Coding · Women Entrepreneurs

Are women being misdirected to learn how to code?

Katie Pang Financial Advisor at Aegon

January 26th, 2015

The article here >> https://medium.com/@hardaway/why-women-shouldnt-code-82205165e64a >> speaks about how women are being misguided to code because there seem to be a low ratio of women in the coding realm. But how true is this? Are women not being hired for their true talent as the author argues. Would love to hear some opinions.

Anonymous

January 26th, 2015

Hi, Katie.


I’m obviously not a woman, but several women whom I highly respect in the software industry have written responses to Francine Hardaway’s horrible article.

She’s very wrong about so many, many, many things in her article.


Please read the following responses.

Jenn Schiffer: http://negativitysandwiches.com/post/108299473795/a-quick-and-dirty-annotation-of-why-women …

Kelly Ellis: https://medium.com/@kellyellis/stop-telling-women-what-they-arent-capable-of-9da0f856dfec …


- Jonathan

Ian Maddox

January 26th, 2015

The article is clickbait.  All I'll say is this:

Today, after three months of searching, a female dev candidate accepted my job offer.  She was easily the best candidate I've seen for this position, and we feel very lucky to have her joining our team.  The whole office is excited about the idea of getting more gender balance.  The hard part, from my perspective, is finding female talent and winning them in the all-too-common bidding war.  In my experience, female developers are so sought after that a moderately qualified female candidate would have a hard time *not* getting a job.

As a loving parent, I would definitely steer my two little girls toward a safe and lucrative career field that is tripping over itself to hire them.  I see no fault in anyone else doing the same.

Steve Simitzis Founder and CEO at Treat

January 26th, 2015

I was just coming here to say exactly what Jonathan said. Francine Hardaway's article doesn't deserve any further attention.

Don Daglow 3-Time Inc. 500 CEO, Technical Emmy® Award, International Speaker, Advisor at Founders Space accelerator

January 27th, 2015

This strikes me as a piece deliberately written to garner hits for advertisers when its generalizations under the guise of equality breed outrage... and thus links and thus clicks. And of course my click was one of them. Giving kids a chance to try different things to see what inspires them and what they like to do is not forcing anyone into gender roles, it's giving kids a chance to try things out. Some of the best programmers and engineers I've ever worked with are women, and a lot of my career accomplishments involved tech teams with women in senior positions in tech and management. There are less women than men in tech and here's what they ought to be studying in those think tanks. I'd like to do research to look for signals we send kids and teens that discourage either men or women from tech careers when there are so many open positions for these jobs. As you can hear, this article made me angry. I bet the editors hope I'm angry enough to send the link to everyone I know, and then they'll grin all the way to the bank. Don Daglow

Ben Andrews

January 27th, 2015

I apologize for being blunt, but this is bullsh!t. Every non-coding entrepreneur needs a technical co-founder, but the reverse is not 100% true. And like the last commenter, as a responsible father, I'll make sure both my children can code, since in the future, everyone will be able to. And yes, they're both girls, not that that will matter.

Brian Moran Senior Director Product Management at Savi Technology

January 27th, 2015

Yikes, this article is a joke, right? While I agree no one should be pushed into a career that they don't want, the idea that "Women don't seem to want to code. " is wrong. My first question is how does the author explain the many women who get a degree in compute science and then leave coding because of workplace issues. These women wanted to code but were discouraged in the workplace. Second question, how does the author explain all the girls that get discouraged along the way by people that think the same way as the author. Brian S. Moran The Boolean Girl Project www.booleangirl.org 703.608.1941

Sandy Fischler Experiential Marketing Director | Event Producer | Event Management | Entrepreneur

January 27th, 2015

Oh, goody. I get to be the first woman to chime in! I have mixed feelings. On one hand, the jobs and future certainly demand some familiarity with code, but that doesn't mean that ANYONE should force themselves into a career choice that doesn't work for them just because that's where the money is. I can code - not well enough to get a job doing it - but I CAN do it to enough of an extent that I can start a company and understand most of the technical elements, which is the important point. 

Sure, I could buckle down and spend a year getting really good at code and get a job. But I don't want a job coding, I want to design and create experiences that solve problems. Code is just a tool to get there, it isn't a destination. 

I like to use a recent experience at the Los Angeles WordCamp as an example. WordCamp is a tech event for users of the WordPress platform. It's a tech event with (by my count) at least 40% female participation. There were women everywhere, in every session: design, security, content creation, business development, user experience, business management. Every session except the coding sessions, those reverted to about 10% women participating. I personally think that coding just doesn't appeal to women on the whole, it's a solitary activity and our gender inclination is more social. But tech is more than code - it's design, UX, UI, ideation, customer acquisition, and business skills. 

My opinion is that every school kid should be exposed to code in school and let the ones with a natural inclination for it choose it because they love it. Don't herd girls into code because of a perceived need for it to be a gender neutral occupation - tech is in desperate need of good design, good user experience, and great, great management skills from people who can shape an idea into a product/company that works and delivers value. 

Brian Moran Senior Director Product Management at Savi Technology

January 27th, 2015

I agree with everything Sandy is saying except that coding is a solitary activity. It does not have to be a solitary activity. That plays to the coder stereotype. Coding is a solitary activity now because most of the people that code choose to work that way. One of the reasons there is so much bad code written is that coders work in isolation. Look at the scrum and agile methods. They promote teamwork, socializing, etc. One reason to get women into coding is so we can change some of these past bad practices. We need coders that enjoy design, enjoy working on teams and don't want to be locked in a dark smelly room. Brian S. Moran The Boolean Girl Project www.booleangirl.org 703.608.1941

Sandy Fischler Experiential Marketing Director | Event Producer | Event Management | Entrepreneur

January 27th, 2015

Brian Moran - I completely agree. I don't think it's necessarily the work that fails to appeal to women, it's the work flow. Men tend to create ecosystems where men thrive because they are modeled on the way male brains work and male social rules. Stereotypes get to be stereotypes because observation shows them to be a distinctive replicating behavior. When some truly progressive people (of any gender) get in there and adjust the work flow of programming so that it relies less on anti-social, aggressive behaviors the whole world of coding will change. The way you introduce a new student to a subject has a tremendous impact and can create either a lifelong disinterest or a lifelong love affair.

Anonymous

January 30th, 2015

Wasn't the first programmers all female because the scientists felt it was "Women's work"?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ada_Lovelace

and who found the first computer bug?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grace_Hopper