Video: Daring to be different in a world that expects you to fit in

Janine Luk 27 Apr 2021

Looking back at the highlights of this year's codebar festival

It’s been just over a month since codebar festival took place. The three-day virtual conference was jam-packed with talks, panels, workshops, as well as a series of interactive, social components. As stated on the codelog: “codebar Festival is a new, three-day, 100% virtual event where each day will have a different focus; coding, career, and well-being.”

The organization behind this event is codebar, a charity that facilitates the growth of a diverse community by regularly hosting free programming workshops for minority groups in tech.

As a new event, why was codebar festival organized in the first place? According to its organizers, “We want to help more of our community members get their first developer job, but also progress in the tech industry. So what better way to achieve this than by running events focused on how to structure your CV, practice interviews, practice tech tests, panels, and more.”

A few noteworthy talks at the event

  1. Arti Mathanda - Getting Started With Storybook for React

Storybook is a JavaScript tool/framework that makes it possible to build, organize and document UI systems. This workshop showed participants how to get started with it.

2. Beatrice Opara - Tech & Social Impact: The Power of Volunteering

Opara's talk explored how developers at all levels can harness the power of volunteering to develop their careers.

3. Panel: How To Land Your First Developer Job

This panel was led by five developers who are newcomers to the tech industry. In the session, the panelists discussed how they came to land their first developer job.

Avast’s role at codebar

As Avast was a sponsor of the event, it was important to me to contribute to the festival program and lead my own talk at codebar.

Janine Luk presenting at codebar festival

Titled “Dare to be different in a world that expects you to fit in”, the talk explored why we should embrace difference and how you can step out of your comfort zones to discover the best version of yourself. Through my talk, I aimed to raise the importance of giving back to the tech community and helping others.

I used a portion of the session to present my own professional journey transitioning from working in luxury marketing to software engineering. More specifically, I described the difficulties I faced during my journey and how I dealt (and continue to deal) with them. Key points included:

  • Defining your “why”
  • Analyzing your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (SWOT)
  • Reviewing regularly
  • Establishing your networks

Kimberley Cook, codebar’s founder and the festival organizer, has praised Avast’s role in this year’s event. “I want to start by saying a huge thank you for coming on board as a sponsor, and thank you Janine for your contribution during the Sponsor Hour and your talk. We had over 650 people attend throughout the 3 days, and we’ve received so much positive feedback that we’re already thinking and planning for next year,” said Cook.

“Because of your sponsorship, we are able to pay every single session host, panelist, even CV reviewer, for their again, a huge huge thank you for coming on board as a sponsor.”

Read more about codebar festival on Medium, where the codebar team has put together an in-depth recap of this year’s event.

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