Following a networking session in which we were able to meet men and women who were a mixture of both experienced and quite new to the industry, we listened to a keynote speech by a veteran with 20 years of experience in the industry, Canonical’s CEO Jane Sibler. She gave an inspiring speech about encouraging equality in the industry, not just in terms on proportions of men and women, but also encouraging more under-represented backgrounds to join.
This was followed by a panel discussion with three women, Jenny Mulholland, Yanqing Cheng and Sue Spence who had varying levels of experience, from 2 to 30 years in the field. Although their main expertise were in either C or C++, another systems programming language that was discussed is a relatively new language called Go, which evolved from C and is just 6 years old. It was surprising to hear the longevity of systems programming, which is often used for over 30 years at a time. This greatly contrasts with the perhaps better known application programming which is used to create things like the games on your phone, which has a relatively short lifespan. Systems programming is designed instead to program the platform which runs application software, which in itself is pretty incredible to think about!
We were the only sixth formers at this event since this was chiefly targeted at adults, and although it was slightly daunting to be with so many experts this was a fantastic experience, as we were able to have a better insight into programming as a career. There was definitely a difference between this event and those targeted specifically to promote STEM to teenagers as we were presented with a more wholesome and realistic representation of the area. In all- a great evening out!
Wendi and Cynthuja Yr12