European Women in Technology 2017 – an event with attendees from every corner of the continent, was held in November in Amsterdam, and so it was a great opportunity for women working in Uniface to be a part of the event. It was an excellent platform to enable the tech sector to connect, learn about what is going on around the industry and to be inspired by the many women achieving fulfilling and interesting careers in technology.
In this blog, we take 3 perspectives from those who attended. First up, Jyoti Singh, Software Developer:
The two day conference consisted of multiple parallel sessions running: inspirational keynotes, personal and career development workshops, technical classes, and networking opportunities; in short it contained all you need to progress and flourish in the tech sector.
As a whole, the event was significant from following different perspectives:
- Inspirational and Motivational – It was an incredible experience to hear and learn from successful people in tech about championing women, the importance of female role models, accelerating career, getting into the boardroom etc. Some very interesting talks were about how to build confidence, use the right body language and market yourself to maximize your potential. It was also very encouraging to see how many women are leading in their career along with taking charge of their Life-Work Balance and succeeding in ever-Changing Technology World. It was a perfect learning for a reflection on your own career and where you are heading.
- Be Tech-savvy – Few sessions were targeted on latest trends and emerging technology, some are listed below :
- Big data – being one of the hottest buzzwords across industry, but despite the hype there are challenges of distributed data storage and how to store and process big data are not yet fully understood. There were some good analysis in the session about how to approach these challenges by dispelling some myths, pointing out the pros and cons of various solutions available on the market and giving some tips on building reliable data pipelines.
- Augmented Reality (AR) – Explaining how to build with AR using tools such as- ARCore and ARKit and find out the potential of AR for innovation in marketing and in product.
- Build Chatbots – with Amazon Lex – Amazon Lex is an AWS service for building conversational interfaces for applications using voice and text. The session was explaining that with Amazon Lex, you can build sophisticated, natural language chatbots into your applications to create new user experiences.
- Browser Peer to Peer Connections – How to create a server-less Realtime multiplayer game using peer to peer connections in the browser, making use of the WebRTC and dart technology.
- Transforming the World with Artificial Intelligence (AI) – the hottest topic in technology – AI is not scary and that it can even be the exact opposite. The session explained that how AI is already helping people to do amazing things. How AI is can be used in our daily lives. Example: intelligent machines, self driving cars, smart camera’s, your own digital personal assistant, ways to discover new forms of medical treatment & much more!
- IoT and the Cloud – how to leverage Amazon Web Services (AWS) to build a real connected product which includes securely ingesting and sending data to the cloud and enabling device-device communication.
- Networking – Last but very important, it was a great opportunity to meet like minded people and build the connections.
The entire event was truly inspiring and thought provoking, and here I would like to end writing with my favourite quote from the sessions:
Next is Krissie Towikromo, Marketing Analyst:
In my whole career in the IT industry this was the first time that I attended the European Women in Technology Conference 2017. I went to this event with no baggage and no expectations. I wondered: “why is there a need for such a big event for Women in IT?” I was overwhelmed by the passionate, positive and uplifting stories from the speakers. We heard great stories from IBM, Microsoft and Adidas, among others.
During the inspiring sessions women explained the path they followed to get where they are today. The workshops were fun as some of the sessions were interactive and attendees could really participate in them. You could visit one of the 31 companies on the exhibition floor who were there to show off their solutions and recruit talented women.
The lack of woman in tech does exist in 2017, and talking to all these talented women made me again realize we are far from ‘there’ yet.
Finally, from Christy Hillebrink, Marketing Director:
In one way it’s a pity that such an event exists—highlighting the shortage of female talent in the field of IT. However, the same can be said for other industries as well. Teaching for example is an area where the number of women far outweigh the number of men. So while it feels strange to have a specific event on this topic, on the other hand, it’s great that the lack of women in IT functions is being put on the radar and being talked about. That can only lead to more awareness and action from women, men and companies alike.
The focus of the event was around diversity and inclusion—and how companies that operate with these foundations can find more success than if they aren’t actively working in these areas. For me personally, there were several takeaways, thoughts and inspiration that I would like to share (in completely random order):
- School curriculum and the promotion of IT topics in education is severely limited and outdated. This hurts everyone.
- Be a “learn it all” vs a “know it all” to empower others and advance in your own career.
- IBM prediction: medical labs “on a chip” will trace disease and predict our health. Cool!
- Diversity is more than gender and race, and building teams based on which talents individuals can bring to the table is an art form.
- Tech tracks being led by women engineers (everything from AI to blockchain to machine learning and everything in between) underlined that embracing IT is an opportunity for everyone.
It was very unique to attend an IT event with so many women. While there is not a quick fix, or even a concrete solution for having more women in IT, events like this help create a step in the right direction.