After attending the Grace Hopper Conference for the first time, I ended off the week feeling more inspired and empowered to stay in the tech industry as a woman. Prior to this experience, I constantly worried about not wanting to stay in this field due to the feeling of unfulfillment. However, I quickly realized during this conference that this feeling may be due to the fact that I have only worked in this industry for eight months as an intern. After attending several technical talks held by current women in tech, it is apparent that there are many more opportunities than I had originally thought that I can dive into.
In particular, the most memorable talk for me was held by a LinkedIn employee, Vinitha Reddy Gankidi, who led an entire automation project from scratch. To begin, this project, called Dr. Elephant, was developed to monitor performance by gathering data metrics and running an analysis on them. Most importantly, the results are presented in an easily understandable manner for employees to analyze. It specifically collects data on jobs that are run on a scheduled basis and then uses the results to suggest possible improvements on how this job can be more efficient. In the end, this provides the company insight in increasing overall performance.
Ultimately, this project intrigued me because Dr. Elephant is not a feature that customers using LinkedIn’s application directly interact with. Instead, this is a behind-the-scenes feature that increases the application’s overall efficiency and is highly impactful on a customer’s experience with the product. I learned that there are an unimaginable number of vital behind-the-scenes projects that corporations invest in that a regular customer or outsider is not aware of. Overall, there are several opportunities in this field alone that I may be interested in, but have not yet explored. I believe that staying in the tech industry is a valuable investment as there are innovations that continually surface and may peak my interest in the future.
In addition, the biggest takeaway is that I am not alone. There were several women at this conference who also shared these thoughts of possibly leaving the tech industry within a few years due to unfulfillment. GHC created a comfortable environment where women could discuss this issue together without feeling frustrated by others not understanding – which I feel is a common case when talking to male coworkers about this issue. It was relieving to talk to women who had this feeling of unfulfillment at the beginning of their software engineering careers, but had managed to find a fulfilling career path. Although I know that this is not always the case with all women, it is nice to know that I am not in isolation.
All in all, GHC instilled a sense of confidence in me to stay in the tech industry. I feel that this is especially important because I have recently entered this field and can pivot to another field if I feel that this is or will be an unfulfilling career path. I would recommend to any student entering this industry to attend GHC to most importantly understand that there are many other women who share the same thoughts and ways of thinking.
-2B CS Student