SHE CAN CODE!

Brenda Zam on August 16, 2018

I'm so happy to be accepted in Dev.to, even when I'm just a poor beginner who needs help with her english writing. I feel bad today, and I wanted... [Read Full]
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They are probably not aware that women have played a foundational role in computer science history. Look up Ada Lovelace, Grace Hopper, or Margaret Hamilton just to name a few.

 

Thanks Kasey! There’s so many amazing women across the history of technology that we should write a post only for them.

 

Grace holds a special place in my heart. Because most of my family is military. One of my favorite figures.

 

Hey! You got this! I've gotten some similar comments in my life, but I've been doing this whole code thing for a while now and I still love it. Check out the #SheCoded tag on here -- lots of stories from other women developers -- here's mine! If you ever need a peptalk, feel free to reach out!

 
 

Yes you can!! Don't listen to what these people are telling you, keep coding and don't give up!

Also don't forget about the ENIAC programmers -- 6 brilliant women.

 

Thanks Liana! I’ll investigate about them! 😊👩🏻‍💻

 

ENIAC programming was a manual task, basically "rewiring cables". I would not say that those weren't brilliant - it's just that their job was totally not what we today call "programming".

 

Punching holes in paper was also programming at some point...

 

In the old days, electronic computers fell into two camps - analog and digital. These days, digital computers have taken over, mostly because of stored program capabilities, but both were originally programmed by wiring as needed. It's not what we today call programming.

The first stored program computers were, in turn, programmed by entering the numeric opcodes and supporting data directly into memory (often via a separate programming board). It's not what we today call programming.

Rapidly, though, Kathleen Booth (Britten at the time) developed the first assembly language in 1947, and assemblers were developed from this - you then programmed by writing symbolic instructions that mapped directly to opcodes. It's not what we today call programming.

Then Grace Hopper developed a high-level portable language, previously largely considered impossible, and this (alongside Jean Sammet and others' work) lead to the development of COBOL in 1959. It's not what we today call programming.

Later, Mary Kennth Keller and others developed BASIC, a simple symbolc language especially designed for teaching. It's not what we today call programming.

These days, everyone just does stuff in Javascript in a web browser. That's not what I call programming.

Actually, I call all of them programming, I was just letting my inner snark fly free.

Interestingly all those languages you mentioned were part of my journey as a programmer. From BASIC on the VIC-20, through Assembly and COBOL.

So I do owe some gratitude to all those amazing women who made me the coder I am today.

Thanks for reminding me of our history :)

 
 

I think this sums it all:

we are as good as men, not better, equal. I can't go and ask for a job when I know the basic of the basic and get mad because I didn't get it, we are not looking for exceptions, we're looking the opportunity to proof ourselves, like every human on this planet

You're going to be great at your job, good luck! 🖖

 
 

Brenda, at this pace I'm pretty sure in a few years you'll be running a software team.

No time for haters!

 

Thanks Ben, you’re right, I shouldn’t waste time feeling bad about this, instead I just have to keep working and be the person that I wanna be, not because of them, because of me.

 

Yeah, no need to go out of the way to prove anything. Just do your thing because you want to not because someone else says you can't. You're already to a great start bc you have the right attitude!

 

I assisted in an intro to programming course for 3 semesters and the best student I ever had in there was a Journalism major that hadn't written a single line of code before that class. But by the end of the semester she had a deeper understanding of the material than the CS majors. She got there by working hard, asking for help when she needed to and self study outside of class. I tell the upper level CS majors time and time again that the biggest predictor of success isn't how smart or how good they are but rather how hard they work.

Forget what those people said just keep working hard and learning and you'll get to where you want to be!

 

Thanks Chris, that’s amazing I’ll like to know that student :)

 

These comments are awful :(

No one should discourage you from what you want to do in life.

I'm fortunate enough to have worked with 3 other female developers in the one (small) company at one point.

There are plenty of awesome females in tech to look up to, and a lot of the other comments have mentioned some of them.

Check out:
codelikeagirl.org/
twitter.com/kodewithklossy
twitter.com/madewithcode
twitter.com/LeaVerou
twitter.com/TimeaTabori
twitter.com/Veronica
twitter.com/chmodxx_

 

I would especially read this tweet by (the awesome) Lea Verou:

We are developers, not "women developers". Introspect why you’re so astonished that someone did well in tech while sporting a vagina.

So this whole discussion is probably wrong.

 

I agree with her tweet, but this whole discussion is not wrong.

People who have those opinions like her friends, have that opinion because it is a male dominated industry and that's what they see.

So we need to see more women in those roles, encouraging other women and younger generations so that it is a more balanced field in general.

 

I also agree with this tweet, that’s why I said we are not looking for exceptions, just the opportunity to proof ourselves like everyone else, nothing of favoritism. I’ll search for Lea Verou :) thanks!

 

I’ll look up for all this amazing women Lynne :) thanks for sharing!

 

Those 3 points you put from the 2 gentlemen are probably 2 decades older. I believe things have changed much. Anyway, my feeling is why women are still taking those points/hints too serious and reluctant to come out of the barriers. I know it discourages them serious. But that is the challenge here. They should find positive and ideal way/s to break the barriers. You, that means women, are the right people to do, not men.

You remember there are plenty of men, who supports and appreciate women who are taking responsibilities. They need not to be male feminist. But I strongly believe, You, that means women, are the right people to find ways. Here are few points to achieve

  1. Prove the skills
  2. Show the out-come
  3. Take all those barriers as challenges
  4. Women should be the right people to find out alternatives to physical barriers.
  5. This is not only mens's world, its a world for men and women.
  6. Think, each recognition you are getting is not only a step in your life, you are building steps to next generation too.

Everyone will start to appreciate you slowly :)

 

Those 3 points you put from the 2 gentlemen are probably 2 decades older.

Please don't ascribe it to their age. I'm a man, and I'm almost certainly 2 decades older than Ms. Zam, yet I can't think of a single time that I've doubted a woman's ability to do the same work that men can in this field. I'd be a hypocrite if I ever did, seeing as how my mother was a software developer for 30 years, and my CS graduate adviser, most of my bosses, and many coworkers were (are) women.

 

I believe the mindset of each person is according to the social environment, their personality and ambition to make in any way a better place for all of us, men and women. As I told Ben, I’ll consider my studies and goals as something I wanna do for myself, not because someone told me I can’t. Each step closer to my goal will make the difference, as you said, but this, like everything, it’s a team work, or at least that’s what I think so.
Thanks a lot!

 

I'm so glad I opened this thread and read the supporting comments you received.

Fortunately you can find a support system in here and in many amazing groups online.

You have a great attitude.

Let them self combust in their own hatred, in the meantime you do you :-)

A few badass women you could follow on Twitter:

:-)

 
 

Also this post from engineering intern at Slack should give you a boost of confidence :-)

slack.engineering/re-architecting-...

There are work places out there that value women's contribution to tech, fortunately!

 

You nailed it! I've heard this so many times from women in my field and every single one of them had a point in time where they sat at home and questioned their job decision because of a a harassing comment form a man.

Most of the time men are afraid a woman is better and it would eventually shrink their self esteem. For me this only means they are weak and have to get comforted to loose this attitude. We can all learn from each other and teams work best together, especially when it comes to developing!

Keep up this mind setting and don't let stupid comments get to you (no matter if from a woman or a man)!

 

That’s true, because there’s a lot of men and women who think this way. Thanks Robin!

 

I don't believe there is any reason why a man should be more suitable to work as a software developer than a woman. Any qualified person should be able to do this job it they want.

It still seems weird to me that such things stay so stereotyped. Software engineers are some of the most sought for people in our country, but still if you tell people you are going to study it the assumption is made you are some kind of nerd.

Even worse is this seems an infinite loop. Because of the reaction people get, a lot of them will believe this stereotype and place themselves in this stereotype, often shattering self confidence. And because this happens people will think the stereotype is correct and it stays in place.

I'd say, everybody should go for the job they want. Don't let other people tell you different and don't let other people influence you negatively because of stereotype images they have about a group of people.

I really hope you'll have a lot of fun in your career! :)

 

Discounting the blatant sexism, if that is what those people think makes for good programmers, or employees in any field, they have no clue. Programming requires team work. A company with good work environment and a good mix of people will beat out a company of anti-social nerds any day.

 

I'm very lucky to have broken into the industry surrounded by young men who value and respect my contributions as a colleague. Of course, it certainly helps that I'm good at my job. But I like to think that there's hope as the trends of major progressive cities like mine tend to seep into the culture of surrounding areas over time.

On my team our lead developer is a woman (overseeing a large multi-million dollar project, I might add), as is one of our strongest front end developers. Women have a definite place in this industry, and I can almost guarantee you can land at a company that cares more about the quality of your code than your gender.

 

I'm always surprised like in 2018 there still are people who thinks like that.

Good job with the post.

I'd add Sandi Metz to the women-in-tech list: a great example of woman in the software engineering world.

 

Thanks Dom! The good thing is that there’s always gonna be people who will proof they’re wrong

 

I studied my CS major in Spain, after which I worked for a year and a half in Madrid where my director was a woman and some of my best colleagues were women as well. After that I moved to Ireland and worked for two years in Dublin, in an environment with more than 30 different nationalities, men (85%) and women (15%) and then again worked with excellent professionals from both genders.

Leaving aside the vast majority of men in IT, I can tell you the following:

  1. Throughout my career, all the way from college up to where I am now, I have never heard anybody make a sexist comment towards women in tech (nor any other engineering). Even better, guys often complain that there aren't enough women.
  2. Women are as capable as men for the job.
  3. Women never got paid less than their male counterparts.
  4. The distribution of management / lead roles is still mostly men but if we see the ratio of roughly 80/20 for men and women, I have seen management in the order of 70/30, meaning that for all there is, many women succeed in their careers.

So, to be honest when I see posts like this one the first thought that comes to my mind is GET THE HELL OUT. From where? From the toxic circles or workplaces or cultures and countries that allow those individuals to thrive.

Should I make a comment like that to a colleague, and I'd be with one foot out of the office already. But to be fair, I wouldn't have gotten the job in the first place.

Life is too short for BS. The world has never been smaller. Find your place and don't listen to petty little humans with petty little minds.

 

Agree with this. I have never seen any kind of discrimination in the workplace before. In my line of work having a diverse group makes for a better knowledge pool overall in majority of cases. But getting less pay? Declarations of being less capable I haven't even seen a hint of this and I live in a country where it supposedly happens all around me.

Not saying it doesn't happen but I have worked in a lot of companies so far and haven't seen it yet.

 

It makes me sad to hear that there are still do many people trying to explain why women are lesser programmers because of xyz. I think it reveals more about their own personality than about the ability of women.

Thank you for screaming against this and bringing this to the public once more. And hopefully we will never get tired of repeating this as long as there are people (mostly men) trying to explain why they think women are inferior coders.

 

I feel the need to separately point out that their statements are completely missing a key ingredient to a good workplace. Professionalism. They do not seem to be expecting that in themselves or their co-workers.

 

They’re the kind of people who think amazing things will happen to them by doing the ordinary everyday, when we must keep looking how to be better in every way.

 

Sorry to hear that some people around you are not supportive about your career dreams. You are right in disregarding their opinion, anybody can be a great programmer or leader, regardless of gender. And we need more people like you, especially in areas where this kind of sexism is more prevalent, to change the mindset and prove that women are as good as men, so take courage and keep trying!

 
 

I applied to Laboratoria but I didn’t pass the first step, because I wasn’t the target. Maybe that’s true, I wish they could take the time to know better the situation of the applicants. Still an awesome organization and I hope you’re learning a lot and having fun doing it. :)

 

Another girl told me the same, personally, I have a bachelor degree, I studied at UNAM so I thought that they were going to reject my application. Happily (I think) they have changed a few things over the last months and I was able to make it!
I'm having lots of fun (as well as considerable amount of frustration feelings but you know, that's part of the deal). That's a great post you wrote. Will share with friends (:

Thanks a lot Copelia, I went to a private university, IBERO, I think that’s why they rejected me, but I’ll try again, if it’s the case, I hope to have your support :)
And btw, if you see Mike Nieva, tell him that I send him a panda hug 🤗

 

You can code, and that's what really matters!

Whenever I worked with guys and girls, men and women, I really didn't make extra assumptions based on their gender. I just assumed "he/she is on this position, then they can do the job!". Simple as that.

At one time though, I see our female developer crying on her desk, because someone told her something and she got hurt. I got really mad, not because she was a girl, but because someone being mean to another at the work place is not logical. It is another way of bullying, adult bullying.

I long look forward for the day where REALLY no one would see race, gender or so on. The day we treat each other as we would want to be treated ourselves...

 

Fight this anachronic sexist mentality even within your friends : a human with a vagina can do whatever a human with a dick can.
Don't be naïve though : the opposite prejudice also exists : men that welcome women to have boobs in their field of vision.
Don't fall for either traps.

She can code and she will. :)

 

Actually, I would say women are more capable of becoming the CEO than men.

I think the true problem lies with treatment of female coders; I've rarely known any females interested in technology from a younger age - which isn't an issue for me but it does explain why there's so many issues with men not being used to women engineers.

