Android… The Community
When I decided to change careers and become an Android developer, I was understandably nervous. There was a definite possibility that I would have not been accepted (or even hired) due to being female, middle-aged, and not having programming experience or a degree in Computer Science. It was really frightening to me to consider this, but I did not want to always wonder “What if…?”
What I found was most unexpected.
I was, indeed, able to find a job I enjoy. I also found some really amazing people in the greater Chicago developer community, especially in our local chapters of Women in Tech organizations such as Girl Develop It, Chick Tech, and AnitaBorg.org. The two local Google Developer Groups, GDG Chicago and GDG Chicago-West (aka western suburbs), have been a really great resource for getting an introduction to all the different Google products, hearing relevant speakers and occasional hands-on workshops. The “Android Listener” Meetup is an amazing group of dedicated Android enthusiasts of all levels (and where I will be giving my first talk!)
Most amazing of all, however, is that I found a worldwide community of Android Developers who care about teaching, supporting, encouraging and helping each other. These people are heroes to junior- and senior-level developers, alike.
Developers who created libraries and frameworks which are used and appreciated by thousands of developers worldwide, and who are helping Google build upon Android, are humble and approachable. They are active in the Android community, speaking and teaching at conferences, and being available and encouraging to all levels.
The Android Challenge
In addition, I participated in an online challenge (3 month course) for early to mid-level Android developers through Udacity & Grow With Google. The community of learners we built through their forum and Slack was amazing! We talked about everything from code to parenting. There were people representative of all social, ethnic, regional, and educational backgrounds, able and disabled. We all wanted to help each other to the finish line. The Udacity support team of volunteers and mentors were spectacularly dedicated to our success. I cannot exaggerate how helpful and supportive they were, and our community was.
You can read a bit more about it here:
UPDATE: I made it to the next phase — the official Android Developer Nanodegree Scholarship! This will begin April 24 and I will have 6 months to complete it.
Chicago Roboto 2018
At the Chicago Roboto all-Android conference in Chicago this past week, I enjoyed learning from these amazing teachers, and getting to know them a little. This was the second annual conference. I attended the first one last year, and met some of these superstars briefly, but I couldn’t bring myself to really converse with them. This year, however, with a year more experience under my belt, and the conference not having hired a photographer, I volunteered to take pictures. This decision made me get out of my comfort zone and talk to everyone. I met many people, and I am so glad that I was able to help in this way.
I am looking forward to next year!
A few of my pictures from Chicago Roboto 2018:
The link to the talks for this year will not be out for a few weeks (I heard 3–5 weeks) but you can view some of the slides. Check the Chicago Roboto website in a few weeks.
These are my favorites from a community perspective (but you should really also watch the presentations when they are available):
You can still view last year’s talks here: