Meet the hidden figures of tech -

Meet the hidden figures of tech

VerveCon is not just for women anymore. Conceptualized and developed by female engineers for female engineers, the first conference for women in technology is going to open its doors to “male speakers” in 2019. This year's VerveCon meets again on May 7 at the Santa Clara Convention Center.

Because VerveCon’s mission is rooted in the vision that every engineer needs an opportunity for continuous learning, this year’s conference provides a host of discussions on hot topics in the industry. They range from “Big Data and Bias Barriers,” and “AI & Natural Language Processing,” to “Machine Learning with TensorFlow” and “Cybersecurity in the Context of an Ever-Connected World.”

Vervecon offers an opportunity for participants to get close to pioneers and experts on subjects that affect their careers.

Headliners at VerveCon will include: Irina Gorbach, engineering director at Microsoft, Sujata Kosalge, distinguished engineer at Google, Kamini Dandapani, senior engineering director at LinkedIn, Aarthi Raju, solution architect at Amazon Web Services, Radhika Rangarajan, engineering director at Intel and Karmel Allison, engineering leader of TensorFlow, API at Google.

VerveCon 2019 speakers (Source: VerveCon)

VerveCon remains focused on its original mission — to inspire “women in tech” to stand up for themselves and become leaders.

Sudha Kasamsetty, founder and the driving force behind VerveCon, told EE Times, “We increased in VerveCon 2019 our round table breakout sessions to network directly with our mentors. We added a special session to learn more about interviewing techniques. And we are introducing training sessions on AWS and Big Data.”

Asked about post-conference responses from the more than 700 people who attended the inaugural VerveCon, Kasamsetty emphasized the immediacy of hands-on knowledge about the hot topics of the day (AI, Big Data, Data Science, IoT and others) and the practical tips the participants were able to put to use back in their work environment. One female attendee told Kasamsetty, “Attending VerveCon was like a Red Bull. It gives you wings.”

VerveCon also offers mentoring and career development programs. Kasamsetty said that she was gratified to hear that post-conference, some VerveCon attendees identified their personal “right domains” for their careers. As a result, many successfully switched domains and got new jobs.

Behind the curtain of Big Data and AI
When I attended VerveCon last year, I couldn’t help but notice the abundance of female “data scientists.” The visual image that came to mind was the movie “Hidden Figures,” about the women who did the vital mathematics in the United States’ space program. I realized again how many female scientists and engineers are, in fact, concealed behind the curtain of Big Data and AI.

Kasamsetty agreed. “Absolutely, we had a lot of data scientists last year and we will have many this year as well,” she noted. “I’m happy that many women who are exploring data science.” She also offered the reminder that AI already has well-known pioneering female researchers, such as Fei Fei Li, who serve to inspire many younger women.

There are conferences every day in Silicon Valley, with speakers boasting about their latest technology innovations. Such conferences unfold mainly, however, to roll out marketing pitches, which is a legitimate function. But when they’re done right, with a slightly higher purpose, tech conferences can “play a huge role in elevating one’s career,” according to the VerveCon founder. “We are glad that VerveCon is playing a small role.”

EE Times’ executive editor Dylan McGrath and I will be moderating a couple of panels at this year’s VerveCon. We hope to see you there next week!

— Junko Yoshida, Global Co-Editor-In-Chief, AspenCore Media, Chief International Correspondent, EE Times

>> This article was originally published on our sister site, EE Times: “Brush Up: Big Data, AI & TensorFlow.”

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