Last week I had the pleasure of attending the Girl Geek Dinner in the cafeteria at Google. It was a lovely event with food, drinks, speakers and best of all, networking. I was excited at the prospect of meeting other female programmers and tech geeks.
The evening began with an hour of socializing over wine and cheese. I met several women and a few brave men who were “in the tech industry.” I was a little disappointed I did not meet a single developer but I did meet some lovely digital marketing folks.
The dinner itself was nothing to write home about (or in this case, to blog about) but it was nice to sit and eat with smart women who were up on their twittering. I met a woman, Charlotte, who was a Freelance Social Networking Consultant. After our dinner together I’m still not exactly sure what she does.
Following dinner there were a couple of speakers. The first speaker, Corinna Cortes, Head of Google Research was really fascinating. She spoke about all the fantastic things she and her team are doing at Google with language and speech recognition and even demonstrated how surprisingly well the new Google Translation services work. What struck me as the most intriguing part of her presentation was how fewer and fewer women are getting into technology. There was a boom for a while where it seemed like women were really getting to play with the big boys in the technological sandbox but unfortunately that seems to be on the decline currently. She encouraged us all to get out there, not just to young women starting in the field, but also young girls still in high school and let them know not all programmers are pocket protector wearing nerds.
I left the event with a warm but unsatisfying feeling. Again, it was lovely so many women gathered to celebrate and discuss all that is pink and tech but I really wanted to hash out ideas with my fellow programmers. There need to be more women out there who code! And I’m not just talking about the touchy feely graphic designers who know how to put a stop action at the end of a MovieClip in flash. I want to talk frameworks and design patterns with a fellow X chromosome.
So ladies, if you’re out there I encourage you to take that class, pick up that book, start that blog – whatever gets you talkin’ tech with the boys! It’s fun and believe it or not, it’s very creative. You get to make stuff into other stuff! How cool is that? I really do love what I do and I want other women to feel that joy and sense of pride that I do every day when I see something I made from scratch take on a life of it’s own.