On my way back from the Google I/O Extended NBO 22 event, I reflected on the first time I traveled to Nairobi to attend Google I/O Extended. I realized I needed to chronicle and share these recollections with the Data and Developer communities as one memory led to another. Here's my Google I/O Extended Nairobi wrap-up!
Creating an atmosphere
If you didn't already know, I switched to the Data ecosystem in early January this year. And when you're new to a tech environment, it can feel like you're in a bubble where the only people who know about it are the individuals who tweet about it or use Excel, Python, Pandas, Numpy, and R(Programs, Libraries, and languages used in the Data Field ). But when I saw the number of people at Google I/O Extended NBO last week, I understood that wasn't the case.
This article is more of a memoir of my first time attending Google I/O Extended NBO. Meeting people, speaking at Google I/O Extended NBO, sessions I found fascinating, recommendations for feature first-timers, and more will be divided into subsections in this article.
Speaking At Google I/O Extended
Yup! Not only did I attend Google I/O Extended NBO for the first time, but I also spoke at Google I/O Extended NBO for the first time as well.
At Google I/O Extended NBO, I had the pleasure of giving a workshop session with Gospel Nyareki on Getting Started With Data Science The Right Way and Opportunities in Google.
The goal of the talk was to motivate and encourage aspiring technologists that no matter how novice they are, they can still teach others something. That each of us may contribute to the IT ecosystem in some way.
Many people are striving to break into the rapidly expanding data science profession. Numerous people who want to learn more about the topic have found it challenging to plan and get into the field. From the scarcity of resources and resource overload to a misunderstanding of what Data Science is and how it differs from other data-related careers.
Attendees learned how to get started with Data Science the right way, including what Data Science is, what it encompasses, and what it takes to get started as a rookie in the field during the workshop. The enormous potential made available by Google in this arena was also explored. There was something for everyone, from educational chances to work opportunities.
Every Workshop talk at Google I/O Extended NBO was scheduled to be 45 minutes, but owing to schedule changes, we were asked to shorten the talk to 30 minutes. As Gospel Nyareki pointed out, the shorter the time for your talk, the more difficult it is to get your idea across. This is because you are afraid about not being able to include all of the details, speaking too quickly, and so on due to the time constraints. But we overcame our fears when we came up with the brilliant idea of splitting our session into two sections and then giving each of us 15 minutes to speak over our parts.
This was the key to our 30-minute talk at Google I/O Extended NBO being a success since we could not only cover the topic of the day but also actively engage our audience throughout the session, ensuring maximum content delivery with minimal time.
Receiving many positive responses after the event, with some people feeling motivated enough to start their careers in the industry and others even asking for mentorship, was a testament that the work was done well.
It was intriguing to see that the room for our talk was nearly full. This startled me because I had anticipated a low attendance. After all, our presentation was aimed at complete beginners. This merely goes to show how large and rapidly the data and developer community is growing.
I admired how well-coordinated everything was. Google I/O Extended NBO is one of the best-organized conferences I've ever attended. They instructed us on what to do, where to sit, how to set up our presentation, called us on time, and other details. It was an incredible experience, and I'm glad for the opportunity to speak at Google I/O Extended NBO. Now I'm going to take a break. Of course, I'm joking. It's time to go above and beyond!
The community is at the heart of the Data Field: Getting to know people
OMG!!!!! Apart from speaking at Google I/O Extended NBO, my favorite part of the conference was meeting new people. So, who and who did I meet, and when did I meet them?
If you're involved in Kenya's tech community, you've probably observed some of the dedicated and eager-to-assist individuals who are constantly altruistic and enthusiastic about building the community and assisting newcomers. Yes, you guessed it, I had the opportunity to meet, speak with, and even share a meal with several of them.
First and foremost, I had the pleasure of meeting Victor Omondi. Victor has always been interested in empowering young Data Science professionals. I was happy to shake his hand for the first time after speaking at many sessions hosted by the Lux Tech Academy Community and other developer communities on various themes in data. I think it's important to note his humility, despite his extensive experience in the industry.
My co-speaker Gospel expresses his gratitude for his assistance during their brief talk that day. I never had the opportunity to speak with Victor(well, well 😄 ), but the fact that my co-speaker and many others, including myself, were inspired to embark on this path because of him, even if it was only a handshake, meant a lot to me.
I also had the pleasure of meeting Juma Allan, who epitomizes the phrase "It is possible to realize your dreams."
Me: Hello Juma, how are you doing today?
Juma: I am good, niko poa how are you, brother. (I am doing great, how are you doing, brother)
Some conversation..................... (Us Posing for a photo 😊 )
I must say, I was not expecting such a warm welcome from him. Juma is definitely someone to look up to, with his enthusiasm for driving change in the tech environment and his unwavering support for Kenya's tech communities. Through Juma, I also had the opportunity to meet Harun Wangereka, one of our very own Google Developer Experts for Android in Kenya, who had given the Android keynote earlier that day. Harun has a perfect blend of humility, skill, and commitment. I'm delighted I met him and had the opportunity to speak with him.
Aside from meeting Victor, Juma, and Wangereka, I also met a few additional Lux Tech Academy colleagues who have been really helpful in various ways. As a newcomer to the Data ecosystem, I'm always trying to learn more about the technologies and my colleagues (Harun Mbaabu, Mary Maina, Susan Wangari, Elijah…..the list is long) have always been willing to help. We didn't have a conversation(Well, Well 😄 ) with Harun because he was also speaking at the event about Developing a Data Pipeline on the Google Cloud Platform, and he had to nail it like we always do. I got the opportunity to meet and speak with Mary and Wangari. They're all gems, with Wangari leading the Lux Academy Campus Program with gusto.
