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Tech Bytes: spotlighting Black women engineers at Google

Earlier this year, Google’s Women Techmakers launched “Tech Bytes,” a series featuring Black women engineers and developers at Google. Tech Bytes supports our broader effort to spotlight Black women in tech by sharing their technical expertise, and creating a space for Black women in the industry to connect.For our latest episode of Tech Bytes, we…

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Earlier this year, Google’s Women Techmakers launched “Tech Bytes,” a series featuring Black women engineers and developers at Google. Tech Bytes supports our broader effort to spotlight Black women in tech by sharing their technical expertise, and creating a space for Black women in the industry to connect.

For our latest episode of Tech Bytes, we sat down with Kendra Claiborne, an Application Engineer at YouTube, to learn more about her role and passion for technology.

Tell us about your path to joining the tech industry. Where were you before?

My journey into tech started when I was eight years old, building websites for fun and searching online to learn how the computer works. My passion for programming led me to pursue a degree in Computer Science at the University at Buffalo. During my undergraduate years, I took an internship at a startup that specialized in building custom applications on the Salesforce platform. I was very unfamiliar with Salesforce when I first started, but I was excited to learn something new. Since that internship, I’ve built both frontend (user-facing) and backend solutions on the Salesforce platform for customers in many different industries. Those opportunities led me to the YouTube Content Partnerships Systems team in 2020.

Tell us about your role on that team. What do you do day to day?

I’m an Application Engineer, and I’ve carried my past experience into this role by focusing on building frontend and backend solutions on the Salesforce platform. Each day is slightly different from the next. My team applies the agile methodology for software development, which means we deliver feature requests or fix bugs incrementally instead of all at once. We participate in two-week “sprints” to get these done most efficiently. Leading up to a sprint, I am laser focused on mapping out the design for a feature request, which involves a lot of research and collaboration with the team and project lead. Once we’ve defined our approach and the tasks required to accomplish it, we focus on building out the features. I’ll spend the next 5-8 days coding, testing and submitting my code for peer review — after which, it will get deployed to our staging environments. A staging environment is like a testing ground, where we can make sure our code is working as intended before we push it live. At the end of the sprint, if our deliverables have been approved for Quality Assurance (QA) — meaning they have reliable performance and functionality — they’ll be released to production.

What was the most important class or training that you took? What was a key technical takeaway?

During my undergraduate studies, I took a Data Structures and Algorithms Design course. That class was instrumental in building my problem solving skills. It taught me how to more effectively organize, store, and solve problems based on inputs of data.

Tell us about your Tech Bytes episode. What message did you want to get across?

In my Tech Bytes episode, I discuss three different topics: communicating changes across separate systems through the Publisher-Subscriber Model; building modular, reusable code, which separates functionality into independent pieces of code; and the importance of Test Driven Development. I hope that viewers learn something new and get inspired to find out more about these subjects — and maybe even use them in a future project.

Check out Kendra’s Tech Bytes episode for more, and explore other interviews on our Tech Bytes YouTube channel. You can also learn more about our efforts to spotlight Black women in tech on the Google’s Women Techmakers website.

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Meet the entrepreneur connecting Kenyans to healthy food

When Binti Mwallau started Hasanat Ventures, her dairy processing company in Kenya, she expected some resistance from her peers in an industry dominated by men. But she was surprised to run into more skepticism from her customers. Despite her background in finance and biochemistry, many of them questioned her credibility as a woman entrepreneur.Worried that…

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When Binti Mwallau started Hasanat Ventures, her dairy processing company in Kenya, she expected some resistance from her peers in an industry dominated by men. But she was surprised to run into more skepticism from her customers. Despite her background in finance and biochemistry, many of them questioned her credibility as a woman entrepreneur.

Worried that her gender would affect Hasanat Ventures’ reputation, Binti considered hiring a man as the face of the business. But she eventually decided against it, standing firm in her pride as a solo founder and committed to tearing down the perception that women-run businesses in Africa aren’t as successful as those run by men.

“I think we should be challenging the outdated narrative that businesses run by men are guaranteed to be more successful,” Binti says. “Based on research, we’ve seen that businesses run by women actually perform better. We should use this as an opportunity to prove that as a woman, you do stand a chance to succeed in everything that you do.”

Just as important to Binti as breaking this bias was giving Kenyans more access to affordable nutrition. “I realized that many people couldn’t afford premium yogurt. So we entered the market with a high-quality product that’s affordable for lower and middle-income earners who have become more health-conscious,” she says.

