Being the Change We Need

Something has been bugging me lately.

Coding and technology related work is increasingly where the jobs are. This isn’t going to change, as the “world of tomorrow” has been here since the turn of the century. And as with any other economic shift, it has meant a change in the labor workforce.

One’s career is the true source of one’s independence. Besides the source of income to handle our physical needs, a great career also handles our spiritual concerns. Our need to feel that our efforts matter and we make a sincere difference in the world.

Which is why I’m concerned about the lack of women developers.

Because staring at a wall of text is boring.

Because staring at a wall of text is boring.

Various news sources and media have been talking about the forthcoming drought of women coders in the field.

Why? Depends on who you ask.

The usual narrative has been that it’s a boy’s club. Others are more subtle about it, saying that our culture has been influencing them to stop coding, engineering and sciences.

Personally, I think it’s a load of bunk. For one thing, I suspect that many women have taken a look at what being a developer means and decided that spending the majority of their work hours staring at a computer screen isn’t for them (it does get kind of tiring…) Many women I’ve met in the field have opted for project management, business requirement analysts, team leads and human resource positions. Positions with far more human interaction and critical decisions to be made.

And if someone is going to argue that our culture is responsible for it, I would point out how often developers get stereotyped as “nerds and geeks,” belittled and degraded. Titles that are not exactly savory or chic.

Maybe women took one look at that stereotype and decided they’d rather not earn that label for themselves. So perhaps our culture is responsible, but the fault lies not on gender lines but more in how culture is casting developers as a whole.

I don’t agree with why there’s a lack of women coders. But the fact stands that there is a lack of them. That worries me because society needs more developers. And women can find themselves disadvantaged, their independence threatened, if they don’t figure out how.

Fortunately, it’s never too late to learn.

That’s why, at work, I’m putting together a few boot camps to help teach coworkers from other departments to learn some of the basics and get started with developing in Java and other useful tools, and perhaps set them down a different career path. Guys are very welcome too, but I’ve made a conscientious effort to invite women to join.

I would invite anyone else with a few years development experience to do the same to help remedy this problem in their own circles. If anyone decides to take up this invitation to help me fix this problem, leave me a comment and we’ll touch base to exchange teacher materials.

Thanks for reading, and Happy Thanksgiving!

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