“Me” in tech: Software Developer Busra’s account of our Engin-eerie event

Am I a “woman in tech”? I never thought it through before.

Truly, I have never considered myself being a “woman” in tech as opposed to a person in tech and this is my third year in my profession if we don’t count the university studies of Computer Science.

Probably, the way I was raised helped me as well, because I am the oldest of 3 children in my family and the only girl. Since I was the oldest, I was involved in many things in the family business. As a child, I was given many responsibilities. Starting from buying the bread for every single dinner, to going to banks, paying the bills etc. I was raised so that I could solve any problem if I tried and explained myself clearly. Plus, I had 2 brothers, who I learned a lot from about how strong we are if we are together!

I am happy to consider myself a human being in society rather than by my gender while of course being aware of our differences.

I do think, I am a person in tech who creates, solves problems, collaborates and contributes to with a big motivation.

A couple of months ago, I happened to hear that my company trivago was getting ready for an external “Womenintech” event for increasing the awareness that tech is not spooky/scary/hard to get into. It is obvious that there are not many women in tech. I immediately said yes, excited to contribute to the event, because this was about encouragement, inspiration and creativity.

We started with planning in detail. Not only as women but all together with our colleagues that were willing to support this movement! The Hallowe’en theme was our target in October, to show that there is nothing spooky about tech. I had been chosen to be interviewed as a Software Engineer to talk about how I got into tech, what was scary about it, and what advice I could give to women who are considering a career in Tech. It was a fantastic experience (see the video below). Three of my female colleagues were also interviewed in the same theme and all the videos turned out to be truly inspiring!

These video interviews were shared on social media during October. One day long big event happened on 27th of October. We hosted 20 external people at trivago in the morning who joined a “Basic Coding Workshop”. The people who attended the workshop were a super diverse group. People who were architects, economic students, fashion designers etc. These people applied for a 4 hour long workshop, where they literally coded non-stop.

We had 2 tracks at the same time: the front-end and the back-end. Front-end people created a simplified version of trivago with HTML, CSS and JavaScript. They were the web-make-up artists of trivago for a couple of hours as my colleagues Janine describes it (I love that term!)

During the workshop

In the back-end track, they coded a small API to take the relevant data from the database with PHP. In plain English, they took the hotel details from the database and created a piece of string. At the end of the workshop, each person in the back-end track had one URL that had the hotel data in it. They were able to give that URL to the front-end people when we merged the two groups and everyone was able to see the full result of their work. They were able to search their trivago page and get the hotel list searched by city!

Oh, I wish you could have seen the excitement in their eyes. It was a wonderful feeling to see it!

The Back-end attendees

I wondered and asked them, how come they were from so many different areas and yet so interested in coding and creating something here? The answer I got was one single word, “curiosity”. This is the thing that keeps us doing things, isn’t it? We talked a lot about how great it is to create something with our fingers so that is there and working. They were so amazed at how easy it was, how not scary it was, and they learned so much.

It was the greatest feedback. The event after the workshop followed with speed dating and networking which was open to everybody, not just workshop attendees. Many colleagues of mine were there to answer questions of those who were wondering how we work at trivago, and what we do. We then had an external speaker, Ahlem Mahroua give us a talk which unfortunately I could not stay for that long due to my travel times. The event then finished with a big Q&A session.

Q&A Session with Sabina, Anna and Anitta

I just wanted to share with you this marvellous experience I had with teaching, talking, encouraging people who are interested in tech. I just love my job.

Of course, thanks to everybody at trivago who organised this experience with incredible motivation and made this event happen!

I am now on my way to Lisbon for WebSummit 2017. New stories to come. Stay tuned.

Love,

Busra

Busra Koken
Busra Koken

Software Engineer at trivago, runs her own blog Birds Are Flying, keen photographer and a good cook.

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