Hello. My name is Janie Clayton-Hasz. This year I applied for the WWDC Student Scholarship through Apple.
This is a multi-part series of blog posts chronicling my experiences while going through this process, including the outcome and my thoughts on the process.
We need more ladies in tech, it is as simple as that. Or as complicated. The statistics are not looking good and I’ve been wondering for a long time why they are not changing to the better. Or not faster.
Why are there so few Women in Science & Technology?
People are quick to respond with “It’s society’s fault!” and they are half right, half wrong. Right, because there is no simple answer to this riddle, no single point of failure that this skewed relationship can be burdened upon. If there is no single reason for a grand scale effect then it is either religion, politics or the society that is blamed.
Update: Anja Skrba translated this article into Serbo-Croatian.
I attended my first NSConference this year after grabbing the first ticket that became available to people on the waiting list. The conference had sold out in record time before I was able to make a decision. So I jumped at the chance when they gave me a second chance.
NSConference is held annually in Wokefield Park in the middle of a golf course. Scotty, the conference host, informed us that the reason for this is simply to force the 200 attendees to network amongst each other if only because you cannot easily drive to town.
After the conference we were asked to provide feedback via e-mail, but I am a firm believer doing so publicly because this enables the valued reader to form his own opinion and whether he should attend NSConference 2013.
When the Carinthian branch of WKO – a public office supporting the local economy – contacted me to hold a workshop at a tech fair I jumped at the chance. Not just because I like the limelight, but also because it was my first opportunity to make extensive use of Keynote.
I had only played a bit around with Keynote so far, but did not have any reason yet to put together a full slide deck, animations and all. It took me a day or so to figure out all the features of Keynote I needed to make my presentation worthy of one representing Apple. To top it off I was wearing a black T-Shirt with a white Apple on my chest.
Due to bad weather we had less than half of signed up people actually attend the workshop, so I was able to include several of the attendees and their personal reasons for looking into app development. Funny, how I feared that I could never fill 4 hours with interesting material. Only to find out that I did and I ended perfectly on time.
I was given the compliment today that when asking a question on Twitter I would usually give an answer for all other people interested in the topic. I didn’t do that consciously until now, but I want to start this tradition with this article. Also if I was not following the respondents until now, this prompted me to do so.
You know, the situation is dim, we have too many developers attending WWDC and yet not enough to go around letting themselves be hired.
In preparation for a brainstorming on this subject I asked this question: “Looking for some good suggestions where a company looking to hire fixed staff iOS devs would find people. What would you recommend they do?”
Everywhere I travel I generally try to find some local meetup of iOS developers to hook up with. Let me be honest, admittedly, one of the reasons why I like to do this is that often developers would mention in passing that they have heard about my blog or know me from following me on twitter. One word: ego.
But this is not the sole reason for this interest. I am possessed by the idea that if developers in any field – iOS in my case – would organize and socialize more then the resulting network of knowledge and opportunities would generally benefit everybody. I might tend to extremes, here I am working out of my home office for the most part talking about the greatness of a social network.
Publishing Powerhouse Pearson is establishing the Voices that Matter iPhone Developers Conferences as an additional “place to be” for us developers.
Last year I had the opportunity (thanks to three sponsors) to attend the issue in Seattle and I loved the casual intermingling with peers, mixed with great networking and – of course – good talks. Being in Seattle is also a great opportunity to visit the Boing plant and see big airplanes being made as an spare time diversion.
From what I’ve seen there the core audience for the VTM events are beginning programmers who are not totally new to the Apple frameworks, but who need a bit of a kick to advance to the next level. VTM returns to Seattle this spring, April 9-10.
I was interested to see what goes on in the minds of my peers when it comes to 2011. When you try to emulate the success of other developers it is not just about what they do but you also want to know what goals and wishes their mind revolves around.
I’d like to especially highlight Cory Wiles whose response was the most extensive.
1. Spend more time on my own projects
2. Be invited to give more talks about iOS
3. Finish my password management framework and submit for patent
4. Become much more proficient with CoreGraphics
5. Complete and submit at least two of my own projects to app store
(contract work takes up large part of my time)
6. Go to at least one other conference besides the WWDC
From motivational literature we know that your live moves towards what you predominately think about most of the time. Most of these thoughts would probably not be conscious but my theory is that a “shoot from the hip” response to my question on Twitter should yield a bit of insight.
Do you know any facts? Like what you did before getting into iOS development? Or are you possibly looking for facts? Those facts that make blog articles much more interesting?
In this case, let me introduce you to the Cocoapedia. The name should right away invoke two associations: Cocoa, as in Apple’s API we use for developing for Mac and iOS devices. -pedia as in Encyclopedia or Wikipedia. As it should be with any self-respecting Wiki I have written up the history of Cocoapedia on its article on itself.
It’s actually the second time already that we’re launching this, the first time was a complete and utter failure. I had thought that it would smart to make it invitation-only to be able to regulate quality. But this actually prevented any kind of spontaneous growth that makes sites like Wikipedia great. So I’ve abolished these restrictions, everybody can now edit Cocoapedia and they should!
Now, don’t get me wrong, Cocoapedia is not supposed to replace any blog, forum or Q&A site like StackOverflow. Also it should not become a dumb link collection.
Have you ever wondered why some topics are on Wikipedia and why some are not? In May 2008 I wanted to know and added an entry for myself, which promptly got removed again stating that it would not be relevant for addition. From which I learned that relevance is something quite subjective and not even Wikipedia’s set of rules can objectify this dilemma.
We Cocoa developers live in our own universe which has different kinds of rules than mighty Wikipedia. To give a prominent example: Aaron Hillegass is on Wikipedia, while Erica Sadun is not, even though the latter was written dozens of books. Now, unless you are a big fan of Aarons, you probably would agree that this omission is odd. Erica has done much more for us developers but apparently has not hired an experienced Wiki-Writer to add an article for her that would pass under the stern eye of the Wikipedian.
Cocoapedia offers a remedy.
Here the idea is that all facts, events, conferences, apps, components and people connected in the least with Cocoa development have a place to go down in history. Though bear in mind that it is facts that makes a Wiki great. I don’t want to read self-glorfying hymns. I DO want to read a bit of biography and – if any – factual accomplishments, preferably with a footnote that proves them.
Over time Cocoapedia has the chance to grow into a compendium that bloggers would consult to fact-check articles on specific people. There are often disparate bits of “About” spread over developers online sites, blogs, twitter streams and Facebook pages. If you want people to know who YOU are, then you need to provide them with a concise entry.
Making an entry is very easy, I made a tutorial video showing how you can quickly start a new article which you would then fill with some facts about the topic of the article. I randomly chose Gleb Dolgich from my twitter followers who did not mind me creating an entry for him.
Don’t forget that everybody is an editor, so you never truly “own” a page on Cocoapedia. We’ve already had a bit of vandalism, but that’s easy to remove by the undo function. For extreme cases it’s possible to lock pages for a while but experience on Wikipedia has shown that in digital media, where Vandalism can be easily removed, it is generally very short lived. It’s simply less work to revert an article to a good state than it is to vandalize it.
You can look at any page’s source by going to the Edit mode. You most quickly learn Wiki-Editing by copying pieces of such code to your own articles. Consider the article about yourself your first exercise. Then once you have mastered that create references and articles for items related to you. For example if you have a partner for some of your apps, then just enclose his name with double square brackets. This will make it an intra-Wiki link which allows to create a new article if you follow it.
Finally, I request of you that you pass on this information of what need Cocoapedia is trying to fill with the help of an army of contributors. See you inside!