Where Are The Women?
In a 2021 global survey of software developers, women made up 5% of all respondents.
As a woman, I want to do work that makes a difference, allows me to express myself fully, learn continuously, inspires others, and inspires myself, all while looking fabulous. I thought that meant being an artist or a ballerina, and no one was more surprised than me when it turned out to be a software engineer.
If a computer scientist had not come along while I was in the middle of my “who am I and what am I doing” angst, I never would have even entertained this idea for myself. EVER. Just because there were so many unconscious assumptions in my head about who I was and what I would be good at, and none of them pointed towards technology. So, if you too have assumptions, and don’t know what you’re doing with your life, but thinking def not that, let me address 5 concerns that might be keeping you from considering computers:
- It just sounds ugly. Aren’t computer people half robot, living in dark robot caves, with monster mountings for their 100+ computer screens, and weird, glowy dragon shaped keyboards? The truth is, I know plenty of boys who have that exact setup, but it is nothing like mine. My office is bright and open, my desk is a rich blue, my one screen is sleek, and I always have flowers next to my gold accented pen cup. My office is one of my favorite places to be.
- Isn’t programming really lonely? For a career that inspires so many visions of a single figure hunched over, maniacally typing below a looming screen, it is nothing but connection. Yes, you type alone on your keyboard, but you will be talking to your team all day, and meeting up later for extra hangout time because nobody is cooler than your coworkers.
- Aren’t computers boring? Coding is art. Coding is psychology. Coding is math. Coding is rhythmic. Coding is a test of your emotional endurance. Coding is not boring. This machine will take you on a journey to the brink of everything you thought you could handle, and then give you a little bit more. You will sit down at your desk unsure, and stand up with confidence, strength, and determination. You might think you’re learning how to communicate with a computer, but you’re really going to learn yourself even more deeply.
- Isn’t it super unhealthy to sit all day? Sitting all day, everyday definitely would be, but you are not held in chains anywhere. I take at least two walks a day, I workout, I yoga, I go on adventures. I believe that movement inspires better code, and I make it a point to give myself that.
- Don’t you need to be Einstein? We watch people who achieve great things. And we see them when they’ve risen to the top, when the goal is conquered. What we don’t see is everything they went through to get there: the obstacles, the struggles, and the failures. Because while there are people who are outliers, meaning geniuses and “gifted”, the truth is that the vast majority of us fall into the normal category. And normal people fail all the time, and they struggle, and they have to work at something and try over and over and over again until they finally “get it.” There is nothing wrong with failing, there is nothing wrong with having to work at something to understand it. Because that is where the learning is: in the failing. You try, you fail, you try again, you learn, you succeed.
It turns out that all the rumors are not true, and the tech industry is full of beauty, connection, art, and possibility.
If you find yourself wondering, know this:
You are needed. Your ideas matter. You belong. And girl, you look GOOD.