Programming is for girls!

My buddy Anne recently posted some of her favourite articles on the subject of women in Computer Science. I wrote an article last year which presupposed her question, "Programming is for girls?" My answer? Programming is for everybody!

Granted, not everyone who writes an Excel macro will be so enamored with their creation that they feel the need to master Haskell. The wonderful thing about Computer Science today is that they could. Thanks to the tiny (almost negligible) barrier to entry, the only thing left to tackle is the stigma.


Programming is already social. I prefer pair programming because I'm ADHD and it's the only way I can ever accomplish anything. But I also get to hang out with friends all day as a side benefit. Code is literature, a communication medium. It's fascinating that our little code-robots do something but it's a great deal more important that it speaks to people.

But: Not every software company is an inherently social environment. Yet.

Programming is already creative. In many ways, it's a purely creative endeavour. Outside the speed of light, there aren't many limitations placed on the raw imagination in a world of code.

But: Many software projects are still about doing the same old thing to a different piece of data.

Programming is already sexy and relevant. Startups are sexy by their very nature. Everyone knows what you're talking about if you say you work for Google or Apple. Most people you know already have a phone they've used to install software while they ride the bus.

But: Not everyone gets to work for a startup or Apple.


You can't have it all but you can certainly have most of it. Think your job isn't sexy? Automate the boring parts or quit. It's a seller's market these days. Try out a new technology, if that excites you. Talk to your coworkers. Work with them directly. Find a broader solution to an entire category of problems. Send your resume to that one company you think is really kicking ass.

There is a real spectrum of significance to the machines we build and the companies we build them for. Create some partial orderings to demonstrate this to yourself. Which is more significant? Clean water or banking? Auto insurance or rice? Diabetes research or zinc? Middle school education or vodka? Public transportation or plywood?

Not everyone considers the world in the same way and most of us will change our opinions over the course of our lives... but some parts of our society have obvious gravity. If you're already in software, let that gravity pull you in. If you're considering a career in software, contemplate the fact that a career in software really means a career in any field you want: from water purification to zinc froth flotation.

Girls, software is already sexy. Get on the trolley.

2 comments:

Anne Simmons said...

ha! Nice one!

Choky said...

I got here by typing programming makes me horny in google... Worth the read!