Posts Tagged ‘women in IT’

You can’t have it all, in IT

October 20, 2008

Women are making profound personal sacrifices to advance their IT careers, but their efforts to get ahead are largely for naught, a new study of mid-career women in IT finds.

At the risk of sounding contrarian, there’s no guarantee a guy will will advance either, but I take the point of the article. Interestingly, the article says that a perception that women are less technically competent than men is a reason for a lack of advance, assuming an environment where technical expertise is necessary for advancement in management. That may be so in tech companies, but arguably not in the rest of corporate America. In my experience (necessarily anecdotal) and of others I know, many people with no technical background at all move into IT management laterally or directly jump to management roles.

Parody or real? A girl software developer

May 30, 2008

Datamation is running a series of columns from Sara Chipps (sp. Chips?) that I cannot determine if they are the serious musings of a real female software developer, or if it is some kind of parody. This posting, “Natural Programmers (Code Monkeys) vs. Career Programmers (Geeks in Suits)”  is an almost wistful throwback to the good old days of being in IT, having fun doing little with your life other than writing code. Not the current reality of offshoring, the demand for “business facing” IT people, the distain for developing code by the ladder climbers. The “natural programmer,” the throwback. The “career programmer,” well more like what is in vogue these days, you could say.

“Natural Programmers” or (code monkeys for the sake of this article) are the kids who spent 70 percent of their youth attached to a keyboard (and the other 30 percent dodging school and overcoming social awkwardness). They’re the adults that make the technical connections and discoveries that seem uncanny, the programmer that designs amazingly architected systems.

“Career Programmers” (or developers) are excellent businessmen; they’re single-minded in making their bosses happy, and in making efficient, cost effective solutions.

If you want someone that will code with their head down, be quiet during meetings, and do everything you ask without argument then the career programmer is the way to go. However, if you want your solution to knock people’s socks off, if you want to be the “next big thing,” then you need to find a code monkey.  

Women in IT article and its answer ‘song’

May 22, 2008

Back in the 20th century, especially in country music, in was fairly common for songwriters/performers to create answer songs to respond to the message in another recording. Often, the back and forth involved a response from a male or female performer to another of the opposite gender. One of the best examples of this from the 1950s is the recording "It Wasn’t God Who Made Honky Tonk Angels ", country artist Kitty Wells ‘s response to Hank Thompson ‘s "The Wild Side of Life ." Hank’s song is about sowing his wild oats, playing the field, whatever terms in use in the 20th century for sleeping around. Wells defends womanhood with her answer. Battle of the sexes (genders). Hip-hop is full of answer song (raps) examples involving controversies over the libidos of the artists, whose hood is better, etc.

Anyhow, this is what this article , "Are There Too Many Women in IT?" and its ‘answer song’ reply posting, "An Open Letter to Girls Considering a Career in IT" reminds me of. On first take it seems like a battle of the genders. The first article’s title is merely provocative, saying at the end that "we should be telling both girls and boys what we really believe to be true: that focusing on being trendy and fashionable is hollow and irrelevant, and that a career in IT is interesting and challenging. The kids who dismiss that argument aren’t cut out for IT and shouldn’t be persuaded to devote their careers to it. " IOW, IT is a staid career like other professions and the kewl image that nerds have (?!) ain’t what it is or where it is. The ‘answer’ says that girls like to be trendy and fashionable, and geek guys who are into them are hot, and have lots of money. I think. OK, on the second thought this really isn’t a battle of the genders but more like a hip hop answer.