I’ve got the “Women” part down, but not so much the “in Tech.” As someone who neither works in technology nor designs/develops but aspires to learn, I wasn’t totally sure it would be appropriate for me to attend the (first annual?) Women in Tech Summit. I asked my developer husband multiple times in the days before the event whether it made sense for me to go. So during the first panel discussion, when the topic of the technology literacy gap among women came up, and one of the panelists said “My boyfriend told me, my husband told me, my brother told me…” it hit home. #guilty
My hope for the day was that I would come away with some sense of where to even start. I thought that would mean finding resources for learning various programming languages and design principles. While I do have a better sense of the resources available, after reflecting on the day, I realized that learning to code might not be the only place to start. Presenters and attendees alike referenced and debunked the myth that learning to program is the only way to be in the technology industry. Maybe the best place for me to start was right there, among all of the supportive women who were eager to share their wisdom and experience.
I’m still not certain whether becoming a serious designer/developer is for me, but I am even more motivated to learn. For now, I think it’s important to increase my own tech literacy through networking and learning to code, if just to make myself more marketable (a must for the English and Spanish degree-holder!), give myself options and flexibility in my future professional endeavors, and have the sense of accomplishment and know-how that comes from just having a clue.
The truth is, tech or not, the summit was good for women in all fields and at any stage of career development. The organizers successfully crafted not just an event, but a community in which I, and presumably others, felt welcomed, supported, and valued.
Recap written by Lisa Yoder.
Lisa is a recent transplant to the greater Philadelphia area, having grown up on a dairy farm in the wilds of Central PA. She spends her days proofreading and her nights reading, writing, learning to code, and dreaming of where to travel next. She aspires to mash up all of these pursuits into something beautiful.