Write/Speak/Code 2016 Recap




This was my first time attending Write/Speak/Code and it was an amazing experience. Not only did I learn useful information for advancing my career I delivered my first Keynote talk. I put together a few highlights of the event below:


Overview

So the event took place at The Chicago School of Psychology in Chicago, Illinois. It was my second time in Chicago and I forgot how amazing the food was, so yes I ate well. The conference was split into two tracks: First-Timers and Alumna. All attendees were together for the morning/evening Keynotes and lunch. Then we split into our two tracks and attended "workshop-style" sessions in various areas surrounding writing, speaking and coding. 




Attendees

The conference is open to all who identify as women. Their mission is to empower women developers to become thought leaders, conference speakers, and open source contributors. So the experience level was across the spectrum, many women were just entering the field and others were very experienced developers. So it was great getting to interact with such a diverse group of talented people.




Takeaways

So there were a few sessions that I derived a ton of value from, one was about "Ask vs. Guess Culture Communication". This talk discussed the nuances of the different communication styles, as well as strategies for bridging the gap between the two. During the discussion phase we talked about being successful when pair programming with someone who may have a different communication style from you and I really appreciated the following suggestions:

  • Do a Pairing Retrospective
  • Include lots of "I" statements
  • Establish a baseline for why you're pairing
  • Use a Timer ~10 minutes for the "driver"
  • Swap writing tests and code

Then during the "Project Discovery Workshop" I was blown away by the many helpful strategies provided by Annie Passanisi. For instance, when you're working on a technical blog post and you would like feedback how should you approach it? Well, here are some of the suggestions she offered:

  • Only ask people you trust to review your work
  • Send them the request with a list of questions to answer, like:
  • Did it answer all of your questions?
  • How can I provide more value?
  • What new questions came up for you?
  • What was your favorite part?

I also really enjoyed the information shared during the "Salary Negotiation" talk. Ashley Powell showed how men and women often negotiate differently and that leads to men consistently making more money than women even though they have the same experience. So it was great to see ideas for how to negotiate when you're job hunting as well as when you're looking for a raise. One thing that really stuck with me was that you don't have to be "aggressive" to negotiate, just go with what works with your personality. Whatever you do, it doesn't hurt to just ask!



With all the information that was being shared during the conference, I appreciated the fact that I still had time to step away and grab some ice cream with a good friend.



This was my first time attending an all women conference and it was just as many have said before a transformative experience. I left feeling empowered to do even more great things and to be okay with doing nothing at all. 

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