Code, Debugging the Gender Gap
We saw a few movies this weekend at the Tribeca Film Festival. Two were not worth seeing; The Wannabee and Tumbledown. My guess is that the only way you will ever see those two are on an airplane or a random Netflix purchase.
There was one that we did see that I hope you will be able to see anywhere. Code, Debugging the Gender Gap. This documentary, made by Robin Hauser Reynolds, was incredibly well done. It is about closing the gender gap around computer science while adding diversity to the workforce of computer programmers.
The film shows the past and brings us to the future with facts. She interviews young girls, women CTO’s, women software programmers, women teaching CS and espousing the importance at colleges and more.
You walk away understanding the challenge with the realization that it starts with the youth. That we can and must change the trajectory of women learning how to code. How learning to code is an essential part of our future….and theirs.
You walk away understanding the challenge with the realization that it starts with the youth. That we can and must change the trajectory of women learning how to code. How learning to code is an essential part of our future….and theirs.Women learning to code is a great idea but with the last 10 years “decade of code it’s the answer to all of our ills” movement I actually worry that the women who might choose this career will be drawn from other important fields such as science, engineering or medicine that will then experience a brain drain.I don’t have any facts and figures obviously, but feel that women who have the ability to code are not being drawn from the bullpen of “yet another marketing communication major” or “yet another administrative assistant” or “yet another hair stylist” and so on.This is also happening with men and startups. I’ve seen examples of men who have gone to school and gotten physics degrees and/or degrees in medicine or engineering who have decided to ditch that in order to start a startup (that doesn’t rely on those skills).
I actually worry that the women who might choose this career will be drawn from other important fields such as science, engineering or medicine that will then experience a brain drain.Most scientists can code, as can many engineers. The media tend to conflate code and computer science in the same way as arithmetic and mathematics.The medium term worry is not the ability to code, but the financial incentive to jump ship.I don’t have any facts and figures obviously, but feel that women who have the ability to code are not being drawn from the bullpen of “yet another marketing communication major” or “yet another administrative assistant” or “yet another hair stylist” and so on.You are probably correct today, but who knows how many fewer marketing communication majors there would be in a world where software development wasn’t established as gendered profession from preschool…
I disagree. Coding is like learning how to speak Spanish or French. Everyone should know how to do it in this day and age. People will be drawn to whatever field that excites them. Being able to speak the language of coding is just an added bonus to their career path.
I’m confused. With what do you disagree? Because it sure seems like you agree with what I said.
I believe there will be just as many communications majors as there have been in the past. The communications major will change how it is taught but there won’t be a brain drain.
Ok, but if that is the case there will be proportionally just as few computer science majors as there are today, no?
Education and jobs are changing. Think brand new landscape
Absolutely right! Coding is like learning any other language only that this would be one of the most important languages we would need “to speak” in order to take our career to the next level. Mind you I’m a hairstylist learning how to code and this would only enable me in infinite ways.
The problem with learning any language (whether it is a computer language or a 2nd language) is that if you don’t use it and or practice it you will most certainly lose it.  So of course learning a computer language will give you a taste of what is possible and will have some benefits but you can be assured that if you don’t practice at it you almost certainly won’t be able to program anything with what you have learned. Especially when you get older. This is not like “riding a bike” or “learning photography”. Or even leaerning spanish.  Less likely with learning spanish where you would remember enough to communicate in some way. That’s because spanish as a language is analog and has great lattitude (someone will know what you mean if you only come close). But in computers everything is precise and digital. If you make a single mistake that’s enough to bring everything to a halt.
I’m not sure if I could see a problem with learning anything at all, there’s no such thing…specially when it comes to technology. We should definitely learn, understand and be able to build something of our own. Just like any language, no matter how old you are. In fact, communication and expression are great things regardless of anyone’s motives.
There is no problem with learning anything other than keeping in mind that taking the time to learn one thing means that you won’t have the time to learn something else. Unless, as I pointed out in my other comment, you do it in your spare time instead of another activity in that same time. People make these tradeoffs all the time with their time.For the record although I only took 1 required course in programming in college  I was able to learn enough programming in my spare time  because I enjoyed “playing with computers” as it used to be called. And what I learned has been tremendously helpful to me and has allowed me to make money although not from writing programs for other people. I can directly tie what I am doing today to earn a living to the time that I spent many years ago just trying to write some helpful programs (for myself) or otherwise just playing around. I am probably the poster child of what can be done with a little knowledge and exposure. I didn’t like the course I took at all and it concentrated (as many course at least back then did) on things that didn’t exactly engage the student to want to learn the language. The language was APL. And this was back in the day of books and not many of them was the late 70’s and the early 80’s. I had to drive many miles just to find a bookstore to buy a book on programming. Not like it is today.
use it or lose it?
Yep for sure. I just attached (a picture of) some flash cards that I made back in the 90’s when I was learning PERL. Even back then, when I was in the thick of it, the precision required meant that I had to constantly refer to those flash cards (there might be maybe 50 of them) which I created as reference. (I don’t have the best memory..)I was lucky enough that in my first business I was able to afford to buy (this was mid 80’s) a Unix multiuser system and just play with it and learn. (Was perhaps 40k in 80’s dollars …) The software that I created and threw together was not super professional but good enough to manage things in that business at the time.But here is the thing I want to point out. I really really really enjoy playing with computers and that is what drove me to learn. Just like you like cooking among other things and that is something that you spend time on. So the motivation came prior to the realization that there was a benefit from doing so.
One thing that is really interesting to contemplate is that there are many more things that can be learned today (for various reasons) but people only have the same amount of time available for learning (unless they do it for fun in their spare time that is). Part of the problem is then making the decision as far as what to spend time learning. Learning one subject most likely means that another older established subject will be jettisoned.
That’s why planning is important. We could choose what to learn to reach our goals whether they’re personal or professional.
Just took a look at your site by the way. Nice marketing job! Definitely got my attention. (My wife and I are OC fans.) I actually just gave my daughter a gift of paying for her to go to a makeup artist (was my idea, not hers).
Thank you! it still needs a lot of work. Honestly, it might change completely soon. Lucky girl, I’m sure she loved it!
Indeed. This is one of the reasons I don’t teach my students to use a slide rule; we write a little code instead.
Well as you quite rightly said, education and jobs are changing. Although Faber-Castell will still sell you a slide rule for 80 euros!