I received a press pass to DeveloperWeek 2015 last week in order to attend the “Advice to Live by from Women Developers” career panel moderated by the lead of Dice’s engineering team, Jennifer Petersen. Erin Craig of Wolfram, Dominique DeGuzman of Twilio, Ana Martinez of Zendesk and Maira Benjamin of Pandora all joined in the conversation to discuss their experiences in pursuing careers in software engineering. A recurring theme I noticed was believing in oneself, gaining the confidence to speak up in an industry so heavily dominated by their male counterparts. As a take-away, each panelist recommended attendance (or desire to attend) the Grace Hopper (Celebration of Women in Computing) as one of the most eye-opening and empowering experiences for women in technology.
Now you’d think we’d be a bit farther along today in 2015, right? It would seem that the open nature of the social web now allows people to be shamed (bullied really) that the ecosystem polices itself in what is right and wrong. Just look what happened to Justine Sacco. Yet Anonymous continues to live strong. I’m just guessing here, but I have a theory that geeks who might have been picked on and ridiculed are now able to lash out in retaliation against any perceived scorn. Women are an easy target and female coders directly threaten sensitive egos when the source of a geek’s power is their ability to code.
Directly prior to this panel, there had been a number of highly misogynistic tweets aimed at the Executive Director of GirlDevWeek, Arabella DeLucco. Additionally, one of the speakers, Randi Harper also known as @freebsdgirl, gave an example that men have openly accused her of sleeping with the committers to receive acknowledgement of her contribution to FreeBSD. Several Gamergaters have also stated that she must have gotten others to write the code for her.
And although the audience of 55-60 people in attendance were mainly female, one commentator who is actually a female recruiter herself had remarked, “I feel like there would be a lot of guys at this event to oogle at girl devs. So how do we change common perception then? How do we inspire women to support other women in pursuing careers in technology?
Interestingly enough, Dice has been turning heads in Silicon Valley with some of their Open Web™ billboard ads featuring real developers (NOT models) in their underwear with the caption, “Find the Hottest Tech Talent.”
The Open Web™ platform is a new feature that ties in social data from over 130+ websites to give recruiters a more complete view of potential candidates. There’s even a recruiter app in the Apple Store. (for customers)
While at the Dice Blogger Lounge, I also learned about a “casting call” coming in late February with their next round of advertisements. Requirements are simple. Male or female, need to be signed up on Dice and obviously, a tech pro. They want actual people who would use Dice during their job search.