Geek Girl Tech Con 2016 Recap

Today was my first time attending Geek Girl Tech Con - San Diego. Leslie Fishlock is the mastermind behind this empowering event, which helps to encourage diversity and inclusion in tech. It was great to see such a supportive community of women of all ethnicities and ages interested in and contributing to the industry. It was also nice to see men supporting us too! Though it's one of the smaller conferences I've been to, the vibes were good, offering a safe space for a day of learning. The conference took place at USD and consisted of various tracks ranging from different types of programming, social media, business and more. I am not sure if the talks were recorded so unfortunately I can't make any promises of watching it later. However, here is a recap of my day:

8am - 9am: After checking in I took time to collect some swag, explore company booths, and take advantage of the free professional head shot. Even though I barely have enough room, I couldn't resist another sticker! 

9am - 10am: Opening remarks and introductions.

10am - 11am: First Step in Creating your App: Prototyping It - Elina Kim and Rocio Montes Sponsored by Intuit - These ladies did a great job explaining the importance of prototyping. I've heard about it before but never understood its intricacies and importance. It's easy to assume that a prototype of anything is a basically just a mockup of an idea, but of course there's more to it than that. "A picture is worth a 1000 words. A prototype is worth a 1000 meetings" Do it right and you'll be much more efficient and effective with your clients. They covered the following steps:

1) Low Fidelity = understand what the user needs. Usually ideas quickly jotted down via pen and paper to show its visual representation. 

2) Mid Fidelity = during this stage, digital tools like photoshop may be used to further draft/develop the visual representation of an idea, however it's recommended that no color is used during this phase so that the customer feedback can be focused on the visual flow and functionality of the app. 

3) High Fidelity = how will you deliver a positive experience so that your user will choose your app above others? The idea will come to life via code during this stage, where a customer can physically interact with it and provide feedback. 

This session wrapped up with tooling advice/demos and an exercise. Checkout Moqups, Invision, and Pop if you're interested. It surprised me how much I enjoyed prototyping a concept. 

11am - 12pm: CODE: Debugging the Gender Gap - This was SUCH a good documentary. Girl Develop It San Diego recently partnered with The Patent Nerd to give a screening of it, so be sure to sign up to view it on meetup.com I am tempted to write an entire blog post to discuss my thoughts on this film, but I'll refrain from doing so now and save the discussion for our meetup.

12pm - 1pm: A variety of sandwiches, cookies, and drinks were available for lunch. This is included in the cost of the event ticket.

1pm - 2pm: PANEL: WHY I HIRE BOOTCAMP GRADS Sponsored by LEARN Coding - This panel featured four companies discussing the pros/cons of hiring bootcamp grads. I appreciated their insightful perspectives, especially because it's helpful to understand not only what they're looking for, but also what they consider to be challenges in hiring grads such as myself. With this information, I can better empathize with employers' concerns and work hard to reassure them of my talent, passion and hard work ethic. 

2pm - 3pm: The World of Creating An iPhone App - Julian BryantJulian has an amazing story that totally inspired me to work and try even harder. He is a self-taught IOS developer who now works as a freelancer. To be honest, an idea for an app is what originally started me on this programming journey and I can't believe that it's taken me almost a year to direct my attention towards mobile development. This was truly my first time seeing how mobile apps are created and it blew my mind! IOS development looks like so much fun and I cannot wait to give it a go by making the prototype sketch above come to life. Recently the WWDC2016 conference announced updates to Swift, but I don't think I want to wait for a Swift 3 book to surface before tackling it. I'm eager to start learning it now! UPDATE: I built my first app and will blog about that process soon!

3pm - 4pm: Android Mobile Development - Leticia RaborIn contrast to Julian's presentation, it was interesting to see the differences of developing for Android. In comparison, Android seemed A LOT more complex, but thankfully I am learning Java at my internship so it's neat to know that this knowledge can apply to mobile development as well. It would be a fun project to build my prototype for Android too.

There were two more 1hr sessions after this + a reception hour, which unfortunately I did not stay for. My mission for today was to attend talks on subjects that were completely new to me. Being a nerd at heart, I loved every moment of learning today... mission accomplished. If you have the opportunity, I'd recommend attending this conference as it's held in various locations across USA.