Members of The New York Times Developers recently made their first group trip to the Grace Hopper Celebration. At 15,000 attendees, GHC is the world’s largest gathering of women in computing. We chose it because nowhere else could we find so many women software engineers coming together to talk about what we do with technology, and what it’s like to work as a woman in technology.
The conference was overwhelming and…dare we say it…awesome. Not only did we meet hundreds of women from all sorts of backgrounds, industries and levels of experience, we ourselves got the opportunity to let people know the breadth and depth of our work. Those things alone made the experience worth it.
It is rare to see so many women technologists all at once, and the experience made us reflective in a way that felt important to share. So below, some thoughts from some of the team that attended.
I came to the Grace Hopper Celebration representing The New York Times with the hope that my presence and interactions as an underrepresented woman of color could encourage women of all shades and labels to continue exploring roles in technology. What I got in return was that plus so much more. Not only did the conference re-energize my love for all things code, it solidified the importance of being a role model for engineers who are also women of color. It was gratifying to have young women come up to me and tell me how reassuring it was to see a face that looks a lot like theirs talking to them about what it is like being an engineer at The New York Times. The conference also ignited a firestorm of ideas for exploration in solving civic and social problems using data and diversity considerations in natural user interactions for emerging technologies.
I learned that I am capable of a lot more than I may give myself credit for and that I can use my vast experience as both an engineer and an artist to become a person of influence. More importantly, I discovered there is still so much work to do to advance women in technology, so many open questions that need to be answered, and many conversations that need to be had. Looking ahead I want to continue searching for gaps in diversity that have yet to be bridged and help the The New York Times diversity initiative stay dynamic and progressive, while continuing to raise the bar with innovative thinking.
—Corina Aoi, Software Engineer, Home team