"Brittany come back from geek convention faster"

–Facebook message from my roommate Tiff (previously mentioned here)

This “geek convention,” otherwise known as the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing, was awesome. Reasons why:

  • 3000 technical women, from industry and academia, gathered together to encourage, inspire, share with, and learn from each other.
  • Meeting other CS students who are passionate about UX, and geeking out about the various design websites we browse in our not-so-free time.
  • Meeting senior CS students who tell me, “It’s okay if the boys have a head start in CS of several years; you catch up to them eventually.”
  • Surprise reunion with friends from middle school that somehow ended up being CS majors, too!
  • Keynote by Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg: “What would you do if you weren’t afraid? Ask yourself, and go do it.”
  • The Honorable Shirley Ann Jackson: “Grace Hopper would be amused by a celebration in her honor held on the last binary date of the century.” (111111)
  • Food… tons of it. Dinner provided every night and snacks every couple of hours! Conferences with scheduled snack times are awesome.
  • Surprisingly getting enough sleep every night, mostly because we’re so tired at the end of the day, but also because we pretend to not have work to do/midterms to make up.
  • Huge career fair where the reps were actually incredibly encouraging and fun to talk to, even if I wasn’t particularly looking for/qualified for a job.
  • Free stuff, or, as we call it in the tech industry, “corporate swag.” T-shirts, notebooks, post-its, bags, stickers, pens… I probably won’t have to buy another pen for several years.
  • Disappointed by the (understandable) lack of startups at the career fair, but encouraged by the completely full audience at the startup panel.
  • Portland, Oregon: cutting a few afternoon sessions to go to Voodoo Doughnut, the incredibly clean and efficient lightrail system, lots of trees.
  • All expenses paid by the Berkeley EECS Department (and some corporate sponsors, I think). Thank you very much!
Day 142 - Debugging

I’m heading to Portland today for the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing! I’m going with a professor and some other students as a representative of my college and program. I am super excited to experience Portland and the Celebration. It’s going to be so neat to meet tons of women in the computing field! 

I plan to keep updating from the Celebration with some outfit photos from last week and highlights of my activities in Portland. I hope you have a fantastic rest of the week! :)

Today’s Good Thing: I’m flying to Portland for the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing!!!

Diagram of all of HCI (Human-Computer Interaction) topics from the panel discussion “What if Computer Science was not "Just” about Technology?“. I discovered in this talk that I’ve been doing HCI stuff for over 6 months without knowing it! I do work in Accessibility…I’m also a software engineer, but software engineering isn’t represented clearly on this diagram.


Yes, a post devoted entirely to Voodoo Doughnuts.  After seeing their distinctive pink boxes everywhere, we had to check them out.  There was a 45 minute line but it was so worth it.

Also, sitting on the floor in the middle of the convention center with a dozen doughnuts was an excellent way of networking.  I mean, wouldn’t you rather take a doughnut from someone than a business card?  Even if they are laughing hysterically and cutting doughnuts with cardboard and of generally dubious sanity?

Get Excited and Make Things:

Different Approaches to Software Engineering Process

This panel was supposedly new information for students and new professionals alike, but it was all repeat information to me! Guess that is a testament to how good my school’s program is if I, as a second-year, found what according to professionals from Fortune 500 companies should be brand new information to me. :) Anyway, I stopped taking notes when I realized I had already learned the material but I’ve included the basic information from this panel below for those who were not so lucky to attend or learn this in school.

Software Development Life Cycle

  • Analysis/Requirements
  • Design
  • Development
  • Testing
  • Deployment/Release

These steps can be done in sequences, in parallel, or in a cycle through one of the many established flows, such as the process models listed below.

  • Waterfall - Following the steps in sequence. Once one step is complete, you don’t go back. Doing so is extremely costly.
  • Iterative - Sequence of mini-Waterfalls
  • Agile - Flexible, less documentation (i.e. SCRUM)

The key point was to pick a process that should work for your project then adapt it so that it fits the team and the product. Don’t be afraid to switch after a release if needed.