Attending “Grace Hopper Celebration” For Dummies

Grace Hopper Celebration is the world’s largest gathering of women in tech organized by AnitaB.org (formerly known as Anita Borg Institute). It was named after the American computer scientist Grace Hopper.

Grace Hopper (a.k.a “Amazing Grace”, a.k.a “Grandma COBOL”) is an American computer scientist and was a rear admiral in united states navy. Have a look at the wikipedia article or do a google search to see the amazing ways that she has contributed to computer science. Following is one of the rare videos that exists of Grace Hopper.

AnitaB.org formerly known as Anita Borg Institute is an organization dedicated to women in technology. Their mission is to bring more women to technology and help sustaining the women who are already in technology.

Dr. Anita Borg is the founder of the systers, an online community which provides a safe haven for the women technologists.

Now that we have basic terminology sorted, let’s get back to the conference. Every year, AnitaB.org organizes this huge celebration which is a conference, career fair and a networking event.

Grace Hopper Career fair is one of the largest career fairs of the tech companies. Even if you are not searching for a job, you can still get some swags and talk with the people who are working in other companies. There is also an area where companies are demoing their technologies inside the expo. Google had a deconstructed google home at their Google studio, Facebook did Oculus demos, Microsoft had holo-lense demos, IBM brought down their quantum computer IBM Q, etc. My favorite one was the Disney stall.

Let’s get back to the career fair bit. Since I was not actively searching, I was not interested in handing out my cv or providing the LinkedIn profile. But that was the main two ways that the companies collected their information.

If you are actively seeking a job, you can upload your resume to the GHC resume database and the companies will start contacting you. Some companies has scheduled the interviews before hand and some did it on the spot at the expo. For the expo it is better if you get ready with your elevator pitch because the lines are long and you will get only a few minutes from the recruiters time before your CV goes in to the list of CVs they are collecting.

Top tips for career fair

If you are planning to attend the GHC career fair, start your preparation way early.

Apart from the career fair the other most popular aspect of the conference is the key note speech. In 2018, I particularly liked the keynote by Jessica O. Matthews.

You can find all about the keynotes at the Keynote Archive.

Here are some snaps from 2018 keynotes. My best takeaway from the keynote is the following quote “Just because it’s not your plan, doesn’t mean it’s not your destiny”

Apart from the awesome keynotes and ABIE awards, Grace Hopper Celebration spreads out covering a vast area in technology from Artificial Intelligence to Product Engineering.

2018 Conference Tracks included the following

For me, the most important part of GHC is these conference track sessions. GHC had special preregistration system this year so that you can register to the session you want to attend, which gives you a priority entrance until 10 minutes before the sessions start.

There are lot of learnings which we can gather from these sessions. But attending the popular sessions is always impossible without registering. You have to have your own game plan for the sessions. When the agenda for the conference is out, I spent some time planning my days in the conference and the sessions I needed to attend.

Tips to attend the sessions

If you weren’t able to attend to a particular session that you are interested in, you can have a look at the community blog and see if there are any blog articles on the session.

No. That is not all. There are loads of swags and after parties too

Let’s start with the swags. You get an awfully large amount of swags. The coolest I got is a mini drone won by playing a video game.

Let’s move on to the after parties. There are some cool after parties going on during the conference. You have to decide whether you want to go and have fun at an after party or stay and relax in your hotel room to refresh for the next conference day. The best thing about after parties is that you get to network with lot of people in a non professional surrounding.

Here are few snaps from the after party thrown by Google in 2018 GHC.

If you are a student, AnitaB.org provides a large number of scholarships to attend the conference.

There are also other organizations who sponsor students to attend Grace Hopper. Here is a list from Ladies Storm Hackathons Github page.

If you are working, there are next to nothing scholarships or conference grants provided. The easiest thing you can do is save up the conference registration, air fare and the hotel booking. You can also convince your company to sponsor your GHC attendance which depends on your company’s policies os sponsoring.

Have any more questions? Ask them in the comments and I will try to answer them to the best of my knowledge.

Attending “Grace Hopper Celebration” For Dummies

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