Anyway, I very much agree that jobs should be given based on knowledge and proficiency. I'd avoid any companies that make their decision without focusing on your abilities - because if they don't they obviously just don't give a damn about the code.

 

Hey Brenda,

I'm sorry that this situation still exists and it's definitely a hard thing for women to be in the software development community.

That being said, it's going to be the women like you that decide they are going to do it anyway, even though they know there is going to be some discrimination, that will ultimately make the difference.

Women should not have to prove this, but, unfortunately, this demographic is unlikely to change it's outlook until enough women do.

It is getting better. There are more and more women getting into this field and more and more men are starting to accept it. It is getting harder and harder for the hard liners in the field to say discriminatory things without being called out on it. The pay gap is closing. Please keep at it.

I can never know just how hard it is or how hard it will be, but your sacrifices will be worth it for the industry and for humanity and hopefully for you.

 

I just hate it when people think that women don't belong in development or can't develop at all.

Throughout my career I have worked with women as partners and enjoyed it very much. In my personal experience, they usually worked the cleanest and asked questions in time if they didn't make any progress.

And I agree with Chris. A female colleague of mine is a career changer from the journalism sector and completed 'just' a boot camp. But I've never seen a more motivated developer who could change over so quickly. Within a year, she was at an unbelievable speed and already reached the level of some Senior Devs as Junior Dev.

In this sense: Keep coding!

PS: I'm sorry for my strange English :-D

 

Yesterday, I started teaching my little girl-cousin some programming. I wanted to teach her Elm, but she is on Windows. I tried to set things up that was a nightmare (I installed cygwin and node, but had some mistakes), so I went with JavaScript. As it turns out she hasn't yet learned decimal numbers so I started teaching her that along with the last tutorial of JavaScript 30.

Another thing I need to teach her is speed typing. Because she is slow. I'm going with typing.com (in case you want to teach someone touch typing, it's very well suited for children).

I believe any gender can learn programming and work in that area.

As to their comments: I don't know if they are... but they sound like ignorant people. I wouldn't listen to their opinion. I wouldn't start changing their opinion also. Changing someone's opinions, as I learned, a hard unthankful job. Sometimes even impossible. Maybe I just know some stubborn people.

 

In the sort of cases you described, it may be helpful to rephrase what all can go wrong? into what has to go right?

Recognized business leaders have lots of inspirational quotes and everyone tends to think of how many multipliers of extra work they are capable of. Whereas, in my anecdotal experience, the most surprising things are what they don't do.

 

There's plenty of role models to follow - people who definitely proved that you can code, whatever gender you happen to be. To pick some that aren't listed in the comments that I've noticed so far, try Barbara Liskov and Jeanette Wing, who together developed the underpinnings of OO. Liskov didn't stop there either, she went on to take Byzantine Fault Tolerant distributed system theory and make a practical implementation (an NFS server). Prior to this, BFT systems had been considered interesting research lines, but not actually practical. In case you might think that BFT hasn't really made it out of the lab, you might have heard of "BitCoin", which is itself a (very slow) BFT database. She was awarded an honourary doctorate from ETH Zurich - the same year as Donald Knuth.

Jeanette Wing, meanwhile, went through the research arm of Microsoft - ending up as Corporate VP - before turning back to academia. Her own research is in formal methods and she also created and leads the discipline of "Computational Thinking", which is to programming what the Scientific Method is to science.

These aren't role models for just other people who happen to share the same gender. They're my role models, and they should be role models for everyone.

 

A company I used to work for hired 3 junior developers, 2 guys and one woman. The only one that was still hired a year later was the woman. She's honestly the only junior developer I would have hired myself. Stick with it and good luck!

 

I'm sorry you received those comments.

First, let's get something clear. I know of no man who codes with his penis, so I'm pretty sure it's not necessary for the job. I've been coding professionally for... well, longer than I can count on my fingers and toes, and I've never had to borrow one to complete an assignment.

Second, the reasons your friends give to explain why it's a man's job show they don't understand how programming works. The image of the loner programmer is obsolete - if it ever was a thing. A programmer must understand the problem being addressed, that means she (or he) has to communicate with the client or the rest of the organization to make sure the right problem is being solved. She also needs to communicate with the rest of the team, so the work gets done correctly, with all the pieces connecting well with the other pieces.

