Ladies of Code (Leeds) June Meetup
Having made my way solo to my first ever Ladies of Code meetup back in January, last week I made my way to the June meetup with a friend who works in data science. After stopping on the way to try a new (to us) Thai restaurant (which was good, but wouldn’t knock our current fave off the top spot), we headed over to the latest venue — The Data Shed.
Despite the warm weather and competition with England’s World Cup match, the turnout was pretty good!
Andy Burgin from DevOpsDays kicked things off by telling us all about how DevOpsDays came to be and by giving us a chance to win tickets to the next event in London. It sounds like a great event for those further on their coding journeys and I’m sure that Lauren and Becky who won the tickets will have a brilliant time!
Our next speaker was Diane from the Mozilla Corporation who gave a really interesting talk about the Rust programming language. Before Thursday I was aware of it, as it always pops up on lists or surveys on Stack Overflow — it’s a language I had already noted down to look at for that reason, but that was the extent of my knowledge.
It was great to hear about the history of the language, how it came into being and some of the advantages to using it. Especially musical to my ears was her explanation of the criteria they have for people who want to collaborate with them — one of the specifics being, “don’t be a dick”. It sounds so simple, but having experienced the ‘welcoming’ environment of places like Stack Overflow myself, I can testify to this being a needed guideline. It makes me even more keen to give Rust a try!
Next up to tell their story was Becky, who told us about her non-traditional path into tech. Despite always having an interest in computers, she’d never been able to take it further or find a career in it, until she took the plunge and retrained a couple of years ago.
Not only did she smash it, she now works as a lecturer at Bradford College, helping others to follow in her footsteps and inspiring an interest in a digital career in her daughter along the way.
It was such a lovely story to hear — really motivating and I can’t applaud Becky enough for following her dream.
Our penultimate talk was from our host — co-founder of The Data Shed, Anna Sutton. She gave a talk that was packed full of insights on what it is like to run a business. The presentation was all the more interesting because of Anna’s background. By her own admission, she’s not a technical person, yet she runs a business that couldn’t really be any more technical.
One of my favourite sections of the talk was where she explained her approach to hiring clever people, and just letting them get on with the work. It shouldn’t sound revolutionary, but I imagine we’ve all worked in businesses where we’ve been brought in as experts and then not allowed the free rein or autonomy to achieve what we’ve been asked to deliver.
As someone who identifies as neuro-diverse, it was also very interesting to hear her describe how difficult it can be to facilitate knowledge sharing in an environment where she may well be the only extrovert. I can’t applaud enough the success they’ve had in creating a company that is diverse in a number of ways. (Did I mention they’re hiring?)
The evening’s final speaker was Andy again — this time he entertained us with a funny story about the time he beat computer scammers at their own game. It’s a tricky one for me to relay here, but for a similar tale you need to check out these two episodes of the Reply All podcast in which one of the hosts trolls his scammer and ends up going all the way to India. (Episode One and Two.)
I had another brilliant night and can recommend it to anyone living in the Leeds area who has an interest in coding or tech. Apologies again for the crap pictures — as great as my Pixel 2 is, there’s only so much it can do in low light!
Huge thanks to the crew at The Data Shed for sponsoring and providing tasty food and beverages 🙂
If you’re interested in attending the next Ladies of Code Leeds, you can find details of all of their meet-ups here: