Researcher reveals how “Computer Geeks” replaced “Computer Girls” | The Clayman Institute for Gender Research

2 thoughts on “Researcher reveals how “Computer Geeks” replaced “Computer Girls” | The Clayman Institute for Gender Research”

  1. Female lead programmer here. The insights from commenter John Clyned are spot on (comments on the Stanford site). Communication skills and team dynamics are critical. I have been on teams dominated by the reclusive geek males who would prefer to hole up in a dungeon and code til dawn. These teams have been incredibly dysfunctional and incredibly inefficient. Large egos were also a big negative factor in the dysfunction.

    Programming requires dedication to your craft, a lot of discipline, and a rational problem-solving mindset. Unless you are programming software that is intended to do arithmetical tasks, programming does not require “math” on a daily basis. (Unless you categorize all algorithm design as “math”, as many people do. My point is that most programmers do not apply “math” in the sense of “math” that youngsters considering their future careers think of it.) Good programming also requires a zest for keeping things organized and keeping your work tidy.

    I have said many times that I directly attribute a large part of my success in software to my high school *writing* teachers. My software development habits have been shaped by English composition skills. Not poetry skills or creative stream-of-consciousness writing! Rather, the writing exercises that have helped me are the ones that involved writing an outline before you compose your essay, and making sure that each paragraph leads logically into the next, so that no ambiguities or omissions prevent your reader from getting your full intended meaning. Learning to write a clear, connected, concise essay was something I loved in school. That has directly translated into writing correct and compact software code.

    Sadly, however, a girl who excels in English composition is nowhere near the stereotype of who should pursue a programming job. Thankfully I overcame stereotype-based thinking.

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