Where Are All The Women in Java?
Less than 15% of people in London tech teams are women and 23% of London tech startups have no women on the board.¹ The damning statistics have been circling the web for the last few years but it had never crossed my mind until I started up in the world of technology recruitment.
Speaking to developers, tech leads and CTOs day in and day out, it quickly became obvious just how skewed the female to male ratio is. The rare conversations I do have with female developers makes it obvious that there are simply not enough groups of talented women demonstrating what they can do and why other women (and young girls) should think about following in their footsteps.
We felt there was an opportunity to fill a void. So we set up ‘Women in Java’. ‘Women in Java’ is a platform in London where women will be able to discuss, debate, suggest and talk about all things Java and gender.
We set up the group on the meetup platform, wrote a little about my aims and vision for the group and went home, full of ideas on how to attract new members. Eight months and a few sleepless nights later, we are 160 plus women strong with one widely successful meetup under our belts!
Suddenly it was time for Women in Java to have it’s first official meeting. Open to any females in the technology space who wanted to expand their knowledge of the language and meet like-minded women in a male dominated world. This was the opportunity to encourage developers, architects, CTOs and more to get together to listen to some of the leading female Java speakers in the country.
Held at the perfectly suited Makers Academy venue on Commercial Street, the event saw a huge number of our membership turn up to meet each other and hear from our incredible speakers.
Our first speaker, Holly Cummins. Holly is the delivery lead for IBM WebSphere Application Server Liberty Profile. She is a renowned speaker across major events and just a simple Google of her name will demonstrate just how respected she is in the community.
Holly’s talk ‘The Cuddle Throwable Application Server’ was a brilliant and light-hearted demonstration exploring the limits of embeddable hardware and a ‘getting-started-guide’ to the Internet of Things (you can watch the full video here:
Holly’s hilarious hardships and troubles got a lot of laughs from the audience but not without a real awe and respect for the implications of her work. The ability to put a full spec-compliant Java EE server on very cheap software and then ‘throw it around the room’ was a well-received and exciting notion. As expected, Holly delivered her talk with confidence and humour.
Our second speaker, Trisha Gee is a woman who needs no introduction. A Java Champion, leader of the Sevilla Java User Group, Developer Advocate for JetBrains and even recently named one of the most influential people in the Java world.
Trisha gave a thrilling live-coding demonstration of Java 8 and 9(!), demonstrating how to use lambda expressions and stream API to build a fully working end-to-end application using minimal external dependencies and the very latest version of Java. Even utilising some of the lesser-known features of Java 9!
A fascinating insight and lesson for all involved, even the chance to get involved to help fix some of the errors, the talk, was highly enjoyed by all. Trisha’s clear expertise and capability only added to the brilliance of this talk.
This isn’t the first time Trisha has given this talk and hopefully it won’t be the last. If you manage to catch an event where she is doing it again, it comes highly highly recommended!
Overall, the event was a huge success, especially for a first meetup. The dedication and positive feedback received by the members who attended was overwhelming and plans are already in place for the next meeting.
Women in Java hopes to put on a minimum of four events this year, with workshops and collaborations with other groups in discussion. However, none of this would be possible without the members, so if you would be interested in joining just check out and sign up to the meetup page – https://www.meetup.com/Women-in-Java/Looking for a new role?