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WITcon 2020


by Chloe Gunn

Yesterday I attended WITcon, a one-day student-led tech conference that brings students and industry together to discuss social and technical topics relating to STEM (Science, Tech, Engineering, Maths). Safe to say I was excited and ready to hear from inspiring wāhine and gender diverse people in STEM.





First up was the keynote, Denise Carter-Bennet who presented ‘Neurodiversity in Tech’. This eye-opening and incredibly articulate talk demonstrated how neurodiverse people are an absolute asset in the tech industry. It is these people on who are our experts, we need both neurotypical and neurodiverse in all industries as it is diverse minds that lead to innovation.


Siva S. Yuvaraj, Pooja Kokatnur, and Gemma Cullen co-presented ‘IT Beyond Coding’. All individually illustrating the importance of soft skills in IT. It is not all about code; having empathy, big picture thinking and reliance can mean more than strict qualifications and experience. Having a Psychology Degree and Masters, this felt incredibly prominent to me now being in the tech industry, it really does come down to those ‘soft skills’ .



The last talk I’ll touch on is Valerie Chan. Valerie presented ‘Missing Māori Land Data Records’. Valerie shares her research about the difficulties she faced while uncovering missing data and trying to return land to its rightful owners and iwi. It was an incredibly admirable and inspiring talk.











Overall, it was a fantastic day and I even came away with a prize for my tweets in part of a competition to get WITcon trending on Twitter. Very happy with my t-shirt, even if my coding ability is very limited HTML. Lucky for Catalyst, I’ll be sticking to comms.