Also, there is a deeper component to this demographic change in software programming. What happened to the Birkenstock and flannel wearing woman developers of the past? Some of you may not like my explanation, but hear me out, Im going to tell you a story.
I have often written about my social awkwardness as a child. I was homeschooled and not often around children my age. When I was 14 I let my parents know I wanted to go to a real school, so I entered the local public high school. It took a lot of adjusting, and many embarrassing situations but after a year or two I developed a group of friends.
One day the topic came up, If you could be smarter or more beautiful, which would you choose? I answered first, knowing exactly what the right answer was: Smart, of course. I was greeted with a sight I had become quite used to at the time blank incredulous stares. Are you serious, Sara? You wouldnt want to be prettier??
I remember reeling from that response for a long time. I believe that this attitude drives this generation. No longer is it good enough to be the smart girl, in fact its much better to be the pretty girl. Look at every piece of media that enters our brains all day: perfect proportions and beautiful faces. Before you judge us for being easily manipulated, please think of the last time you did something about this particular social issue. What magazines do you read? What video games do you pay for? What shows do you watch?
Frankly, the smart girls know what is marketable.
Does that make us inferior developers? No way, in fact I would say that we girls have to fight harder to beat the stereotypes. You learn very quickly that all the smiles and laughs wont get you far, and so far Ive seen many ladies exceeding expectations and raising to the challenge. Im proud ladies, I really am.
So, youre considering hiring one of these geekettes, what should you expect? Well, it will probably be less of an adjustment than you think. Though were nerds of a different gender, were still nerds. We love this stuff for the same reason you do. A lot of us have the same habits and hobbies. Even those women who dont like BG, STNG, xkcd, or MMORPG still can contribute a great viewpoint to your team just like any other developer. Developers : Comic-Con is now like Designers : Hybrids; the majority lean that way, but you dont have to in order to make a difference.