So the journey of my degree finally feels like it ends, I presented a rough guide to my dissertation at the Gist Magazine last night. It went really well despite the heat, and apart from the occasional slip into brain-dump mode and one swear word I think I'm fairly good at speaking. I tried to stick a little humour in there and made sure I looked at everyone in the room at one point or the other. My reasons for the talk are threefold really; people did ask for it when I was talking about my project at earlier events, a lot of the Gist regulars also were the ones that got begged to fill out my questionnaire and so I wanted to give the results back to them and also that I'm really very proud of it and the mark I got for it.

Not only did it feel like the end point of my degree, it also felt like the start point of my career. I still don't have a job although I have some interviews lined up. What I mean though is that this is the first time I've felt like I can really contribute to the community. Going to Overlap the night before did wonders for my confidence as well and really helped. I'm not perhaps the most technical person, coding is something I enjoy and am good at, but the things that really get me going is the creativity of development, the feeling of craft and sculpture of a project. My dissertation was an investigation rather than an application and I found it not only incredibly fun but incredibly interesting. I'm yet to really find my field of expertise but I know now that I do have ideas and philosophies that are of interest to other people and I hope that it is those things that guide me on my way.

The post-talk discussion was amazing, I was fearing it was going to be very directed and critical of me but instead I really stepped out of it and everyone had a conversation around me. Although my talk was about women in software engineering I didn't want gender to be too much of a focus, no-one likes getting preached and I think that came across really well as most of the discussion was about getting kids in general into programming. It is difficult for us perhaps to understand exactly how different kids today are from us as kids, but the general idea that gaming is the best entry point is one I fully support and is backed up by a fair bit of evidence. A point was raised about using mobile phone development for the same purpose and I also think that is a good idea, however I did point out that mobile dev has a much higher entry level. I think as javascript becomes easier that web development will be the best entry point as you don't have to mess about with SDKs too much and just really need a text editor.

The feedback I got was very positive, I had a wonderful chat with someone from the university about my project and Hallam's projects in general, he said he would take some of my suggestions and pass them on. I have stuff to work on, I shouldn't really swear and I should try and slow down. I will definitely present at a Gist event again, once I find something else suitable.