What We Learned: WWCode Connect NYC 2019 Recap


Picture of women from behind sitting at a conference

WWCode Connect is Women Who Code’s premier developer conference, which was held in New York City on December 5th. Meina and Jayeeta, members of the Indellient Data Science team attended the event where they participated in talks, panels and workshops from industry leaders. In today’s blog, they will provide us with a breakdown of the event’s most impactful takeaways.

Overview of Women who Code Connect NYC 2019

The event included multiple tracks of sessions and specialized speakers, like Blockchain, AI/ML, Frontend, DevOps, Security, Leadership. We chose to attend the Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning specialized sessions with a mix of few hands-on workshops on Reinforcement Learning and Generative Adversarial Networks, and talks on best practices in Data Science.

Meina: “Garbage In, Garbage Out”

One of the sessions that was especially intriguing spoke about the importance of labelled data in the world of AI. Lacy McLear and Erin Babinsky, Senior Data Science Managers from Capital One gave insights into the challenges they faced and how they iteratively create solutions through careful planning and created quality machine learning products at scale with the help of human inputs. As the saying goes, “garbage in, garbage out” – we cannot expect AI or machine learning algorithms to magically create a great model when all the data we are feeding it is not clean and annotated. As a Lead Data Scientist, I strongly believe that this step of defining the Data Science scope and input data gathering is extremely important, if not more important than building the model itself. We need good quality data, clean, accurate, and annotated properly. 

Jayeeta: Build Responsible and Ethical Technology 

In today’s political climate, it may seem like tech is the enemy, with companies like Facebook and Google facing multiple lawsuits and senate hearings. But can we use tech for good? Lorena Mesa, Director, Python Software Foundation and Data Engineer on GitHub’s Software Intelligence Systems team spoke about what it means to build responsible and ethical technology in a rapidly expanding and changing world. If knowledge is power, and in today’s world data is knowledge, then as daily practitioners of Data Science, it is key that we ensure the power we have is used responsibly. Being a Marvel geek, I adhere to the Peter Parker principle: “with great power comes greater responsibility”.  

The Road Ahead: Women and Diversity in Tech 

The powerful keynote address from Joey Rosenberg, the Chief Leadership Officer for Women Who Code echoed with all the emotions in the room. WWCode was started to create a platform for women to re-skill, up-skill, mentor and coach to counter the statistic that women leave technical careers at a rate 45% higher than men due to lack of representation in senior positions. Although we have been talking about gender equality for years, there are still great strides to be made. Together, alongside other women in technology, we can stand up for equality and the right to be fairly represented. 

Shanna Gregory, Global Leadership Director at Women Who Code closed out the day with a look at the road ahead for the Women Who Code community. One idea really resonated with us – the idea that we look forward to the day when we won’t need organizations like WWCode to exist because by then, we will have achieved a truly inclusive and gender diverse community around us. Until then, we all need to keep working towards that goal. 

What’s Next? 

These were just a few takeaways from a jam-packed day of learning from some of the best and brightest women in the New York tech community. In the meantime, we will be going back to the Indellient NYC office and sharing these insights with our team. What’s been most encouraging is that our leadership team actively listens and supports our insights and ideas, including actively contributing to WWCode, by participating as an event sponsor at Women Who Code NYC’s end of year event. Indellient will be continuing to support women in technology as we understand the importance of diversity in the workplace, and know that what makes us different is what makes us stronger.