Monday, March 7, 2016

Women Engineer in Training: WeCode Harvard 2016

I am a campus ambassador for WeCode Harvard and as a 2nd year attendee, this year was special. From attending last year, I learned how to successfully maneuver the conference. 

The Harvard Women in CS committee made this year's conference different by implementing an innovation challenge instead of a conference wide challenge (which my group placed 3rd in last year). Since the main focus of the conference wasn't hacking any code, solving puzzles, or competing; I knew that I could focus my time on networking. 

You know those people that don't attend the workshops or miss keynote speakers because, they are having deep conversations in the hallways with sponsors? I used to think that was the most unproductive use of time at a conference, especially if you're paying a hefty price for the entry ticket. I thought that the workshops and speakers were the most valuable aspects of a conference but, sometimes you can pick your adventure.

I found out the deep conversation and inquisitive people are creating bonds, relationships, and connections that will benefit them after the conference. These are the people who probably don't struggle with that crucial 'follow up' aspect of networking. They have more material to use to connect with someone they conversed with for an hour compared to your handshake and fangirl photo (don't get me wrong, those are great too!). 
LOL speaking of fan girl photos: I have some more photos on my Instagram here

Get updates on Women engineers and me at Sound of Charm's facebook


Advice for college interns, co-ops, new hires... The relationship you will have amongst your team & co-workers will go from; service, respect, to trust - Michelle Luo (works at Google & second person from the right in the 1st photo). 

I'm currently experiencing this theory during my co-op at Johnson and Johnson. Starting off, your main reason for being hired is to work. You're being trained and are given (what I think are classified as:) "tester" assignments. As a new hire, your boss wants to see what you can do. Once you successfully deliver, you bump up to a respect relationship and then advance from their. 

Advice for freshman or new engineers... It's going to be hard and you're going to want to quit but don't, it builds character. 
(creds to: Product Manager WeCode workshop panel) 

If you need any tips or motivation, feel free to reach out to me! I have a Women Engineer in Training series to share my story and motivate other lady engineers so, join the party here.

XOXO Semirah
 +Semirah Dolan

And I know when that hotline bling
That can only mean one thing


Laura Butler and I
Laura is a Technical Fellow, Director of Engineering Windows Fundamentals at Microsoft

Here is some advice the Technical Goddess shared with us at WeCode Harvard 2016:

1. "Power is taken not given. 
You get authority by acting like you have it." 

AKA Fake it till you Make it. 

2. "I have world domination plans" 
When Laura said this my friend and I looked at each other and smiled in agreement because, we are both ambitious ladies with CEO domination plans. However, I don't have a dream board or physical plan, which I would like to create.




Tracy Chou and I
Software Engineer at Pinterest



 Julie Elberfeld from Capital One 
With Capitol One and Goldman Sachs being some the main sponsors, it's quite clear that the finance industry is RSVP'ing to the Techies Club. Big investment firms and banking companies are looking for engineers to bring innovation and tech to finance. Hmm... that explains why I attended a J.P. Morgan Chase and Co. hackathon in Florida last month! 

During WeCode, the sponsors hosted 'Lounges' and had a variety of activities. Capitol One had an ah-mazing lounge! They had DIY tassel keychains. I made two and I love them! Microsoft had a painting activity which, was great for slowing down from the hustle of workshops and events. Plus my friends and I got to network with some Microsoft ladies. 

One of my most productive lounge visits was with Goldman Sachs. I arrived early and ate breakfast with the Goldman Sachs team while building Lego structures. Little secret: the other attendees weren't aware that the sponsor lounges were open so my friends and I basically had an exclusive breakfast with the Goldman Sachs team. I greatly appreciated being able to introduce myself to their team and then hearing their engineering career stories. Goldman Sachs had a diverse team representing them at WeCode, with an industrial engineer, software developer, and more!

I will definitely be an annual attendee of this conference until I graduate. 

Grammarly yours, SemirahD

P.S. Check out my engineering internship interview on my school's official website: 
http://www.umassd.edu/news/featurestories/semirahdolan.html

Here is last year's WeCode post:  http://soundofcharm.blogspot.com/2015/02/a-women-engineer-in-training-wecode.html

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