Women in Computing — Grace Hopper Celebration 2012

photo by Terrikograce_hopperPhoto by Flickr user Terriko

On Oct. 2-6 2012, I attended the Grace Hopper Celebration of Woman in Computing Conference which was held at Baltimore, Maryland. It was a very exciting trip and a great experience for me.

This annual celebration is presented by Anita Borg Institute for Woman and Technology and it is one of the world’s largest conferences for woman in computing. 3600 people from 42 countries attended this year, and it was a great opportunity to meet many intelligent women who work as company executives, fellows, engineers, professors, teachers, and students.

This year's theme, “Are We There Yet?”, was supported by many great keynotes, plenary sessions, and technical tracks. The conference also hosted many workshops on career mentoring, technical expert and leader brand building. Leading researchers presented their current work, special sessions focused on the role of women in today’s technology fields, including computer science, information technology, research and engineering.

Focusing on technical and career path tracks and sessions, I have gained a broader view of current computing technology and its new trends. I have learned that it is important to keep enthusiasm high and will make concerted efforts focused on improving my leadership, communication and social skills, and I plan to work on building my own social networks. I saw some great examples of how to reinforce inner values and to increase peace of mind. I will focus on living the spirit of "you either succeed or learn, never fail".

On an open source panel, four women pioneers talked about the first open source products their joined. They shared their experiences and explained where to start, how to choose an open source project, and what attitude one should keep throughout. Building open products was a very hot topic and many of the young girls present were really interested and ready to jump in.

During the conference I also joined Yahoo recruiting team and got chance to talk to students. I spent time introducing Yahoo products, sharing my feelings on the working environment, industrial culture, daily routines, how projects are handled and even specifics like the differences between development jobs and product management jobs.

I recommend this experience to all women in tech. Take this chance to show your work, build networks, and gain valuable skills. You will quickly see the benefits of working on collaborative proposals, networking, mentoring, and increasing your own personal visibility and that of the contributions of other women in computing.