A quick synopsis (with help from twitter participants) of each awesome presentation at AlterConf in Atlanta, Georgia on February 28, 2015. This is part 1 of 2.
First, a few shout outs
A Non-Traditional Tech Degree
- You CAN learn to code!
- Focus on your MVP (minimum viable product)
- Break your product into smaller pieces of coding you can learn (like legos).
- Find mentors and work with other people
- Get the word out about your product, and other work will come your way, too.
The 12 Year Old I.T. Guy
- Barriers because seem so young
- Often though, the barrier is what YOU think holds you back
- Don't let age hold you back!
- When you feel confident, you'll be less timid in actions
- Turn your youth into an asset: you grew up and are comfortable with technology
- Interesting questions from audience about "too old" concerns
- Tell YOURSELF you are old/young enough
Why Diversity in Video Games Matters
- "Video games where I can identify with the character are more engaging than video games where I can not" (@dgempesaw)
- "Most of the black characters in video games are sports figures. We need more #diversity in gaming." (@monicafcox)
- "Kobe Bryant doesn't count as a black video game character.... He's a real person!" (@pwnela)
- "I don't know if you've realized this, but gamers are very resistant to change. Maybe we shouldn't start with them." (@AlterConf)
- "The main reason we should diversify games is just because we should." (@AlterConf)
- Games are getting more expensive to make, so publishers focus on original target audience (white males age 30-50) to ensure profits
- What we can do:
- Support independent game developers
- Write/Tweet at game studios/publishers about why you won't buy their games
- Recommended reading: "Racial Identification: The Secret Strength Videogames Forget They Have"
- It's all about the money (so focus change efforts here)
Fake Geek Girl: Trans Microaggressions in Tech
- Lack of models for how to come out as genderqueer (slide with her email to co-workers)
- Examples of microaggressions:
- Mis-gendering: "You're really a guy, right?", wrong pronouns
- Inappropriate questions: "Have you had the surgery?" (AKA "What's your junk look like?")
- Why microaggressions happen?
- Ignorance: "wrong bathroom" example
- Cliches: "You're so brave"...for living your identity?!
- Fake: refusal to acknowledge identity
- Often more microagressions in progressive spaces (slide comparing how people describe cis vs. trans, i.e. "preferred pronouns" vs. just "pronouns")
- Fiction by trans authors can be a better way to learn (Example: Casey Plett, A Safe Girl to Love)
Context for People of Color
- Silicon Valley missing from Juwan's culture until age 19
- Coding becoming as essential a skill as reading and writing
- Not enough just to teach coding content/theory, have to first infuse it with & into context/culture (fun Baptist church experience example)
- "when people have context they gravitate to and understand the content better (re: technology)" (@pwnela)
- "Hop on top of those pews. And infuse this context and culture within technology." (@adriennefriend)
- Don't stay in your comfort zone, nothing grows in a comfort zone
- Talk with people of color about what YOU do (Tristan Walker as model)
- "I could Tweet about it, I could cry about it, or I could DO something about it." @juwanplatt on mentorship (@adriennefriend)
- Code.org is great for younger kids, but lacking for older ones
- Don't blend in: Be YOU in a very public, confident way (e.g. tweet/blog) that infuses your context (and others feel less alone, have models)
Low MISC: Why encouraging Minority Involvement in Scientific Computing is a Good Idea
- "lack of minorities in scientific computing (MISC)" (@khatsar)
- "Mind-blowing: median computing professional salary > (median black family salary + median Latino family salary)" (@joelafiosca)
- Average unemployment levels, insanely high for black and Latino/a families vs. computer professionals
- Jesse Jackson, "shortage not of jobs, but of opportunities"
- Dr. King "Where do we go from here"
- Need a better pipeline for K-12, College retention & professional conferences
- two levels at conferences segregates students from making needed connections & growth
- stop hanging out at conferences only with people like us
- Not just rights, but job opportunities and money (especially in STEM fields) that can give real equality.