4 Enriching Lessons Learned At Harvard University's #WeCode2016

I attended #WeCode2016 conference in March 2016. Over 400 young people with interest in computer science were gathered at Harvard University (Northwest Labs) to learn, share and network with other women working in technology.

Without further introduction, let me share with you the thoughts I had after such an enriching and inspiring weekend.

1. Perseverance

It’s hard but if you’re into it you better stay.

If you already have experience with programming or have taken some classes, you know that reaching greatness in software or computer engineering is a tough task.

But, no one said it’s supposed to be easy right?

Being a minority in this field, women usually feel overwhelmed because of the lack of support. Sometimes, all you need to know is that you are not the only one.

I have to mention that when Pooja Sankar, the founder and CEO of Piazza, shared her 6am-in-lab story, I couldn't help myself from smiling because I've been there too!

2. Misfit

“Misfit” in tech makes the best innovators!

Steve Jobs said think different! Well, you don’t have to try to think different you are different.

That’s a sneak peek of the speech of Laura Butler, Microsoft’s first and only female Technical Fellow and Director of Engineering Windows Fundamentals.

Laura insisted in her speech on the importance of being oneself rather than loosing energy on imitating someone else. And being yourself also includes defending yourself and believing that your ideas are worth being heard. So next time someone interrupts you, no matter if it’s a man or a woman (because women interrupt each other as well according to some studies), you better finish your sentence.

3. No Limits

There’s no limit in computer science. And that’s one of the things I like the most in our field.

Whether you’re interested in education, biology, finance or anything you can think of, you can always apply your skills and innovate!

I was amazed when talking with other girls about the fields we’re interested in. Our love for computer science was a common point but our interests were incredibly diverse.

4. Start

Work with what you have until you get what you want.

I’m an exchange student in the USA but I pursue my studies in Tunisia. I have to say that I was jealous of the amazing opportunities people here have especially that you may have the same level of skills but you still have to struggle to find a good internship.

Tech enterprises back home don’t make it easier anyway. Yes, that was my “coup de gueule” when comparing my last summer internship with the ones they have here. Okay, now let’s get over it. It’s truly motivating to see how in computer science no matter where you are studying, if you work hard you’ll reach the same level, if not a better one, as others from more prestigious universities. It will just take you more time, maybe.

PS: No victimization here.

In few words, if you get the opportunity to attend this conference or a similar one in future, I encourage you to go for it.

I didn't get into what I learned in the more technical workshops but I promise you’ll walk out with a bigger vision.

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