So I woke up today with my face and half a question mark on the front page of the leading newspaper on computer science. You would think that would excite me, and in one way you are right- but on the other side … well, read on.
Just in time for my talk at the mini conference nForum tomorrow, where I will be talking about stereotypes, newbies (like me) and the lack of women in computer science. Lucky for me I just got new material from the comments on the article. It’s barely 8 am and the war is on. The comments are, as always when anonymous rather nasty – and proves why it is even more so important that we do have a discussion about our attitudes in regards to newbies and women in computer science.
I would like to answer some of the question there, but without hiding. I can stand up for my answers and my opinions. I don’t want to tell the people that commented just to f-of, I still stand for my opinions that ALL QUESTIONS are WELCOME, even those that hurt. And yes, those hurt a lot – but it would pain me even more if I wasn’t able to answer them. Let’s cut the emotions and look at the facts – after all,- we are programmers aren’t we? If you don’t mind I had to remake some of the comments into decent questions so I can actually give an answer. Hope this helps, if not : contact me on Twitter, facebook, LinkedIn, email me or call me (it is very easy to get a hold of me) and let’s have a coffee and I’ll answer all your questions. I’ll gladly bring my computer and show you my projects (not those with an NDA attached), and if you want to you can also meet my coworkers and my bosse(es) and ask them what ever you want. What I want to get at is I am not shy to show my programmer abilities, I have nothing to hide. I believe all great programmers have nothing to hide, and are interested in the truth and reality- and if you are then you would want to check out the facts instead of assuming things, right? I avoid as much as I can to code based on assumption. I code on facts as much as I can- I am a believer of logic and good practices. So here are some facts to counter the assumptions on the article:
1. Who would hire you as a developer after just 15 months?
I was hired before that, and there are several reasons. Since I have two employers I will have to answer separately.
When I was applying for a job, after 4 months, I had several offers. Most of them were smaller applications (proof of concept types) and the salary offered was, as expected rather low. Which made sense. I have a good salary now- which I am very happy with.
Dotnet Mentor hired me for the following reasons, and you are more than welcome to contact my employer (phone number on the site) to confirm:
1. He believes in having a mix of developers with different levels and skills,- as it creates a good work and learning environment.
2. The new consultants aren’t as expensive and perfect for smaller projects, proof of concept etc. A good way to establish a first start with a client that has a restricted budget.
3. I have good networking skills, mainly because I truly love the community and I am very eager to interact and learn from other developers- I have many that have my back (and I am there for them as well!!). With other devs being the best, and most up to date source for documentation, I have access to invaluable knowledge that means I hardly ever get stuck.
4. He believes in me (and also the other developer that is also right out of school- and we have the same wage), and considered this to be an investment.
5. We don’t have sales people, we get our own projects, and all of us working there are able to get projects as we are good networkers.
6. I’m actually a decent programmer. Not great (yet), not awful (I have to good of a teacher and too good friends and co workers to get away with that)
Telerik hired me for the following reasons:
1. I interact well with the community and I have a tremendous passion for what I do (programming and the people involved) and have a good out reach
2. I’m able to represent the company values in a good way, that being having an open mind, being kind, positive, helpful and non-judgmental. We work with developers of all levels and skills, and cultures, so how you are as a person and what you believe in and stand for is very important.
3. Again, I am a decent programmer,- and in regards to the area I work in for Telerik, Windows Store Apps, I’m probably a little bit better than just decent
- and many more reasons, but there are good reasons for me having a job, two jobs I know many companies that hire, so let me know if you are looking for a good place to work. I’l be happy to pass on their details to you.
2. Did you get a job just because you are a woman?
No, I’ve been offered jobs by people that don’t even know how I look like. And just as quite a few will think that men will be favored over women in many job interviews, the risk of being hired based on gender the other way around also exists. But, if we look at research on the subject, it is more likely that men get a job because of their gender than women in this industry. BUT, yes women are popular in CS now, basically because many employers see a great benefit in having gender equity, and according to studies those that do so have a more productive environment, and the different angle women can offer is of great value to the customers and the end product, which often is used by 50% women
In regards to the comment about my boss being interested in me because of my looks, we don’t even work in the same office, and if I had a feeling that anybody at work were to look at me ‘that way’ I would probably quit (I am married), as it would be very uncomfortable. I don’t dress like that when I meet up with most clients, as the project is the center of the discussion and not my wardrobe I’ll let it shine instead
3. What types of languages and frameworks do you work with?
4. What kind of projects do you work on?
I’m currently on the backend of the Spotify architecture working with the fallback servers. Just kidding Obviously I’m not working on heavy systems, I am very aware of what I can and cannot do, and so are both my employers. We pick projects that fit my skills, leaving room to grow and a bit of a challenge. The projects have been of smaller size, and I have been pair programming, we do code reviews every week, and stand up meetings every day and use a kanban board to track user stories and the progression. No code is shipped without review and refactoring.
That were all the questions I could find among the comments, but if you have ANY QUESTIONS (or assumptions that you would like to confirm or refute), again, PLEASE contact me! I wont get mad or upset – ask whatever you want, I would be very happy to get the opportunity to meet another developer/person/whatever – and I’m sure we will get along just fine. I haven’t met many people in my life that I don’t like, and I don’t judge people based on one or two opinions.
For more about me, this blog post is already way to long and me-me-me-me , have a look here for some interviews with me where I might answer some of your questions, there is also two of my talks there, the technical talk at DevReach 2012 you can download the PPT, and you can watch the soft value talk from Öredev 2012 (it’s free). Or even better, come listen to my talk at nForum tomorrow (and also meet my friends and coworkers), or attend one of the User Group meetings I organize, there is one today and have a chat, food and drinks, with us geeky devs