Every now and then I'd see or hear about AWS She Builds, there was a cool logo, bright colours and some new faces. Enough was enough it was time to find out once and for all what AWS She Builds was all about.
Full disclosure this is my experience as a male attending AWS She Builds Day June 2021 Virtual event.
I'll go into more details later, but if you're a woman there are a couple of stand out programs you should be aware of right now!
- AWS She Builds Mentor Program
A 12 week mentor program that is open for applications, spots are limited and applications close June 30th 2021.
- AWS She Builds CloudU
CloudU is an AWS training and certification program with the aim of becoming a certified AWS Cloud Practitioner during the 8 week program. It looks like you have until the 28th of June 2021 to register (or its starts the 28th?).
Both of these programs will help to connect you with like minded women in the tech industry, you don't have to be an expert or experienced. You don't need to be a software engineer or developer. Take a look at the links above and register if it looks like something you might be into. If you're on the fence about it, do it anyway!
You might have guessed already but, AWS She Builds Day is an event for women in tech to come together and discuss tech, network, leadership and more. This is an inclusive event, everyone is welcome to attend (I didn't sneak in). Expect to hear from a wide range female leaders from AWS and other companies around the globe with discussions varying from non-technical (leadership, career) to technical (yay building stuff!).
I have no idea if these events are always virtual but this year She Builds was virtual, hosted out of Sydney Australia (go Australia!). Although the event this year was hosted in Australia the event features women from around the world. The virtual event was streamed live on Twitch via the AWS channel and included some engaging chat with prizes!!!. I've only used twitch a few times now, I signed up for another AWS event that was on twitch and I've gotta say I really like it like for these events. It works well and it's easy to engage with others.
Tip: If you are going to attend an AWS event with twitch I recommend registering for an twitch.tv account. This way you can participate in the conversation. You don't have to, you can view you just won't be able to ask questions etc.
Here is a link to the agenda this year to give you a better idea of the line up: https://aws-shebuilds-day-june.splashthat.com/
Here are my highlights from the event this year, this isn't an exhaustive list, this is what I found stood out from my point of view. Be sure to watch the replay so you can find your own highlights from the event.
Kesha Williams created Salary Overflow developed on AWS, "think of it as Stack Overflow for Salaries". Kesha created Salary Overflow to help bring transparency to tech salaries, the application is free to register. You can search for salaries by role name, location and drill further into the details. Kesha walks us through the goal of Salary Overflow, the architecture design and quick demo of the interface.
I found Kesha quite inspiring as a builder, the presentation was clear and the q&a was great. It's clear that Kesha enjoys building but also really enjoys sharing that knowledge and encourages others "share what they learn".
As I mentioned above, there were several program updates. It's important to act fast on all of the programs as they appear to have end dates and some have limited spots. There are some great support programs on offer here, I strongly encourage everyone to apply. The mentor program will connect you with women at AWS and honestly, everyone at AWS that I've met has been great to work with so you won't be disappointed.
Anita Miller gives us an overview of Apache Kafka, the key components and why you might want to use it. Anita also explains how you can reduce administrative overhead by using AWS MSK and some of the benefits in doing so. I haven't spent much time looking into Kafka but found that Anita's overview was easy to understand and also provided practical examples of why you might want to use Kafka, MSK or Kinesis.
Ekaterina Gasparian (Kate, I wrote down Kate?) from Canva is using machine learning to help drive a better user experience. I am a big fan of Canva and found the use cases very interesting. Kate goes into details about some of the challenges about presenting content to users that is accurate and meaningful using AWS Personalize. I can see how this would reduce the amount of time it takes a user to create content but also helps to surface content the user is interested in. Some of this is aided by machine learning on AWS and more complex cases using Sage Maker. I'm butchering this, watch the stream and you'll get a better understanding of what Kate's is working on it's very cool!
There is a Female Exec Leaders Panel discussion featuring six panel members hosted by Kim Bonilla (She Builds founder & President). There was discussion around mentorship that stuck with me and it was really around how mentors can come and go and that's OK. Further discussion about mentors and sponsors, when and why you might need them and how the relationship works which I found very insightful and has given me a bit to think about. I personally wasn't familiar with the sponsor arrangement and hearing about these leaders discuss the two really connected some dots for me. I'll give a special mention to Vanessa Alves from Brazil, such an energized passionate speaker (my notes actually say, Vanessa was awesome).
I haven't listed each panel member, there are too many, catch the full list of speakers on the agenda: https://aws-shebuilds-day-june.splashthat.com/
Sarah James has written a book "Are you Ready to Change the World? Thoughts on Technology Leadership for the Future". This is an excellent interview with well thought out questions and gives you some insight into Sarah and her experience as leader as well as her book. I was impressed by the session and picked up a copy myself, I'm looking forward to the read. I might follow up with a post on thoughts after I've finished.
No affiliation or links etc
Juliette Murphy tells us all her secrets! No seriously, Juliette is the Co-Founder of FloodMapp and gives us her top 5 secrets to leadership. I won't give them away here but I will say that I found them very useful and there is something for everyone in the secrets that can be applied by everyone no matter the role or experience.
Alrighty, it's been great to get some insights into this community which really promotes women in tech, diversity and inclusivenes. This write up was a very quick summary of the stand outs to the AWS She Builds Day 2021. I'm just scratching the surface on the event, hopefully the replay links from the day will be out shortly so we can share with others.
Shout out to Kim Bonilla and the rest of the She Builds team for a great event! It was very well organized, awesome line up of speakers and great content. If you get a chance to attend the next She Builds event be sure to check it out, go to the live sessions if you can, that way you can engage with the speakers. You might even get your hands on some sweet merch and other prizes ;).
If you're just hearing about AWS She Builds and you want to find out more, there is a LinkedIn group that should put you in touch with plenty of women in tech:
If I can be of help, feel free to reach out.