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Inspiring Change


Inspiring Change

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Steve Jones
Steve Jones
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Comments posted to this topic are about the item Inspiring Change

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Lynn Pettis
Lynn Pettis
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Interesting topic. During the luncheon, I am sure they weren't talking about just the computer or information technology fields, correct? Well, how about this, my middle daughter (now sophmore in high school) originally wanted to study journalism in college. Although she still likes to write fiction stories, she has changed her mind and wants to attend MIT and study Chemical Engineering.

Cool
Lynn Pettis

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Jeff Moden
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I'd encourage the rest of you to give it a try and see if you can inspire a young girl, a minority, or a child you know to consider a career in technology.


In the true spirit of equal opportunity and that of being a decent human being, I'd encourage you to see if you can inspire anyone and everyone to consider a career in technology without regard to race, religion, creed, gender, hair color, eye color, height, weight, markings, mode of dress/ornamentation, choice of food, or planet of origin. ;-)

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majorbloodnock
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Jeff Moden (11/4/2009)
I'd encourage the rest of you to give it a try and see if you can inspire a young girl, a minority, or a child you know to consider a career in technology.


In the true spirit of equal opportunity and that of being a decent human being, I'd encourage you to see if you can inspire anyone and everyone to consider a career in technology without regard to race, religion, creed, gender, hair color, eye color, height, weight, markings, mode of dress/ornamentation, choice of food, planet of origin or overall ability*.


Finally, my lucky break has come...

:-D:-D:-P

*shameless plagiarism from quote attributed to Tom Lehrer

Semper in excretia, sumus solum profundum variat
Jeff Moden
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Heh... actually, that's a great addition, MBN. Lots of folks forget that knowledge is ability and without the knowledge, you may not have the ability... that's the whole purpose of teaching someone... help them achieve the ability. With a good mentor, a person can very quickly gain abilities that might otherwise take years to learn through typical self or instructor led training methods.

To wit... I think that companies should sponsor the idea of summer-long apprenticeships of Jr. DBA and Jr. SQL Developer as they do for other areas in the company.

Perhaps the title of this article should have been "Be a Mentor". :-)

--Jeff Moden

RBAR is pronounced ree-bar and is a Modenism for Row-By-Agonizing-Row.
First step towards the paradigm shift of writing Set Based code:
Stop thinking about what you want to do to a row... think, instead, of what you want to do to a column.
If you think its expensive to hire a professional to do the job, wait until you hire an amateur. -- Red Adair

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laurav
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Great Topic Steve!
This is really, really important. Even though our skills direct us to technology/engineering, it is still not "cool" for "girls". It sometimes feels like a pretty closed field [and that is when you switch jobs]. As far as encouraging kids, have the Women in Technology folks developed some kind of presentation? My kids constantly ask what I do, and it is a bit hard to present to a group of 7 year olds. Do they have any suggestions on how to represent our field on school "Career Days"?
blandry
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I do presentations every year at Career Day at my kid's High School and I see two things: First, there are a lot of young girls involved in technology there, but its all robotics and engineering - not much software, much more hardware based interest. Second, the kids there are not interested in software development and indeed, it no longer has the "glimmer and gloss" of a fun career that it once did. Kids are happy to use software (XBox, iPhone, iPod, etc etc) but they are already aware that a career in the field is more like working in the drudgery of coal mining, than being the next Bill Gates or Steve Jobs.

These students, both boys and girls, see careers like robotics as a wide-open field with plenty they can do to contribute to society and make an impact. Our High School competes regularly in local and national robotic championships and there is always great excitement. But when it comes to software engineering, its a major yawn to these kids outside of the small programs to control their robots, and I am told that one of the teachers does most of that coding.

I cant say as I blame them. When I got into software there were at least 50 or more languages and systems one could dive into. Ideas were fresh and new and everyone had a drive to invent the next big thing in software.

Now, there are 2 development systems really - and 2 major databases. Most "new" software is just old software with a new face on it. As some pundits have already pointed out, software engineering has become more a tedium than any exciting career.

So whether male or female - if you can spend a career doing something exciting, why would you bother seeking work in the digital coal mines?

There's no such thing as dumb questions, only poorly thought-out answers...
jay-h
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I agree with the position posted by others that any artificial barrier be removed (whether gender, nationality, religion or other basis). What we should not do, however is artificially try to adjust the numbers if it seems that they are not 'quite right'.

Choice of carreers is only partly based on ability. Other factors may be cultural, or competition from other career opportunities that may be more appealing to some for reasons that are not really quantifiable.

As to 'geekness' (which represents only a small but visible subset of intelligent people) is an outgrowth of a kind of obsessive behavior that is simply (and probably biologically) more common in young males than in young females. How many young boys come to the computer field by becoming obsessively involved in hacking their own machines and computer games, while young girls their age find many more varied things to do than obsess in their parent's basement?

...

-- FORTRAN manual for Xerox Computers --
JP Dakota, PRC
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As a woman in technology, I get some really interesting comments. The industry the company I work for is in is definitely a male dominated industry. It is not uncommon for me to be in a meeting of 50 people where I am the only woman in the room. During a break in one such meeting, a guy pulled me aside and asked, "Wow, at your age and as a woman, how are you able to learn new things and stay up on technology?"
True story. I just smiled at him. He didn't mean to be condescending.
I use initials instead of my first name, and have ever since I was a child. It is almost inevitable that I have an email correspondence across a couple of months, and maybe a couple of conference calls, and the whole time be assumed to be male. Its kind of funny when I finally meet someone and they realize that I'm an upper middle-aged woman. I should probably find ways to correct that assumption before meeting in person, but I get a kick out of it!
majorbloodnock
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Unsurprisingly, I don't find myself making gender-based assumptions much at all. I say "unsurprisingly", since my head of department is a woman, and a very successful head of department at that. As a department, we have about a 3 to 1 split, so the ladies are certainly outnumbered, but that reflects the ratio of applicants' genders rather than any hiring policy.

I do tend to find, though, that there are specific gender differences that have a bearing on someone's work in IT. Some of the more brilliant technological successes I've seen in-house have been related to the male inclination to (as has already been mentioned) become interested to an almost obsessive degree, and concentrate to the expense of other work. Flip side is that some of the more spectacular failures I've seen in house have also been attributable to men, for much the same reason.

On the other hand, the women in the department tend to be a rather more pragmatic group, and their ability to multitask means many of the most successful projects have been kept on track and properly managed by them. They're also generally less blinded by the latest whizz-bangs, so the solutions they pick tend to be both simpler and more stable.

I realise these are sweeping generalisations, and that there are huge variations within each sex, but men and women are not the same. They each have different strengths and weaknesses as groups as well as individually, and the best teams IMHO recognise this. Overall, though, I've not yet found any difference that makes me feel one gender or other is overall better suited to IT than the other.

Semper in excretia, sumus solum profundum variat
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