I recently had the opportunity to attend php[tek] 2014 in Chicago. As Tagged is a site primarily powered by PHP, it was a good opportunity to learn about upcoming features in unreleased versions of PHP, some of the newer features that are underutilized and not as well known, and just how far the language of PHP has evolved since it was released many many years ago.
Category : Events
As an engineer, learning about everything that goes into designing a product is a fascinating lesson for me. In the Interface Design Bootcamp at Smashing Conference, Aarron Walter walked through the steps he takes to go from idea to production.
His analogy to describe the process was the game of golf: start with strong, broad strokes, then use smaller strokes to get to the final point. The five steps he outlined, in increasing levels of granularity, were 1) research, 2) flow, 3) interaction, 4) personality and 5) aesthetics.
Tagged recently hosted an “Introduction to Android Workshop” by CodePath. CodePath empowers software developers to learn mobile development through workshops and bootcamps. I had a great time at the workshop and built two Android apps by the end of the day!
For those interested in Android development, I recommend this useful resource from CodePath: Android Cliffnotes, an open source wiki. The instructors of the workshops used the Developing our First App Using Android Studio and RottenTomatoes Networking Tutorial guides to teach us about the structure of Android apps, how to layout views, how to to communicate between activities, how to display toasts and more. It was cool to hear a variety of perspectives and tips from both new and seasoned Android developers in the workshop, many of whom are recent alumni of CodePath’s Android Bootcamp.
The highlight of the workshop was a presentation by Tagged team member Jeffrey Rogiers, engineering manager for our Android team. He discussed Tagged’s efforts in growing its Android team, what it was like developing Tagged’s satellite apps Sidewalk and Swoon (experiments in Android development to help muscle the team), and also explained the current overhaul of the Tagged app. Jeffrey reviewed the new structure of the app, emphasizing its modular architecture through the use of separate feature components, and the use of continuous integration to maintain code quality through lint, unit tests and automated acceptance tests. He also debuted the new app design, which follows Android Design Principles. Everyone in the workshop enjoyed hearing how the Android team functions at Tagged.
The CodePath workshop was a great experience, and it was fun to meet other developers interested in getting into mobile development. Thanks to everyone who made it a success!
Tagged promotes diversity both at our company and also in the broader tech industry. We’re always looking to partner with groups that share this goal, so last week we were proud to welcome Women Who Code to our HQ.
A small group of women joined us for a mobile study group, which was part of a three-session sprint for Android development bootcamp. This is a relatively fast-paced course that touches on several essential parts of Android development.
By the end of the class, attendees knew how to finish writing a simple To-Do-List application, so they were able to learn how to modify layout files to update application UI, implement a ListView widget with an ArrayAdapter and add keyboard listeners in an Activity for EditText objects. As a bonus, the instructor demonstrated how to add one additional line of code to show a toast message in-app!
The hands-on, step-by-step approach of the class made each piece of code much easier to understand. I’m sure by the time we were done, many attendees were already thinking of ways to make the application look fresher and run smoother. In the next session they’ll be learning to use content providers, local cache/database and intent services to make the To-Do-List application even better. Way to go ladies!
Ilona Sheynkman contributed to this post.
Tagged recently hosted a Women in Data Science meetup featuring several lightning tech talks and a panel discussion. As a data scientist on the relevance team at Tagged, I had the pleasure of speaking on the panel with other influential women in this field.
I joined Vivienne Ming, Chief Data Scientist at Gild, and Debora Donato, Principal Data Scientist at StumbleUpon, on the panel. First, we talked about the qualifications of a data scientist. While data scientists are expected to possess certain technical skills (coding competence in Python/R, proficiency with SQL, familiarity with machine learning algorithms and basic statistics), often more important are general problem-solving skills, persistent intellectual curiosity and the ability and eagerness to learn new things. Furthermore, as data scientists often work closely with product and engineering teams, we need to be able to explain our work to several different audiences, and as such great communication skills are a must.
The second part of the discussion focused on how women can help shape data science. One challenge is getting more women into the field, which is closely related to encouraging women to pursue careers in tech in general. In my opinion, the industry needs to partner with universities and perhaps even secondary schools to help fix the so-called “leaky pipeline,” where the STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) fields lose more females than males at every rung of the educational ladder.
Another topic of discussion was what women currently in data science can do to help shape the general public’s image of data scientists. We should be present and vocal, attend meetups, write blog posts and do whatever else we can to share our knowledge and experiences.
The evening concluded with some questions from the audience. One man asked what he can do to create a welcoming and conducive environment for females as a male on a data science team. Vivienne gave a great answer: the predisposition to treat the minority differently in any environment can be subconscious, so one should engage in careful introspection to watch out for such inclinations.
It is always wonderful to get together with other women in tech and particularly in data science. As someone who has spent so much time in male-dominated fields, I have gotten so used to having almost exclusively male colleagues that I rarely think about the causes and consequences of the lack of women in my space. This meetup pushed me to think about and discuss these issues for the first time in many years.