Neo4j <3 Pink Programming

As many of you know, I'm in the board of the awesome organization Pink Programming, which is working for a more gender equal IT industry. During the past 3 years we've been coding with over 2000 women at Sunday meetups, courses and summer camps in Sweden and Norway. The past weekend it was time for another Pink Programming Sunday in Malmö and this time my employer Neo4j hosted. So nice to have my 2 programming worlds meet like that and well worth to spend a Sunday at work for!


The day started at 9 AM for me and my colleague Maria. We spend some time on coffee brewing, moving chairs and struggling with the presentation system in our office kitchen. I cannot understand why that kind of technique always should be a hassle... After an hour of preparations, the participants started to arrive. We had about 40 attendants including 6-7 volunteers from Pink Programming. After some initial information from me and Pink's project manager Alexandra, the group splitted up. The participants could choose between a UX workshop by Caroline from Pink in the kitchen, Maria's Neo4j fundamentals workshop in our biggest conference room or free coding in the rest of the office.


In the Neo4j Fundamentals workshop, Maria talked about how to model and think in graphs, the property graph model and the benefits of graph databases over relational ones. The participants also learned the basics of our query language Cypher. After the presentation, it was time for some hands-on Cypher tutorials based on our Movies example database. The workshop was highly appreciated and the only complaint was that it was too short. Therefore, 12 out of 14 participants continued to work on the tutorials with me on the afternoon while five, six new people attended the workshop. The concentration in the room was almost touchable and the silence was only broken by question, some so tricky that I after 8 months as a Cypher developer couldn't answer.


Directly after lunch it was time for my inspirational talk. Since I presumably hold the record for number of times as an inspirational speaker at a Pink event (I THINK it was the 4th time, previously I've at least done it June 2016, May 2017 & January 2018), I had to come up with a new topic for the occasion. This time I talked about what I've been fighting with the past 2 months, i.e. all the weird corner cases when implementing support for dates, times and time zones. Regular beliefs about the number of hours of a day, seconds of a minute and number and precision of time zones were discarded and the audience got a few laughters and hopefully some advice on how to think about political connected coding problems.

The event ended at 4 PM and half an hour later me, Maria and the Pink volunteers headed home. Tired, but happy after a successful event that for me personally felt like a double win. On one hand I got the opportunity to organize another Pink Programming event for women to meet and code together and the money which Neo4j is sponsoring Pink with helps us in our journey of increasing the number of female developers. On the other hand the event also provided me with an opportunity to spread the word about the awesomeness of graph databases, Cypher and Neo4j as an employer. I hope for a continued collaboration and hopefully some more female colleagues in the Neo4j engineering team in the future.

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