Aside from my teammates, the Google I/O Extended NBO meet-up introduced me to some incredible people. Mercy, the Women Tech Makers' leader, was instrumental in ensuring the success of our workshop. Velda, Tabitha, and Mercy Jillo have always been wonderful sources of support. Velda was able to attend my session, which meant a lot to me. Elijah, Anselmo, and Levin have been a constant source of inspiration and drive, demonstrating that you may be new to a field and achieve anyway. Mark is a great sport when it comes to sharing information and opportunities. Esther Mueni has supported my enthusiasm for encouraging other young techies and women in IT by providing me with this opportunity to make a difference through my writing. Phyllis Atieno is a constant source of inspiration for me in the tech industry as a Woman in Tech who defies all odds and triumphs. During the stay in Nairobi, Herway and Rodney were extremely helpful in any way they could. Denis Riungu was such a motivation for us to continue mentoring my fellow aspiring technologists. Favor, Ess, and Khadija for making my Google I/O Extended NBO experience so memorable! And everyone else with whom I didn't get a chance to take a selfie. You're all incredible!
My favorite Google I/O Extended NBO talks & announcements
I couldn't attend as many sessions as I wanted due to various reasons, including missing the timeslot, completing my duties as a crew member (I was both a speaker and a volunteer at the event), and simply being confused about the venue. I even misplaced my backpack a few minutes before my session began, but owing to Strathmore University's stringent security measures. I was able to retrieve it afterward. Yes, I made many mistakes, but you can't blame me because I'm a first-timer (well, you can. I ought to have done better 😅).
Anyway, by approaching the presenters afterward, I was able to catch up on the sessions I missed and get a full experience of all the talks I wanted to attend. Here are a few of my personal favorites:
Keynotes and announcements by the co-chairs for Google I/O Extended NBO: Harun Wangereka, Maye Edwin, Alfred Ongere, and Tabitha Kavyu were phenomenal. They appeared to be in sync and well-prepared for their presentations.
Team's/Best working Environment (Edwinna Bikeri, Software engineer): It is unavoidable for all of us especially those in the tech industry, we must work in groups at some point. Edwina discussed some excellent teamwork techniques with us during this session. During the session, a lively debate erupted about prioritizing professionalism or diversity. What are your thoughts? (Drop your opinion in the chat section)
IoT in our everyday lives (Esther Mueni IoT Engineer at Neverest): I've always been captivated by the Internet of Things, but Esther Mueni was the one who brought it home to me. Esther aggressively engaged us all during her session with her excellent presentation skills, and we all enjoyed it.
Creating and Interacting with Smart Contacts (Jordan Muthemba Mara Developer Relations): Cryptocurrency and smart contracts are now causing a stir in the tech industry. I had no choice but to investigate everything. I'm glad we have Mara; I'd like to try Crypto one of these days, courtesy of Jordan's talk.
Google I/O Extended NBO 2022: Key Takeaways
As a first-timer, I learned many intriguing things that will help me do better at the future Google I/O Extended NBO event. This section is for you whether you plan to visit Google I/O Extended NBO for the first time or want to read my major takeaways.
- Even if you are new to the Data or generally the Tech ecosystem, don't be scared to apply to speak at Google I/O Extended NBO. The community is very intentional about giving everyone a chance to excel.
- To submit a talk for your first time, try to team up with someone else in the community. Because you're now merging your abilities and expertise with someone else, this can give you a competitive advantage. It's important to remember that two good heads are better than one.
- Before the event, read through and list all the sessions you want to attend. Don't make assumptions as I did (I missed some sections since the time was off). Always double-check!
- Staying in a hotel or a friend's place that is close to town is a good idea if you can afford it. You don't want to be concerned about how distant your hotel is when everyone else is having a good time at the after-party and networking. A decent location also lets you go out and about in the city.
- Keep an open mind and a willingness to learn. Because this was my first time presenting at Google I/O Extended NBO, I had to learn a lot on the fly, such as how to improve my presentation abilities and create catchy presentation Docs, among other things.
- Take it easy on yourself if you're a first-timer like me. It's fine if you didn't get to meet everyone you wanted to. It's fine if you didn't have any pals or were too shy to network. It's fine if you missed a session or were unsure where the discussion was held. It's all right. The most important thing is that you did it. You attended your first Google I/O Extended NBO and will be better prepared for the next one. Let's hope for more.
It's not even been a year since I joined the Tech ecosystem, but I have been able to achieve a good number of things. From learning about Data Science and Technical writing to leading Technical Writing workshops and collaborating with people in the ecosystem to speaking at Google I/O Extended NBO
These things did not happen because I am super smart (Well, I try, at least. lol). It's been achievable because I've been fortunate to have a strong support system and to be an active member and volunteer in communities that have been very deliberate in giving me the resources I require to succeed in this area.
For me, Google I/O Extended NBO was nothing short of spectacular. It made me realize that I needed to do more, learn more, and participate more in the Data community, and publishing this post is a good start. I'll continue to be more deliberate about sharing my progress and learnings on this blog.
Thank you to my Great Communities, friends, new acquaintances, and organizers. You guys made my weekend in Nairobi unforgettable.
Everyone, see you next time 💛
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