How the tech sector could move in One Direction to get more women in computing

January 27, 2017 at 7:00 am 1 comment

Thanks to Greg Wilson for sending this to me.  It takes a while to get to the point about computing education, but it’s worthwhile. The notion is related to my post earlier in the month about engagement and motivation.

I’d been socialised out of using computers at high school, because there weren’t any girls in the computer classes, and it wasn’t cool, and I just wanted to fit in.  I wound up becoming a lawyer, and spending the better part of twenty years masquerading as someone who wasn’t part of the “tech” industry, even though basically all of my time was spent online.

And I can’t begin to tell you how common it is. So what if your first experience of “code” is cutting and pasting something to bring back replies because Tumblr took them away and broke your experience of the site.

Is that any more or less valid than any dev cutting and pasting from Stack Exchange all day long?What if your first online experiences were places like Myspace and Geocities. Or if you started working with WordPress and then eventually moved into more complex themes and then eventually into plugin development? Is that more or less valid than the standard “hacker archetype”? Aurynn gave a great talk recently about the language we use to describe roles in tech. How “wizards” became “rockstars” and “ninjas”.  But also, and crucially, how we make people who haven’t followed a traditional path feel excluded.  Because they haven’t learnt the “right” programming language, or they haven’t been programming since they were four, or because, god forbid, they use the wrong text editor.

Source: How the tech sector could move in One Direction — Sacha Judd

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1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. Doug Blank  |  January 27, 2017 at 8:18 am

    Great article! If you read anything this weekend, actually read Judd. And then think about what to do next. One idea: identify some of your alumnae who did NOT graduate in Computer Science, but who ended up in a tech-related industry. Invite them to a lunch, and ask them: what could we have done differently to keep you in CS?

    (On a related note, I am a Swifty and occasionally work that into an assignment or a live coding demo. Doesn’t help make connections in all demographics, but with some. See also: Beliebers, Bey Hive, Barbz, and lots more.)


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