Two Take-Aways from Grace Hopper Conference -India 2014 | FirstRain

Two Take-Aways from Grace Hopper Conference -India 2014


Ritu Parihar (with inputs from Neha Dahiya)

This year I had the opportunity to attend one of the tech world’s most prestigious conference celebrating women in computing, the Grace Hopper Conference (GHC), organized by Anita Borg Institute (ABI). FirstRain has a deep connection with ABI and I am glad I got an opportunity to attend GHC this year in Bangalore, India.

Our FirstRain CEO, Penny Herscher recently stepped down from the ABI board but continues to be actively engaged- in the spring she was the Master of Ceremonies at the annual Women of Vision awards and also moderated a panel on Male Allies at the 2014 GHC conference in Phoenix, US. Our Managing Director of our India operations, Aparna Gupta is also very involved in ABI as part of the India Council and has been a part of the Advisory committee and panels over the years. With our leadership team, committed to diversity and ABI’s primary aim to recruit, retain, and advance women in technology, participating in the conference is a great opportunity to further this important cause.

During my two days at conference, I had the opportunity to meet many women professionals and exchange views on various topics like technical acumen, team work, work life balance etc. The beauty of the conference is the fact that it creates a platform for collaborative proposals, wherein women connect and share knowledge and expertise for the benefit of others, which is truly inspiring.

I would like to segregate my overall experience of conference in two parts:

i) Technical Learning

ii) Motivational Boost

Technical Learning

The most impressive talk that I attended was:

1) Analytic Footprint’s- The session was around Big Data analytics and the key take away are:

a) How to manage data

b) selecting right kind of data

c) know when your sample size is sufficient

d) good data science

e) good technology

f) social media data can also be used for critical analysis

2) Another great session was on “Machines that learn to make difference”

Some live projects like Electronic Toll collection that aims to eliminate the delay on toll roads by collecting tolls electronically, Parking fee collection based on number plate recognition, parking space management were discussed.

3) A Poster session where engineers represented their creative innovation in their company:

• Generic server failure analysis Tool that gives frequent reason of server failure by filtering, gathering and analysis of logs

• Framework that provides visual help for installing/configuring new software

• Sentiment analysis –to analyze problem like downfall in Credit card users

Motivational Boost

1) We attended some sessions around career development topics like Discover and Build your strengths, The Career Guidance and Think Different – See Abilities where Deepa Narasimhan (President EMC) and Sushmeetha B.Bubna (Director of ASCENT Networks Pvt Ltd) shared their real life stories about how they conquered obstacles and battled social stigma due to their physical disabilities but they explored technology, tweaked them as per their requirements and made themselves to be at par with their non-disabled counterpart.

2) “Idea to Execution”- This was my favorite session. The key points I learnt are: Believe in your ideas, feedback from critics, how to influence-be simple and memorable, use right engineering approach, do not over-engineer, do personal branding, networking, collect enough data for your work etc.

Attending the conference allowed me to connect with prominent leaders in the technology field and get a better understanding of their research while sharing ideas with them. The conference really instilled a sense of togetherness among attendees, as we were able to connect with one another and share similar struggles that we go through on a regular basis.

I feel that the Grace Hopper Conference is THE platform for women in tech as it aims to empower everyone with equal opportunities and unending inspiration, by bringing together a community that is life-changing. I hope to volunteer and be a more active part of planning this conference next year!

Brief Bios:

Ritu: is a Software Engineers in Tools Engineering. In a very short span, she has proved to be a key member of the Tools Development team and was awarded the “Rising star” award recently. An enthusiast engineer, she works to develop Highly Available applications. She is an expert in developing the middleware systems used in the global enterprises…

Neha: is a Software Engineer in Content Engineering and works with the Data Science group. She works on cutting edge problems and new Analytics ideas and is responsible for building a framework to rapidly prototype them. She also works on providing quick solutions to content operation to increase their work efficiency.