I don't know if I've ever been more terrified. I need to do that again. I need to get better at it. I need to talk slower.
Completely on impulse, and because there was a lull, I stood up and said, "Hi, I'm Elf Sternberg, and I got laid off a month ago. That's important to what I'm about to show you." I showed them FridgeMagnets, and went into the details of its construction: Coffeescript, Cake, Haml, Less, the separation of axes theorem, as well as I why I wanted to learn it: the animation, unicode, and audio APIs. And then I said, "As straightforward a toy as this is, it's _important. _I was sending out resumes every day for three weeks without getting a return call. Then, on the advice of a friend, I put the address for this toy, and a few like it, and my GitHub with the source code for it, on my resume, and re-sent it. The next day I got 18 phone calls. That weekend I had three offers. Next Monday I start my new job." That got applause. "So let me encourage you, please, since Ryan showed us how many people here are looking for work, get a GitHub account, get a StackOverflow account, get your own blog on Wordpress or Tumblr or Livejournal, and let people know what you're passionate about. It doesn't have to be big. This is a toy. But it shows people what I do, and how I do it." That got more applause. "Thank you."
I have never been more terrified in my life. I talked too fast, and I could have pissed myself up there. What the hell was I thinking, shooting off like that in front of a hundred people? I should do it again.
After the other two presentations-- one of which, I helped the presenter figure out how to determine his own IP address, since local DNS wasn't resolving correctly-- I had recruiters coming up to me and asking me to explain to them how this GitHub thing worked. They knew, in an abstract sense, that open source meant that some programs were available in some arcane "raw" source, freely available, somewhere on the Internet, but they were only now hearing about GitHub and StackOverflow. I explained it as best I could, and some of them nodded and others just looked puzzled.
So let me re-iterate: if you want a job as a programmer, get yourself a GitHub and a StackOverflow account. Especially if you're a woman. The head of hiring at Etsy said that whiteboarding, the common practice in interviews of making you write code on a whiteboard to prove you're "smart... and quick!" is stupid. Women are generally more deliberate and careful than men, less likely to shoot from the hip, more likely to be complete and correct. Very few jobs in programming require the "quick" part. Not in the sense of knowing the answer up front and immediately. A GitHub or StackOverflow account shows what you're capable of, and the interview should be about personality and cultural fit, and it's a much better, and gender-neutral proving ground, than the hyper-aggressive "Skate... or Die!" of whiteboarding.