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Amara Graham
Amara Graham

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Nevertheless, Amara Graham Coded

I continue to code in 2019 because...

Amara in front of a movie screen showing a sketchnotes from an AI talk

I have so much left to do!

But really, I'm hoping to be a role model for the girls and young women that were like me growing up, interested in computers when so many people kept telling me that wasn't what girls were supposed to like. With a more public, visible role as a developer advocate I hope that I can "show by doing".

Staying "technical" at this point in my career is also incredibly important. While I know my ultimate calling and career goal is to run/manage an advocacy team, I want to make sure I still have time set aside for programming. Last year I made sure every talk, workshop, tutorial, and demo I showed was created by yours truly, and I intended to continue doing that this year. It can be challenging maintaining old code and creating new stuff, but I'm a better advocate because of it.

Which also means if you find my old stuff and something needs updating, consider submitting a PR and help a lady out!

I deserve credit for...

Amara leading a chatbot talk

Taking ownership of my career! I moved from an enterprise IT organization a few years ago because I wanted to teach and talk to more developers. So I did and I haven't looked back. Developer advocacy has been a great fit for me and I'm absolutely thriving.

Not only did I take ownership of my career with a role change, I've found an organization that allows me to pitch new and interesting projects. Last year I spent a good chunk of my time working in AR/VR and game dev, enabling developers working in these areas to build with AI. I'll continue doing that this year, taking a more focused approach. If you are interested in bringing AI into your game dev project, lets chat!

I hope to see my tech community...

Amara and Bhavana from PubNub at API World giving a talk together

Continue to have uncomfortable discussions about diversity and inclusion, creating more champions and allies along the way.

I'm tired of being the only woman on an all male team. I'm tired of being the only female speaker at a conference. I'm tired of sitting in an audience for a manel. And I can't imagine how tired I would be if I was Black, LGBTQ+, Latinx, or another protected group!

Stop saying it is a pipeline problem and do your homework. Reach out to local groups, meetups, university programs, and other organizations. Allow for things like child care or ticket and travel sponsorship if you are running a conference or meetup. Have and enforce a code of conduct whenever there is a gathering of people, on or offline! Ping specific people and let them know you have an open CFP or a job req and you think the work they do is awesome. Uplift and amplify voices that don't look or sound like yours. It's worth it.

I hope we all continue to grow and pave a path forward for the coding newbies, both young and old! We need you, we want you, and you deserve to be here.

Top comments (1)

juanfrank77 profile image
Juan F Gonzalez

Loved the post, I reckon being the only one in a "manel" isn't the best experience but at the same time you're making an statement there and being a role model. As someone who is not from the US, I know how exclusion feels like, so you're doing a great job at speaking up and paving the way for others to follow. Cheers and keep it up :)