The event took place at Telefonica’s start-up accelerator, Wayra, and was celebrated by the GSMA, a trade body that represents the interests of mobile operators worldwide, with a group of Year 8s from The Bridge Academy in Hackney. It was a chance to work with developers to create a VR experience and listen to inspirational speeches from women in technology careers. There was also a personalised Snapchat filte
r especially for the event!
The day began with a VR session, led by Ada Rose Edwards from Samsung, in which we edited a VR environment and viewed it using Google Cardboards. I helped my team program it and we ended up with a cool end product which we all got to try. [Left, and us working on it, below]
Next, we received a talk from Georgie Barrat, a tech journalist and a presenter of Channel 5’s ‘The Gadget Show’, on her job and what it’s like working freelance- in particular the freedom of being your own boss, but also the pressure of finding work.
It really helped show the advantages of working in technology and the great experience she’d got out of it!
Following this, Natasha Rooney talked to us about her career journey- how she got to be working in tech, how she went back to university to study Computer Science and the wide range of jobs available- something I found really interesting! Natasha Rooney is the Internet Engineering Director at GSMA and has worked around the world, in particular Japan, which I talked to her afterwards about. From a young age, Natasha had a love of maths and, after talking to a friend of hers, realised that a job in technology might just be for her, something that many teenagers and adults across the UK will, hopefully, discover too!
My favourite part was the virtual tour with Google Expeditions during which we got to experience outer space, Congo and being surrounded by sharks using a phone and the Google Cardboard. While looking at VR for a long time can make you feel a bit sick, it’s a really fun thing to try so I definitely recommend it!
Towards the end of the day was my 2–3 minute presentation in which I gave a brief overview of the two week Acorn Accelerator I went on in July and August last year, run by Acorn Aspirations, a non-profit organisation dedicated to introducing teenagers into the tech world through a series of events and hackathons.
During my presentation I introduced what my teammates and I had created during the accelerator- an app called Spark that uses GPS to find the nearest plug sockets (from crowdsourced data) for charging your device.
After, Katie, who also attended the Acorn Accelerator pitched her idea, Forget Me Not, an app that uses audio reminders to help people who suffer from forgetfulness, especially those suffering from dementia.
I think the Girls in ICT event was a huge success thanks to all the inspirational speakers and the multiple VR workshops which were really fun to code and play with! I loved networking with all the different people who attended, seeing all of the various jobs they did, and hearing about the experiences you can enjoy while working in tech. It was a great experience!