Binti knew she had to drive awareness for her brand, particularly to reach Kenyans who needed convincing about yogurt’s health benefits. So she turned to Google Digital Skills for Africa, which offers virtual classes to help entrepreneurs grow their skills and businesses, and completed a digital marketing course to help her get Hasanat Ventures online.

“After participating in the course, we knew our online presence had to be bigger than just social media,” Binti says. “Now that we have a fully functional website, we are actually getting leads from outside Kenya.”

As part of the course, Binti learned how to use Google Analytics to measure her website’s performance. She could now monitor traffic insights, analyze pageviews and better understand who was visiting her site.

Binti’s determination and passion for her business are showing up in the results. In its first year, Hasanat Ventures supplied over 300 retailers with affordable dairy products. Three years later, it’s grown to support more than 50 farmers and even built its own production facility to keep up with demand.

“I really want to make sure that I am visible and speaking up in spaces women don’t usually have access to,” Binti says. “As Hasanat Ventures continues to grow, I am confident I can help change the perception of African women in business.”

58% of Africa’s entrepreneurs are women. That’s why we’re empowering them with the platform and tools to grow their businesses. Learn more about our #LookMeUp campaign, highlighting Africa’s women entrepreneurs like Binti who are working to break the bias.

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100 things we announced at I/O

35. The Google Home and Google Home Mobile software developer kit (SDK) for Matter will be launching in June as developer previews.36. The Google Home SDK introduces Intelligence Clusters, which make intelligence features like Home and Away, available to developers.37. Developers can even create QR codes for Google Wallet to create their own passes for…

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35. The Google Home and Google Home Mobile software developer kit (SDK) for Matter will be launching in June as developer previews.

36. The Google Home SDK introduces Intelligence Clusters, which make intelligence features like Home and Away, available to developers.

37. Developers can even create QR codes for Google Wallet to create their own passes for any use case they’d like.

38. Matter support is coming to the Nest Thermostat.

39. The Google Home Developer Center has lots of updates to check out.

40. There’s now built-in support for Matter on Android, so you can use Fast Pair to quickly connect Matter-enabled smart home devices to your network, Google Home and other accompanying apps in just a few taps.

41. The ARCore Geospatial API makes Google Maps’ Live View technology available to developers for free. Companies like Lime are using it to help people find parking spots for their scooters and save time.

42. DOCOMO and Curiosity are using the ARCore Geospatial API to build a new game that lets you fend off virtual dragons with robot companions in front of iconic Tokyo landmarks, like the Tokyo Tower.

43. AlloyDB is a new, fully-managed PostgreSQL-compatible database service designed to help developers manage enterprise database workloads — in our performance tests, it’s more than four times faster for transactional workloads and up to 100 times faster for analytical queries than standard PostgreSQL.

44. AlloyDB uses the same infrastructure building blocks that power large-scale products like YouTube, Search, Maps and Gmail.

45. Google Cloud’s machine learning cluster powered by Cloud TPU v4 Pods is super powerful — in fact, we believe it’s the world’s largest publicly available machine learning hub in terms of compute power…

46. …and it operates at 90% carbon-free energy.

47. We also announced a preview of Cloud Run jobs, which reduces the time developers spend running administrative tasks like database migration or batch data transformation.

48. We announced Flutter 3.0, which will enable developers to publish production-ready apps to six platforms at once, from one code base (Android, iOS, Desktop Web, Linux, Desktop Windows and MacOS).

49. To help developers build beautiful Wear apps, we announced the beta of Jetpack Compose for Wear OS.

50. We’re making it faster and easier for developers to build modern, high-quality apps with new Live edit features in Android Studio.

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New ways to stay connected and entertained in your car

With split screen mode, now standard across all screen types and sizes, you’ll have access to your most-used features all in one place — no need to return to your home screen or scroll through a list of apps. With your navigation and media always on, you won’t have to worry about missing your next…

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With split screen mode, now standard across all screen types and sizes, you’ll have access to your most-used features all in one place — no need to return to your home screen or scroll through a list of apps. With your navigation and media always on, you won’t have to worry about missing your next turn while changing your favorite commute podcast. And with the new design able to adapt to different screen sizes, it looks great across widescreen, portrait and more.

New features for Android Auto

Google Assistant is bringing contextual suggestions to help you be more productive in the car. From suggested replies, to messages, to sharing arrival times with a friend, or even playing recommended music, Google Assistant is helping you do more in the car efficiently.

In addition to using your voice, you can now quickly message and call favorite contacts with just one tap, and reply to messages by simply selecting a suggested response on the screen – helping you communicate effectively, while allowing you to keep your eyes on the road. Keep an eye out for these updates to Android Auto in the coming months

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