Last week I had the privilege of attending the sold out “Women in IT” luncheon at Collaborate ‘18. The event has gained tremendous popularity since rolling out at Collaborate two years ago. While men are welcome to attend, this event is geared towards women who are growing their career in technology; traditionally, a very male-dominated industry.
This was my first time attending the event, but I had heard great things from my coworkers who attended in years past. After reading their recaps (The Art of Balance and Technology Innovation in a Security World), I was eager to join the list of attendees.
Upon arriving at the event, I walked past a waitlist line of 20+ people hoping to score a last-minute seat…a good sign for what was to come.
This year’s speaker, Heather Parks, is a development and database engineer living in Las Vegas. Prior to founding her company Healliam in 2010, she spoke about her career in the gaming industry and the role that technology plays in it. She talked about a particularly interesting project with real-time sportsbook betting and the nimble technology it took to be able to execute complex algorithms with multiple variables, all within the nine-second delay between real-time and TV delivery.
At a very basic level, this software would run during live games and create odds based on various variables. For example, if LeBron James has the ball, there is an X percent chance that he will make a basket in Y amount of time. And then you can bet on those odds… wirelessly from your phone. This changed the face of sportsbook betting and took traditional final score odds, and made it granular in real-time.
But besides the intriguing concept, the part of her speech that struck me the most was an off-hand joke she made about not even watching sports. Here she is, making huge waves in the gaming industry, and she doesn’t even watch sports…she’s more inspired and driven by the tech behind it.
What is so relatable about that is that sometimes that’s how this industry is. If I take a look at my own career with Surety Systems, we provide JD Edwards consulting. That may not sound thrilling right off the bat, but when you dig a little deeper, you find a business that works with clients of all shapes and sizes across all industries. No two JD Edwards instances are the same and the range of projects we get to work on is incredibly broad. Our consultants are able to mix, match and customize the same core software to our client’s specific needs and that’s what makes our job interesting. Ladies, think capsule closet: 10 core staples, 100+ outfit combos.
Heather also spoke about our job as women in technology to lead by example to younger generations. Let’s talk about what makes this industry exciting and look beyond the surface level ‘solution’ that might not always seem glamorous. Let’s show them that a career in tech means a career with infinite innovation.
To quote the queen herself, “Who run the world? Girls.”