Find a Support System: Join womxn in tech groups
- Here is a repo on GitHub for Bay Area women in tech. It does not have a complete list of groups, but a pretty comprehensive one a few years ago and many of the groups are still active. Look them up to see the most updated information on their website for their respective Telegrams, Discord and Slack channels and other social media networks.
- Here is a repo of cryptocurrency/blockchain/web3 women groups that I have personally participated in over the years, or recommend joining. If you'd like to contribute, fill out this Airtable, or you can create a pull request to contribute.
- There are still a plethora of growing groups in other areas, from AI to metaverse, I've listed another awesome-list repository here.
- Here is a repo compiled by MIT and Harvard on some other great recommended resources for women in AI.
Create your own personal board of directors, start with getting a technical mentor
- Some tips for mentorship for mentors can be found in this great book called, Beyond the Myths and Magic of Mentoring: How to Facilitate an Effective Mentoring Process by Margo Murray.
- Don't limit your mentors to only womxn from your ethnic or racial community. I have had mentors that self-identify as progressive white allies and others from other communities of color who have been just as supportive as a mentor and sponsor in helping me advance in the next chapter of my career. I have had mentors in every industry I have worked in, from civic engagement, technology, and creative entertainment technology.
- Not all mentorship is structured (although I have joined some great structured mentorship programs with full schedules and those committed to seeing me succeed. A few were: Women in High Performance Computing (HPC), others that were so informal folks brought me under their wing came from my Women Who Code local chapter in Silicon Valley (they did not have mentorship programs at all or a ton of structure at the time). Other mentors I gained by being involved in meetup organizing, one from Stanford Venture Lab (VLAB), who today is a startup adviser of mine and friend.
- I have created mentorship programs via the non-profit organization I founded, FASTER - Filipinx Americans in STEAM - Science Technology Engineering Arts and Mathematics, which focuses on college students, initially we started with UC Berkeley (my alma mater) and Stanford. Over the past 5 years, we have helped hundreds of students and many have landed full time careers in technical, design, product management, operations, and other business roles.
Create projects and how to create them
Here I describe some of the really basic ideas of make, show, and learn, or the IDEO design thinking wheel.
- Observation and Ideation - Find a problem or challenge in a particular area. Suggest or propose ideas or solutions to that problem (this work both in public policy, business, and software development).
- Rapid Prototyping, Testing, and User Research - I skip a lot of the other stuff in between (like connecting a bunch of APIs and such), because often times you can be coding into a whole not talking to users, only to find out your project does not have a real busines proposition, is not something people will want, use or pay for, or you may have some other inability to gather some other essential thing you need to execute the project successfully. For example, having access to datasets that were not open source stalled a project I was working on in healthtech for advancing research on neurodegenerative brain disease. While my project partners from my class at USF and I attempted to gather this data from another researcher at Stanford, there were some specific requirements being the primary investigator that we needed for clearance for the type of data we wanted to do in machine learning and AR and VR for light testing and this was not even possible. While I understood some regulations (like HIPAA compliance were needed), I spent a longer time conceptualizing a big idea without properly thinking through what could feasibly be executed. This was probably one of my bigger startup failures. So it is my honest suggestion for anyone, even starting a small project for a single day hackathon to validate the probability to carry out various tasks that are needed for essential portions of the project. The only hackathon where I did not commit code, design, or contribute was when I was trying to make this same type of startup project in a one day hackathon. This was depressing and I hope no one else has to go through what I did for a single hackathon or a portion of time building something like a startup. Always also talk to users early. In my current company, we spent too long a time not spending enough time talking to users to validate the product we were building and not getting contracts signed or making revenue. You will get too distracted on things you think are essential (logo design or conceptualizing gigantic plans is nice, but being able to pay your bills is probably more important). Start small, talk to users, get feedback for the smallest possible Minimum Viable Product (MVP) and iterate
- Iteration - you can upon feedback make changes and push your changes to any repo or app you are building again
- Implementation - now that you have your product go ahead and ship it to the world.
- Check out the IDEO graphic that contains all the basic info on startups and overall product design. This has more steps in detail.
- Link all your projects (personal, professional) that you are proud of on your GitHub, LinkedIn profiles and portfolio website and showcase them to the world. Helpful things you can add are images, documentation, videos, and descriptions with the step-by-step process on how you came up with the idea for the project, what you used to make it, challenge and roadblocks you overcame, ideas for next steps upon the next iteration of your project, and anything else you want to add.