ReactJS Girls Goes Virtual

ReactJS Girls is built by and for the community, engaging software engineers and designers in meaningful talks and discussions where women take the stage. At the beginning of 2020, the ReactJS Girls community encompassed more than 1200 members, 2 locations and 19 editions. Come 2021 the landscape has changed and so the community has adapted with the 14th of January being their first-ever virtual meetup, in order to comply with the current epidemiological situation.

Organised by YLD and hosted by Luis Klefsjo, this year’s meetup was joined by more than 130 participants from all over the world — Turkey, Portugal, Egypt, USA, Lebanon, Ecuador, to name a few. This virtual stage provided a unique chance for the community to meet online for three insightful talks given by Anisha Malde, Daniela Matos de Carvalho and Sophie Koonin. It was a great pleasure to see that this event joined 40% more people than a meetup in person would usually have. Difficult times bring new challenges yet new opportunities too and so there couldn’t be a better to kick off the new year!

The Story

The ReactJS Girls community was created back in 2017 by YLD. Its main aim was to provide a stage and a platform for women engineers eager to learn, share and exchange their experiences. The idea was to create a dedicated space focused on women developers and for it to act as a springboard — a jumping-off place to provide new opportunities and contacts for women to progress in their tech career. It is worth noting that, although only women take the stage, attendees of any and all genders are welcome to attend the events and engage in the talks and discussions.

Meetup in Review

1 — ‘0 to production in 60 Days’ with Anisha Malde, Senior Engineer at IBM

The first speaker was Anisha with a conversation on her debut as a tech lead. A great ask for her team was to develop and put into production a platform for students at UAL (University of the Arts London) where they could upload their work in various formats (for instance photo, audio and video) to be able to showcase it as they were unable to as they usually would due to Covid-19. The platform needed to be mobile friendly and easy to access worldwide. For this reason, it was built in React.js frontend with the use of a backend platform called Strapi that allowed them to make quick and easy adaptations — such as creating custom slugs — along the path to production. Another interesting application covered by Anisha was Storybook; an app that allows you to see all of your components and play around with them. Watch the Livestream recording here (8.22) to get to know more on Anisha’s project.

2 — ‘Unboxing Cryptography’ with Daniela Matos de Carvalho, Software Engineer at Dashlane

The next speaker was Daniela to introduce a vast topic of cryptography — a method and study of techniques to protect information and secure communication. The idea of cryptography is to turn a public message (plaintext) into encrypted text (also called cipher text), having also a reversed process named decryption. Daniela led the talk on some common naming mistakes such as obfuscating, encoding, hashing, encrypting and signing with a further development on the notions of asymmetric and symmetric cryptography. The question Daniela posed which, as an audience, we too began to consider was: ‘Why are we not using the most recent crypto algorithms everywhere?’ Follow this link (22.08) to watch her talk or have a look at her presentation here.

3 — ‘Web Accessibility: Fact or Fiction’ with Sophie Koonin, Senior Web Engineer at Monzo

Last but not least, Sophie gave a talk on web accessibility helping to demystify some of the common misconceptions on the topic. She brought forward an idea first stated in a blog post on Microsoft Inclusive Design: “When it comes to people, there’s no such thing as ‘normal’. The interactions we design with technology depend heavily on what we can see, hear, say, and touch. Assuming all those senses and abilities are fully enabled all the time creates the potential to ignore much of the range of humanity.” The main focus of this conversation was to show how important it is to put accessibility first in the hope that at some point in the future it will stop being something that we need to discuss and fix — and will instead be considered from the outset. Watch the Livestream recording here (44.11) or take a look at the slideshow here.

The closing part of the agenda was a Q&A session with all of our three speakers. Some of the most interesting questions were put on the table so make sure to watch or rewatch the Livestream recording here.

New things are coming on the way so don’t forget to follow YLD on Twitter and Linkedin to keep up with the news and also to subscribe to ReactJS Girls’ Twitter and Meetup as well to receive news first-hand!

See you soon!

ReactJS Girls Goes Virtual was originally published in YLD Blog on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

Written by YLDJanuary 21st, 2021

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