When I land in San Jose airport for API World, it is my first time in the city. I walk slowly through the airport, toting my bright orange suitcase and looking around me. Little interactive exhibits on physics and computing dot the waiting areas around the terminals. The walls are covered with yellow flowcharts on clear glass drawing boards — ads for Amazon Web Services. Over the escalator leading outside, another ad shows a video of three engineers sketching out an application using AWS. Inside the apartment where I’m staying, the lights and heating are motion activated.
The next day at the convention center (also surrounded by signs advertising tech products), the center’s visitor map is just a QR code which lets the user view the map on their phone.
Ok, one thing is clear — this is a city obsessed with technology.
I was lucky enough to receive a scholarship from Women Who Code to attend API World in San Jose, and my employer, Murphy Research, also helped me get to the conference by covering my transportation costs. This was an opportunity for me to meet developers and learn about API’s, all in a city that is a hub of the tech industry. As someone who is relatively new to software engineering, I felt pretty excited about attending.
Looking over the schedule on the first day, I could see that the conference covered a wide range of topics. Healthcare. Financial technology. Enterprise applications. The internet of things. Virtual Reality. There was even a talk called “Building the Robot Apocalypse.”
I decided to keep to what was most useful in my day-to-day roles at my work, and I focused on talks related to data science and consumer activities — as well as activities for beginners. On the first day, I attended Scavenger Hunts for API Newbies by Ashley Roach, which inspired me to consider how something complicated could be broken down into simple tasks for coding beginners. I also attended talks on building services through integrating existing API’s, on serverless infrastructure, on monitoring web services, on IOT applications, and on chatbots. There was a keynote talk on VR and AR applications — applications such as practical training for doctors using AR, flight simulation in VR, and pain management through immersive experiences. After that, I found the talk on predictive analytics by Falconry particularly interesting, because they created automated analytics within a specific domain to create reports and warning systems without the need for a human being monitoring the workflow.
After the first day of talks, there was a block party for vendor exhibitions and networking. I met people established in their careers, and people just starting out in college or bootcamps. Everyone I talked to was very kind, and encouraging if I told them I was there through Women Who Code.
On the second day, it was all about data. The first talk I listened to was on eBay shipping platforms, and on the need for providing information to users. I also attended a talk called Maximizing the Value of Data with API’s, which talked to the need for greater depth in data, as opposed to data shielded from the user by summarization. I attended a few more talks on financial technology and IOT, and then it was time for the closing ceremonies.
Overall, going to API World was a great experience for a beginning developer like me. It was intimidating at first, but I’m glad I went. It was a good opportunity to grow as a developer, and hope I’ll be able to share some of what I learned with my local WWCode chapter.