Beyond the Controversy: A Retrospect on Grace Hopper 2014

The 20th annual Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing conference made headline news last week, for some highly publicized comments surrounding women and equality in the tech industry. Smashing’s Senior Producer, Caroline Colón, was there and is giving a first-hand recap on her top 5 take-aways and why the value of the conference is about empowerment, not controversy.

1. It’s all about support. If you’re a woman in tech, the odds are you don’t often see a lot of your female counterparts. The conference is a great show of support to women in the tech industry and it was amazing to see 7,500 women, and 500 men, come together to share, learn and build their network.

2. Cross-platform functionality is tricky, but key. Building software to work on desktop web, mobile web, and Android, iOS and Windows Phone platforms is a big job and more critical now than ever. But if you’re not deploying the right strategy to figure out which platform is your priority – based on the desired features and your target audience – chances are you might be missing the mark on your app’s full potential.

3. Agile is here to stay. It was exciting to see other agencies become adopters and practitioners of the Agile/Scrum software development practices. This a something we here at Smashing Ideas have been advocating for some time, so to hear how other teams are running their projects, compare notes on facilitating effective daily stand-ups, share tips on estimation, etc., was insightful. We often learn best from “lessons learned” of our industry cohorts.

4. The Internet of Things is taking hold. A big topic of many conferences these days, the Internet of Things, got it’s own panel, with an expanded look at where the digitization of our daily world will be impacted next. For example, Union Pacific shared how it is incorporating this concept throughout the railroad system, smart buildings are coming online, so to speak, and digital can solve everyday problems, like seeing who came to your door while you weren’t home with a “doorbell” that sends texts and images to your smartphone. At Smashing Ideas, we’re hard at work blending physical with digital, with several connected experiences in development. As momentum builds and technology expands with cost-effective prototyping hardware like Arduino or Raspberry Pi, we’re excited about the impact this will have on consumers’ daily lives.

5. The issue of equality. There was no escape from the controversy surrounding certain comments on gender and pay at this year’s conference. As this is an important topic within the industry to address and shine the spotlight on, the controversial comments brought about passionate conversation on a wider level than had ever been discussed before, with new supporters of women in tech speaking up in support.

 

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