I was 14 when I wrote my first line of code. I felt empowered, privileged and enthusiastic. It was the most creative and rewarding experience I had at that age.
The first year of computer science high-school started and we were half girls and half boys in my class. I had no clue at the time that I am joining a male predominant sector while programming started to be my new toy. I could play with it endlessly being curious of how can I make a machine respond to my thinking process, to my wishes. I was already good at math and solving those complex calculus problems with some lines of trivial machine code was a way to help with my homeworks. There were voices around me saying that what I was doing, is supposed to be the future. My mom still didn’t get it. “Are you sure you will be able to find a proper job?” – she was doubting me.
With some practice I was good in sorting arrays, solving systems, matrixes learning some standard algorithms. By the time I was in the computer science university it started becoming more and more fun and I got the feeling of ending in the coolest type of job I could possibly get in my 20s. I have started solving real life problems such as: booking appointments with a doctor or being among the first students creating online shops when ecommerce was only used among academics. We solved abstract problems too, such as modeling data till the 5th normal form or writing compiling algorithms for programming languages that we invented by ourselves or even writing interruptions for a little virus. I never felt like not being up to the level of the task and even if I was not excelling in physics and had not much interest in hardware nothing could discourage me from following the technological path.
All that happen almost 3 decades ago and today I feel more and more exotic into IT arena as a female with technical educational background. Technology rate grows exponentially yet girls of all ages don’t find it attractive. And I genuinely believe that IT talent doesn’t choose to sit in a male brain. The mother nature doesn’t discriminate on that level …
There must be some sustained discouragement we all apply to the diversity of IT sector since writing code cant compete with a Barbie nor with a glamourous PowerPoint presentation.
At all levels we can figure out things to be done in order to make coding more attractive. But I wanna stop over software industry where adults are the key players and leaving the educational system outside of my conversation.
Being a new sector it gave me a lot of opportunities but I can see lately how IT became a sector for everybody. Too inclusive for a category of people who mainly love to deal with their machines. Do you know how to use an excel sheet? You are hired in IT. Is your creative thinking laid out into a powerpoint presentation? You are in some IT department. And so on.
Have you done a 2 days training in scrum master? You can sit with an IT team.
Now, would you hire an accountant after you saw how they apply income – cost = profit formula? Would you take someone to represent you in a court after 2 days of legal training? And would you trust for a surgery someone who cleaned your wound in a trip you had in Machu Picchu?
If your answer is no, to anyone of those questions then why would you apply double standard for IT jobs? One of the answer I have to that questions is because IT is not a regulated sector. Fact which allows people who spent over a decade in studding programing and other more decades in working sector to be direct competitors on the same market with professional of no technological background. On the basis of one single common denominator: ability to prepare glamorous powerpoints or complex Excel sheets.
As everybody concludes the sector is not attractive for girls but for those who would find it attractive and invest their time in studying hard we don’t make the meassuraments of their performances up to the level of their skillset.
We can almost daily see statistics showing the lack of skillsets and professionals ready to fill in a large demand coming from the market. But soon the sector will become extremely diluted by people who shift almost over night into IT.