“Do not limit yourself. Other people will do that for you.”
Last week I attended the inspireWiT conference in Nottingham.
The layout of the day was talks and a panel in the morning before lunch, and then in the afternoon you took part in the workshops that you had pre-booked onto. My workshops were Hacking LEDs with the BBC micro:bit and Web Scraping and Bot Making with Python.
The Talks and Panel
Clare Choubey – The Accidental Programmer
Clare talked about her journey into technology, and hearing how much she has done was incredible!
But the main thing that struck a chord with me, was how she tackled myths that surround working in technology, and in particular software development.
She took on the stigma of that working in technology is only for men, and I think it’s great she did, as Ada Lovelace was the first every programmer, software development is our industry so lets stop thinking otherwise!
Similar to my story she make a point of saying that you don’t need a degree to get the job in tech you want and that you shouldn’t be put off by non-traditional paths!
You need the aptitude not the degree!!
Pauline Narvas – Nevertheless, She Persisted
Similar to Clare, Pauline talked us through her journey into technology, and in particular coding and blogging.
She covered the rejection she had experienced from classmates at school, to her successes in the digital world and her love for Code First:Girls.
She also pointed out one of the core reasons CFG exists – tech shouldn’t just be a boy club, and together we are working towards getting rid of that concept.
She pointed out that her journey into tech hasn’t been linear, which resonates with me, as mine wasn’t either.
Pauline also gave some great advice about being a woman in tech:
- Community is so imperative, we must all find one
- Support each other
- Speak up
- Don’t wait to be perfect – strive for progress instead
- Don’t be afraid to be different
The overall message of her talk was that without persistence you can’t get where you want to be and that “persistence is a Genie that creates a magical force in your life”.
Jess White – What’s Up Notts?
Jess did a talk I haven’t come across but loved (due to a future project I’ve been working on) about what is going on in Nottingham in regards to tech.
She covered lots, some things that I didn’t even know existed!
- Code Club (9-13 year old after school coding sessions which teach Scratch and Python)
- Hireable technology spaces
- Cafes which have board games and vintage gaming consoles
It was great to hear that the town had so much to offer to those who live there to help culture a tech loving community!
We had a quick panel session before lunch, where these lovely ladies informed us of their jobs and did a quick Q&A!
They all did a really great job – especially as there were some technical issues with the microphones!
My favourite workshop was with the Micro:bit!
Using the BBC Micro:bit was my first experience of working with hardware, as I’m a software developer, and I thought it was fascinating how it worked!
I got to try out some pretty cool stuff (or at least it seemed cool to me!) where we made our names scroll on it, and then we hooked them up to some LED lights so that when we shook the Micro:bit it made the lights switch on!
We did loads of other things, and it was such an eye opener to how different roles in IT are, for example my cousins work in hardware and I had no idea as to what it entailed, this workshop gave me a great preview into their work!
I’m definitely going to get my hands on one of these!
#leedscodefirst and #ShefCodeFirst
One of the reasons I went to inspireWiT was because a few of the girls who were on the #leedscodefirst course wanted to attended the conference as they had started to become interested in a career in tech from the CFG course.
We had a great time and what was great was that we never ran out of anything to say all day, we just chatted literally from dawn until dusk!
When were looking for seats in the theatre I bumped into Pauline who helped run #ShefCodeFirst. I’ve met Pauline before and we’ve been friends on Twitter for a while, and as she knew I’d brought some girls from Leeds CFG that she instantly invited us to come join the Sheffield crew for the day.
This was a great opportunity for the girls as this helped them network and meet new people – which is one of the whole reasons these conferences exist!!! – and it was nice for me too as I could catch up with those that I had met at the CFG Annual Conference, which was held in November last year.
This is one of the things that I love about these conferences – you get to meet the people you talk to or know online in real life, and as everyone supports each others work its heartwarming!
Next time you are at an event, don’t be afraid to go up to people and talk to them – this was encouraged at the beginning of inspireWiT and from it we met tonnes of awesome people!
Make sure you don’t miss out on the full experience of a conference just because you feel shy to approach people as chances are they feel the same!
I hope this inspires you to attend a conference or come to inspireWiT 2019! 💻