I was excited to speak at Abstractions II, but I was also really happy to just be an attendee. As a cross-discipline conference, Abstractions attracts speakers from a wide range of backgrounds and experiences. It was a big conference with lots of nooks and crannies to explore, but I really enjoyed talks where speakers shared their personal stories. Through their experiences, I was able to gain new perspectives and reflect on my own experience in tech.
I thought about my mental health as I listened to Test Double’s very own Micah Adams’ talk Satisfaction: A Tool to Facilitate Reflective Practice. Micah shared steps he’s taken for his mental well-being at work, and his honesty helped me think about steps I can take for myself. I also appreciated hearing Vanessa Kristoff talk about winding down a career in her talk Beyond the Sunset: How to Wring the Maximum Joy from Your Last 10 Years in Tech. My career is way closer to the start than the end, but Vanessa’s perspective pushed me to think about my career a little differently. She also shared a lot of valuable advice that I can use today.
There were other stories that highlighted the amazing work people are doing in their communities. In Building Afghanistan 2.0 with #AfghanGirlsCode, Fereshteh Forough talked about setting up a non-profit, Code to Inspire, to teach technical skills to young Afghan women. Through Code to Inspire, young women gain skills that lead to employment and the individual empowerment that comes from generating wealth. I also enjoyed Christine Zagrobelny’s talk about building open source software to help the New Sanctuary Coalition’s misson to support people going through the United States immigration system. In her talk, Christine talked about the benefits of using open source software at a non-profit and the challenges of maintaining that software long term. Spoiler alert: maintaining software is hard.
I could go on and on, but there’s only so much typing and reading that can be done on the internet. Keep an eye out for the videos and don’t go chasing waterfalls.