I did not have a way to describe it. During the conference I realized that burnout and emotional labor in tech are real - very real. However, all is not lost - because there are ways to deal with it and many conference sessions touched upon this too!
Checkout the Write/Speak/Code 2016 twitter hashtag for updates/thoughts from other attendees: #wsc2016conf
Finally, Write/Speak/Code is all about inciting change - and we’re all doing just that!