Friday, October 10, 2014

Grace Hopper Conference 2014: Thursday

We were all anxious to get to the conference Thursday morning, because rumor was the special guest coming in was "super important". I couldn't believe Megan Smith, Chief Technology Officer, walked out on stage! I can't even describe how wonderful it is to see a woman in that high of a tech position in our nation.

Next up, CEO of Microsoft, Satya Nadella. It was so inspiring to hear how he worked his way up from the bottom.

The first (and only) session I attended was a chat Sew Electric by Leah Buechley, Kanjun Qiu and Sonja de Boer is a book of projects that combine fabric, electronics, and programming. The Media Equation by Bryon Reeves was written in 1996. She mentioned this would still be a great book to read - what still stands today, and what has changed since?
with Elizabeth Churchill from eBay Research Labs. She mentioned a few books that I need to add to my Empty Shelf Challenge.

More highlights:

  • Interfaces are more than screens.
  • You name it, and sooner or later someone will have a chip in it (shoes, chairs, etc).
  • Technologies are social and getting more social in nature as it progresses. It's sociotechnical.
  • Good things evolve.
  • Digital information is an "agile material."

We had lunch at the Pizzeria Bianco. It was pretty good pizza, but not my favorite. I'm more of a thick crust kind of girl. We did try a pizza with pistachios on it. Surprisingly, it was really good! They also had mexican coke there which made my heart so, so happy.

Once back at the conference, I hit up the career fair before meeting with the Indiana University group. I got to chat with Shopify, Spiceworks, EA, and Joomla!

I won a copy of the special edition Sims 4 while I was at the EA booth. Pretty awesome! :)

After meeting up with the group from Indiana University and Dean Bobby Schnabel, I decided to go back to the hotel to rest. After a mix of heat and exhaustion, I felt like I could pass out any second. A member of our group walked me to my room to make sure I didn't pass out on the way. I slept for an hour or two and woke up pretty shaky still. I had a salad downstairs and thought maybe the veggies would be good for my body since all the conference has had so far is junk food. After eating I felt a lot better. I finished the evening watching the Colts vs. Texans and working on my cross stitch. I woke up feeling okay today. Not too sure how today will go, so I am planning it by ear and taking it easy.

We fly out in the morning and I will be back in Indianapolis Saturday evening.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Grace Hopper Conference 2014: Wednesday

Wednesday started bright and early at 5:30am (I was too anxious to sleep).

From 9:30-11:15am, everyone (all 8,000 of us) attended the opening keynote! So many inspirational words were spoken before lunch even began!

Speaking of lunch, we had lunch at the Hard Rock Cafe downtown. I got a delicious burger and we split a flight of margaritas.

The first session I attended was Technology Roles in Consumer Facing Companies. I thought this was a very interesting and relevant topic. They had a panel of professionals from insurance and financial institutions. Did you know there is a large amount of IT professionals needed in those industries? I had no idea, but it makes sense! Nationwide, CapitalOne, and Bank of America all had representatives there.

Lessons learned:

  • Every company is a tech company. Interactions are now via mobile and web. Customers need access 24/7.
  • Men and women get confidence in different ways. Men talk themselves up internally. Women actually need external sources of confidence. They need to know they are awesome! Know your external sources of confidence to keep your head high!
  • Energy Management Practice (at Nationwide) really helps with work/life balance.
  • Knowing the end user makes a huge difference. You need to keep the user in mind.
  • Broaden your experience among multiple disciplines.
  • My favorite takeaway: Be willing to be vulnerable. Be willing to fail. It's okay to fail!

After that session, I went back to the hotel so I could psych myself up for my 2 interviews in the afternoon!

At 4:30, I had an interview with Travelers. Suma was such an inspiring woman to talk to! I learned that my skill set is needed in the industry, but I need to start digging into Java and ASP.NET. Travelers offers a professional leadership program. It can train you to become the best leader you can be! Several people who have been through the program are now top level executives in large companies. She let me know someone will be in contact with me in about two weeks.

I had some time before my next interview, so I went and chatted with Bank of America, Apple, Pacific Northwest Labs, HP, and Intel. All of them were looking for people like me and that was very encouraging!

At 7:00, I had an interview with Nationwide Insurance. This was the interview I was so pumped about. They have an office in Ohio and are growing rapidly! After chatting with Lisa, she sounded very interested. She mentioned they hire a lot of people on the spot at the conference, but unfortunately the hiring manager was not there. I absolutely cannot wait to follow up with them.

Before my shift at the School of Informatics booth, I ran by the Linked In table. They were taking free professional head shots for your profile! I definitely took advantage of the opportunity and cannot wait to see the results. I also need to get my resume to them, but I am saving that for Thursday. Wednesday was a bit overwhelming, to say the least.

From 8-10pm, I staffed the IUPUI School of Informatics booth. My favorite part? People watching. What can I say, it happens. :)

So excited to see what Thursday brings! I am going to try to focus on finishing up my tour of the career fair.