This fall, thanks to some inspiration from a few of my fellow developers, I finally finished up an MVP version of the Chrome Extension I started early this summer. It’s my first Extension, is very simple in nature, but accomplishes a goal that’s very important to me as a developer: make use of simple visual cues to indicate to me which Google AppEngine application dashboard I’m viewing at any given time. In other words, have Chrome alert me as to whether I’m dealing with dev, test, demo, or prod data (prod being the most sensitive by virtue of it being live customer data).
When I was asked to speak at a recent Girl Geek Dinner here in Saskatoon, I immediately said yes. I love public speaking. The trouble was I had no idea what I was going to talk about. Knowing that the audience would come from diverse backgrounds, I didn’t want to discuss a highly technical software topic that would be applicable only to a handful of the attendees. At our previous dinner, we had watched Sheryl Sandberg’s TED Talk about why there aren’t more female leaders, which seemed to be well-received. But I wanted to discuss something more personal.
Misconceptions about computer scientists are rampant and numerous. Here are just a few. Computer scientists are all dudes. Computer scientists are all nerds. Computer scientists are all socially inept. Computer scientists are all great at math. Computer scientists only drink energy drinks. Computer scientists do nothing but write code. Granted, stereotypes have to start somewhere, …
I almost always listen to CBC Radio One when I’m in the car. So it’s no surprise that I was doing so this Wednesday on my way to a doctor’s appointment. It was rather a long drive, which gave me a fair bit of time to listen in on an episode of Spark featuring an interview with UCLA’s Jane Margolis, author of Unlocking the Clubhouse: Women in Computing. Ms. Margolis studies gender and race inequality in computer science, a background-interest of my own.
One of the most commonly cited reasons to encourage women to join forces with the nearly-all-male nerd-army known as ‘computer science’ is ‘diversity’. This always struck me as buzz. But, as many are quick to clarify, rather than diversity for diversity’s sake, what’s being encouraged is broadening the potential work force to include the other …
The Wall Street Journal recently ran an article, Industry by Industry: How to Move Forward, that detailed key actions that could be taken to aid women in various industries. Naturally, the recommendations regarding science and technology caught my eye. In fact, one recommendation in particular.
Female representation in computer science is down. Way down. But does it really matter? I keep digging around for a really solid reason that we should be concerned. If girls choose not to participate, is it really such a big deal?