A post-AWS Hackday chat with the DataGirls team.
Who says coding is not for girls? At the recent AWS HackDay event in Singapore, we spoke to DataGirls #2 – one of two all-girl teams who participated in the 12-hour hackathon to come up with an innovative solution that solves real-world problems using AWS services centered around artificial intelligence, analytics, and the Internet of Things.
The group of four hails from various industries, including finance, education, mobile payment security, as well as a non-profit organization centered around fostering coding and technology among women of all ages. What’s the story behind the formation of this DataGirls team? Ee Wa:
The objective behind DataGirls (itself a collaboration between Keboola and CodingGirls) is to empower more girls to code and achieve their ambitions in the technology world.
How did the team first came to learn about AWS’ HackDay event? Ee Wa:
CodingGirls and Keboola have previously co-organized Data Hackathon in 2016. From the past collaboration, Keboola extended the invitation to CodingGirls, and this led to the formation of DataGirls in the participation of AWS HackDay Singapore 2017. The news about AWS HackDay was shared within the CodingGirls community, and has attracted attention from some past and current networking events, as well as workshop participants.
Why do you think there was this perceived notion that ‘coding is not for girls’? Ee Wa:
Society has always perceived that women are generally more emotionally driven and therefore, may not be suitable to dive into an industry that requires logical thinking. Therefore, the technological space is predominantly dominated by males, and we hardly see any female speakers out there to share – especially in techspecific conferences and meet-ups.
What we are trying to do here, in fact, is to break the general perception about women and with time, we see that there are more and more women leading tech companies, such as Sheryl Sandberg and Susan Wojcicki, just to name a few. So yes, time has changed and women are more empowered – indeed are more structured that anyone can imagine.
Could you walk us through the ‘RUN Lah’ prototype that the team demonstrated at this HackDay? Ee Wa:
RUN Lah is a jogging assistant that is powered by Alexa and AWS’ cloud infrastructure for users to determine the duration, area, and time of day of their run. RUN Lah is capable of recommending the best running routes for you, while providing transportation suggestions and weather forecast for your preferred run-time.
Now that the team has experienced AWS Cloud, can you tell us what each member hope to gain from cloud services moving forward? Ann:
Using cloud computing services allows the CodingGirls website to scale elastically, where we will then add job portal that will connect our community members with job opportunities from our partner companies.
AWS is a new dimension in the world of cloud services. The platform has really made it easier to work on your programs – anytime, anywhere. I’m sure to rely on AWS services for my work to make things more efficient, convenient and productive.
I have heard a lot about cloud computing and still a little skeptical about it (security- and privacy-wise). Nevertheless, for non-sensitive automation, I will probably look into programming simple solutions to bring simplicity in my life – more efficient perhaps.
(From left to right) Tan Ee Wa, Ann Luo, Arpita, and Xiong Si Yang.