CO+HOOTS member Amelia Boli searches for unicorns at WWDC (Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference) in San Francisco
CO+HOOTS member Amelia Boli, a “Developing Developer” learning Swift and creating Myndfulness, an iPhone and Apple Watch app, was selected among thousands of applicants to earn a scholarship to attend Apple’s Worldwide Development Conference earlier this year in San Francisco. Amelia recounts her experience at the conference, where Apple’s renowned developer community gathered to learn about the future of iOS and OS X:
Finding unicorns in San Francisco (or My WWDC Experience)
By Amelia Boli
WWDC is Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference held annually in San Francisco. It is a week-long event where developers learn about new technologies and have the opportunity to ask engineers questions. This is the only time most developers can gain this kind of access to Apple.
WWDC is expensive and there are not enough tickets available for everyone who wants to go. I never in a million years would have expected to go. However, this year Apple offered scholarships to members of groups that support underrepresented peoples in technology.
Because I am a member of Women Who Code https://www.womenwhocode.com/, I was able to make and then submit an app showcasing my abilities and passions in order to apply for a scholarship. I was awarded a scholarship and am very grateful to Apple for this experience.
I’m frequently asked, “How was it? Tell me about your trip.” Honestly, when we get right down to it, it is hard to explain. It was exhausting, and amazing, and inspiring all at the same time. And everyone was really nice. I mean, almost every single person that I met was willing to speak with me and most of the time were genuinely kind.
There were sessions where I learned about new frameworks or tools; some of which I understood and others that I didn’t. I spoke to Apple engineers about specific problems that I was having. And there were amazing lunch time sessions. I saw Floyd Norman, a Disney animator, draw live and Mike Brown, an astronomer, explain why Pluto is not a planet.
I do need to take a moment here to discuss the presence of women. I knew that there would be fewer women than men. I did not realize how much fewer. In instances where I was literally standing in a group of a 1000 people, and could only reasonably see a few hundred, I was lucky to count four women besides myself. I had heard that female attendance at WWDC was 3-4%, but thought, surely this can’t actually be the truth. A friend of mine described it as finding a unicorn.
The absolute best part of WWDC, however, was being surrounded by people who love what I love: programming, and Apple, and the fact that these baby computers in our pockets, that were unimaginable to most people ten years ago, have and continue to change the world.
Interestingly, that is very similar to what I love about CO+HOOTS so much. At Co+Hoots I am constantly surrounded by people who love what they do. That passion comes out whether you realize it or not. It is that passion and community that helped me be in a space to apply for the scholarship and to believe that it was possible.
I’m unclear as to what is at the end of this journey that I’m on, I think that’s true for most of us, but I hope that no matter what happens that community will always be a part of my life, and maybe another WWDC or two.