A programmer who works three days straight without sleep is not a good programmer, because lack of sleep is more likely to cause errors, and the programmer is generally much less productive on the third day. It may also be an indication that they didn't express clearly to their boss what could and couldn't be done given the time allowed, or just didn't manage their time well.

I don't know what being a CEO has to do with programming, but they're also pretty confused there too. Whether one has what it takes to be a CEO doesn't imply much about their ability to code. But your friends are also mistaken on how women in power behave. Do they even have female friends? do they honestly think that their mothers are likely to go crazy because they are women?

I find men who have pretty clear ideas of "how women are" or "how women act when they're on their period" are quick to qualify "but not my mom/sister/girlfriend". It's like "all women" are one way, except the ones they know personally. That's weird, don't you think?

Finally, as for being fragile, maybe they think any woman who stands up for herself or who disagrees with them is a bitch, because, well, she's not being all sweetness and kindness. A man acting the same way may be "strong" and "confident" but a woman? she's a bitch.

There is room in this world for women coders, programmers, and developers. Front end, back end, database, UX/UI, systems administration.

There is room in this world for you.

Code on!

 

Look up the history of the ENIAC. This was one of the first general purpose computers from the mid 20th century and was programmed primarily by women. It took nearly 50 years for them to be recognized for their efforts.

 

The thing is believe it or not, there are many successful women in the tech industry but most of them are not all the time posting into social networks, mostly just some blog posts and that's about it. People still believe in the tech gap (which in some part is true) but we are now starting to have more women in technology thanks to many supporting communities. I am Peruvian and it's very hard for me to say that on Latin American countries or most of them depending on the culture, women are undermined unfortunately, nowadays slowly things are changing but it was a surprise for me when I moved to Italy to study my Master's degree... seeing so many women in other areas of Engineering totally gave me a broader view of things and pushed me to pursuit my goals. Thank you for your post Brenda!

 

Well said Brenda! For more than 10 years as a software engineer I have seen a lot of talented women change jobs because of old attitudes about women in tech. The truth is we are always just as good, if not better, than most men in our field. Good luck!

 

Code doesn't care about your sex. So welcome! Don't let anyone tell you that you can't do something because of any of your attributes. Opinions are like aholes, everyone has one and they are stink. lol.

Just study, and ask questions. Prove them wrong!

 

I convinced that your skills and ability to code isn't related to your gender, sexual orientation and favorite meal. Therefore, I'm sure that "equals", "better than", "worst than" men is just nonsense.
I tend to pity people thinking like that, they may pass the opportunity to work with skillful people just because of their own limited view of others.
Anyway, you can code, and when it come to line send to computer, you are no man, nor woman, you are a developer feeding the computer to create stuff (which alone is already awesome).

 

When a team of 4 women won first place a few weeks ago at the biggest hackathon ever, a lot of people said that they only won because they're women. You can never win with some people!
Keep up the good work.

You're doing amazing sweetie

 

Awesome post! I'm glad you didn't let your "friends" bring you down! One of my most favorite developers that I have worked with was a woman! She was years older than me and taught me a lot when I was starting my first project.

 
 

Great, I work with @Astephannie and she is fantastic, she is from @laboratoria peru.
It would be good if you converse with her, regards!

 

Just a few of Iron Ladies ->

Eileen M. Uchitelle (eileencodes.com)
  • Senior Systems Engineer at GitHub
  • Rails Core Team
  • Rails Security Team
Sandi Metz (sandimetz.com)
  • Author of 99 Bottles of OOP and Practical Object-Oriented Design in Ruby (POODR)
  • RubyConf speaker
  • Teacher, Lecturer
  • She is hardcore

You can do it too!

 

Keep fighting, you're a programmer regardless of what others say.

 

There is no reason on earth, women are not coding as good as men.
I worked with one that was much better. :-)

 

I tend to believe that women are more calculated than men and they plan better and in programming that skill is very much needed. It is something that many teams lack.

Good luck!

 

I'm so happy to be accepted in Dev.to,

How did you applied for it?

 

Oh sorry! I mean that I’m happy that the dev.to community accept me 😅 wish I could work in Dev.to but I still have a lot to learn.

 
 

Thanks Lauro! I don’t know if I could consider myself inspiring, but I’ll do my best to become in one :)

 

Here, in Ukraine, all women think that they are better than men. Not equal or something like that, women think that we need to work hard and give money to buy something like clothes or jewelry. We must pay for all bills,we must go into army, etc.

 

Come on, you can write awesome code as well as men if you keep studying, since it's a logic and mental activity, you are not required strong body;)

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