That’s right; I’m a tech guy writing about Girls in Tech. I also realize that the title of this article says, “Girls In Tech”, not “Women In Tech”. Before you tune out, think I’m gender or politically insensitive, or simply resume whatever you were doing before, maybe – just maybe – it’s time for a guy to chime in. I think it’s my moral responsibility to write about the females, or lack thereof, in a field mostly dominated by males.
I have worked in technology for many years. I am a Senior Software Engineer. That’s fancy pants for a programmer that’s been around for a while. My experience in this field has afforded me the opportunity to evaluate the good, the bad and the lacking when it comes to the tech industry and those who have chosen to work within it. When it comes to what’s lacking in the tech industry; the female gender is one of the first things that comes to mind.
I think one of the reasons more women are not becoming programmers or engineers is because it’s currently a field dominated by men. Once a field has a stigma of being a “man-career”, the opposite sex tends to steer clear – either by choice or by institutional barriers. Well, times are changing. Groups are popping up with sites like Girl Develop It and Women Who Code just to name a few. It’s time to break with old stupid rules and here’s why!
First off, if you are a meticulous person, think in an analytical way, or you just think making a computer do something you tell it to do is kind of cool, then programming could be for you. Secondly, it’s a career filled with opportunity. My LinkedIn InMail is filled with recruiters looking to fill positions. There simply are not enough good programmers to go around. Third, I like working with women. It’s a fact that men and women think differently. It’s great hearing a different perspective and having a diversity of thought that makes the products we develop better.
So why did I call this article “Girls In Tech?” I think to really break the mold, we have to get girls involved when they are young. Sure, anyone at any age can take a stab at learning how to code, but to break that stigma, we need to instill technology before children can learn that it’s a “man-career”. As an adult, you can buy a $35 Raspberry pi and build something with your children. If you are a programmer and willing to mentor, you can also donate time teaching kids our craft at the Boys and Girls Club. I have done both and I know how rewarding it can be. For those of you that are no longer children, try it out. There are plenty of free tools and free online learning. Try one of them out and see if it’s as fun for you as it is for me. See why it’s not just for guys!
Never considered a career in technology? Why not? Let me know in the comments. Maybe you can be the next Girl (or woman) In Tech!