Women in STEM: Microsoft employee Bailey Bercik on what it means to work in tech


– Instead of it being stored like that. So what’s left and what
do we still need to do? Once those are done we’ll
be able to start building. I’m feeling good. I feel like we’ll be able
to pull something together. My grandma was actually one of the first female electrical engineers
in the United States, so, I thought that working in tech was something that a
bunch of grandmas did. But when I went through that process, I realized that that wasn’t actually the gender dynamic that
was there in the classroom or at the companies I
was looking to work at. Growing up, I was always encouraged to pursue activities in STEM. I was a camp counselor at Camp Invention, I was on a FIRST Robotics team, and then in college I also did a few Major League Hacking events that were helpful with, kind of, exercising that bravery muscle and
exercising that muscle of failing fast and learning often. I knew I wanted to be working somewhere where I felt comfortable and where I felt like they
had my best interest at heart, so it was really nice to be a part of a community at Microsoft, and to really find that
through Girls Who Code and serving as a mentor there, and now being an Intro to
Computer Science teacher at Warden High School. Getting to be at a
professional hackathon now, that’s a totally different transition. If you want, we can start
looking at ways to mock up. So this hackathon was the first time that I was serving as, I
guess, in a manager role for people who were more senior than me. So I got to decide the
scope of the project and help out guiding
on what we’re actually gonna get done on time and
what we’re gonna create. So coming up with those decisions was something I was really excited to do, and organize and rally our team behind. Hackathons are generally a lot
of sitting down and coding, coming up with ideas,
and seeing what works. You always have to pivot, you always have to be ready to move in a different direction, because you never know
where it’s gonna go. – We just check in every once in a while, see where things are at from a planning. I served as an honorary
member of Bailey’s team at the hackathon, and I got to help them with everything from how to craft a demo
and make a cool video to actually deciding the
scope of the project. – Maybe we could have three of the same– – Bailey was a really impressive
hackathon team leader. She wrangled a lot of different
professional developers with a wide range of skills. Getting all of those people
to run in the same direction is a problem that even huge organizations can have challenges with. – Wait, so are you joining
our hackathon team, then? – What was really unique
about the hackathon is that you don’t have to do your day job. There were designers that were coding, and software developers
that were designing, so it was really fun to all be a part of a collaborative community where we’re all practicing
and seeing what we can build. So one of them is a weather
app as we talked about– – At the beginning of the hackathon, Bailey and her team pitched me their idea which was initially to build a notes app on the blockchain. Within the first couple
of hours they had pivoted, expanded the concept, and started encountering
some technical limitations. – So for now we’re focusing on… Ultimately we decided on converging on this rental car scenario of a verifiable claim where I
could store a driver’s license in my digital wallet and be able to rent a car online without having to go through the hassle of the check-in table. – Went from the idea of that flow to now we have two working websites. – Being at the hackathon was so helpful because we were able to test our approach and pivot quickly and learn more about what we
actually wanted to create. We’re now looking into
launching this project through the Microsoft Garage. We’re really excited that
they’re gonna partner with us and actually coach us along the way to bring this project to the next level. I feel like the goal with any hackathon is just to show up. I think that just walking in the door and saying that I had this idea and I’m gonna work on it
and see what we can create is just the overarching meaning
of going to a hackathon. Day three, it’s Wednesday,
we have to get the video done by today. – Hackathons are a magical bubble where people get to leave
their day to day lives, enter this risk-free environment, and work on things that
they may have never imagined they would be capable of. – One, two, three. – [Team] Go team! – Satya came by our booth,
which was really exciting, and we actually got the demo to work moments before he came by. So that was a little tense
getting everything ready, but I’m so proud of our team that we were able to pull through and get that together for him, and give him an awesome demo. – Good stuff. – Thanks very much.
– It’s exciting stuff. – Good to see you.
– Good seeing you guys. – [Bailey] I think that
even the most failed hacks, that’s where you learn the most. And so I think that it’s
a really healthy way to experiment in a way where you’re not getting a grade at the end, or it’s not tied to your
performance at work. – You get to gather all of
this collective knowledge from hundreds of your peers
that want you to succeed, and everyone comes out the other end having learned something new
and stretched themselves, and hopefully made a few
friends along the way. – One, two, three. – [All] Hack! – [Bailey] Someday I hope the
perception I had as a kid, that the tech industry
was filled with grandmas, can come to fruition, because we need more
women and girls in tech. I feel like just being 23 and being able to lead
a team at the hackathon was really exciting because it’s a really rare opportunity where you get to do that, and I’m really grateful that Microsoft has those opportunities in place.

10 Replies to “Women in STEM: Microsoft employee Bailey Bercik on what it means to work in tech”

  1. stop trying to promote women like they are 👽 aliens. women always had strong present in technology and keep been more and more…videos like those just make them look weak and like "hey look there is a woman able to do smart things also like men where doing for decades"…. yeah… we know that… placing a spotlight overthem and this over forced diversity in today's world is just lame marketing and so embarrassing for them. ask any non fanatic Feminism women. will tell you the same.

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