Awards, events and cool people doing interesting things: Reflecting on the good from 2016 - Technical.ly DC

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Dec. 29, 2016 12:20 pm

Awards, events and cool people doing interesting things: Reflecting on the good from 2016

DC Tech Meetup's Jessica Bell takes us through her year in review, and shares what she's looking forward to in 2017.

At a DC Tech Meetup.

(Photo by Tajha Chappellet-Lanier)

This is a guest post by DC Tech Meetup organizer Jessica Bell.

This list was compiled by me based on my experiences in #dctech over 2016.  As the recent Technical.ly Stakeholders Meeting showed us, #dctech operates in an often siloed way. I am always interested in ways to open up my silo — tweet me @SirJessTheBrave for groups, events and people to follow.  I’m around to speak, attend and help promote your event or group or work to the groups I help to organize: DC Tech Meetup, DCFemTech, and Women Who Code DC!


Hey there #dctech,

2016 — What a year.

If you are anything like me, 2016 has left you exhausted, angry and scared. Bring it in, let’s hug this out. It is easy in the midst of the last few months to forget all the awesome stuff that happened in D.C.’s tech circles this year, so let’s stave off 2017 for just a moment, and reflect on the good from 2016.

First off, according to my Google calendar invites, on Jan. 11  I met Tajha for the first time! #fangirling. But wait, there’s so much more:

Events

D.C. knows how to throw an event, and local #dctech has capitalized on that fact hosting hackathons, summits, conferences, panels and more.  Here are some of the standouts from my 2016 calendar:

This list is only about half of the events I wanted to put on here! D.C. is drowning in events. So find your people and find your cause  — there is a place for you in #dctech.

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Awards

No one ever said we were humble! I would love to get a comparison of the winners, and a few other data points — Twitter activity or media coverage — Kate Rabinowitz I’m lookin’ at you!

Government

From 18F to the U.S. Digital Service, open data innovation to a celebration like South by South Lawn — President Barack Obama’s government has been all about tech. Anyone else nervous about what will happen in govtech in 2017? Regardless of what happens at the federal level, though, it seems like Mayor Muriel Bowser and new D.C. CTO Archana Vemulapalli are committed to local open data for the city.

Here are some of the cool govtech things, both federal and local, that happened in 2016:

People I’m Watching in 2017

These people are my continuous inspiration and #dctech pulse — if you need more, I have a Twitter list of 173 and Alex Ulsh has even more.

Looking forward, I am really excited to see what tech comes out of the Luma Lab incubator and tech space focused on “inclusion, innovation and incubation.” Aaron Saunders has been pouring sweat, tears and innovation into the space in collaboration with the D.C. Mayor’s office. Positioned on the Howard University campus, In3 will provide much-needed support to Black techies in the DMV area who are often overlooked in #dctech and VC funding.

Kate Rabinowitz of DataLensDC is a woman to watch in 2017!  Her in-depth look at gender breakdown of groups in #dctech, prompted the creation of wespeaktoo.org to help promote women speakers — reach out to these amazing tech leaders for your next event! Rabinowitz recently announced she is moving to do DataLensDC full time, and I am awaiting the data she compiles eagerly.

I also have my eye on two new meetup groups, Black Code Collective and Pride+Tech, serving Black techies and the LGBTQ+ community.  D.C. has seen major work with women in tech over the last few years with DCFemTech, Women Who Code, DC Web Women, WIT, and Lesbians Who Tech to name just a few. With the new federal administration, we in #dctech need to band together and put our collective power, innovation and activism behind those who are not receiving support and recognition in tech.

Looking back at the events, award winners and people who were killing it in 2016, all the passion, activism and progress gives me hope for 2017.  Let’s make sure we get it right.

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Jessica Bell

Jessica Bell is a self taught web developer in the Washington, D.C. area with a background in international relations. She serves on the leadership teams for DC Tech Meetup and DCFemTech. Bell loves cats, gardens, JavaScript and gifs. You can find her coding at a cafe, traveling the world or drinking an old fashioned and talking politics.

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