75% of female tech workers feel like they do not belong in their field. I am part of that percentage. It breaks my heart that many women walk away from these technical fields because of not feeling welcomed in their environment. Fortunately, I found this Facebook chat in which I felt at home. The Messenger consists of over 70 girls in CS, and we always update each other with professional events, scholarships, and other opportunities to get involved that make me love my major as I come to know that I am not alone in this fight. However, I saw some issues with the technical dynamics of the chat. It becomes very annoying to scroll up several weeks worth of messages just to find the link of that scholarship my friend sent. Then I realize that I have spent over 15 minutes looking for this link. Or sometimes I miss a deadline just because I had not saved this resource somewhere safe. Techqt solves this problem.
What it does
Techqt is a semi-professional social network for college girls that implements an intelligent chat that recognizes professional links and automatically adds it to the feed of all of the members of the chat. The resources can be organized by location, popularity, most recent, and within their own category. This is a capability that no other chat has, and it makes me really proud to be revolutionizing the way chats are interacting with the user. You are also able to post your own professional resources and let your girl friends know what your professional activity is like at the moment. And by professional resources I mean job/internship opportunities, scholarships, workshops, hackathons, and talks. Techqt essentially establishes a nurturing sharing community of college girls.
How I built it
I used firebase to store the user's data, post's data, chat's messages, user's followers, and who the user is following. I then use jsqmessageviewcontroller framework to implement UI of the chat. I also used eventbrite's API and facebook's graph api to make the chat intelligent and recognize Facebook and Eventbrite events.
Challenges I ran into
Many! I would say the biggest one that I'd like to note is making a request to Facebook's Graph API. The documentation is very bad. It was very difficult to figure out that before making a request, you have to modify the entire Facebook login so that you get an authentication token specific to each user. I also have to submit my app to Facebook for review as I am getting authentication tokens from users. I also ran into a lot of problems with constraints.
Accomplishments that I'm proud of
I am very proud of making an intelligent chat that prevents you from manually adding events to your feed that are already out in reliable apps such as Eventbrite and Facebook. Techqt does it for you. As I said before, this is a capability that no other chat has, and it makes me really proud to be revolutionizing the way chats are interacting with the user. But most of all, I am very proud to be part of this movement. Techqt is a semi-professional social network for college girls that are looking for a community that not only makes them feel like they belong but also helps them in the professional aspect. It helps to get involved with the infinite window of opportunities for our tech majors. The idea behind Techqt was to establish a nurturing community for college tech girls to be aware of the many opportunities they can use to maximize their potential. Sometimes the only reason why you don't feel happy in your major is due to lack of awareness of how you can get involved and make a change. I consider this very important to encouraging college girls staying in their majors.
What I learned
I now have a comprehensive understanding of firebase, user defaults, chat systems, requesting information from APIs, and turning on push notifications.
What's next for Techqt
If my app ends up having a big audience, I plan to implement monetary incentives. How this would work is that once the user knows which girls are near, they plan to meet up at a restaurant or bar that is registered with us and has exclusive offers that only my app can distribute through QR codes. I would establish a whole team that would focus on contacting restaurants that would like to be part of this with our promise that we would raise their sales with our users. After contacting restaurants in places that have a big audience, we would make charts that show the rise of sales for each restaurant that is registered with us. This would actually take the level of interconnectivity of the users of my app to the next level.