Monday, June 24, 2024

An Open Letter to Girls Considering a Career in IT

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Sara Chipps is a software programmer specializing in ASP.NET/C#/SQL. In response to a recent article, Are There Too Many Women in IT?, she wrote the following rebuttal:

I was reading this article about women in IT the other day and here is the quote that really got to me:

“Rather than telling girls that IT is trendy and fashionable, we should be telling both girls and boys what we really believe to be true: that focusing on being trendy and fashionable is hollow and irrelevant, and that a career in IT is interesting and challenging. The kids who dismiss that argument aren’t cut out for IT and shouldn’t be persuaded to devote their careers to it.”

I love being trendy and fashionable. Fashion, after being a developer, is one of my biggest passions. I am not hollow or irrelevant; I make being a developer kick butt. I put on my BCBGs in the morning and I sit down and program for the rest of the day and both of those things are very fulfilling.

Sara Chipps, software programmer

Sara Chipps, programmer

So girls, here are some reasons I think it’s awesome to be a developer and I think you will too:

Smart is Sexy – There is nothing like being out with your girls on the weekend and having some hot guy talking to you and the whole “What to you do” question comes up. Whether I ask or they just feel like sharing it always goes the same:

There is a pause, they look me in the face like they are wondering if I understand big words, and say something like “I’m an Architect” or “I’m a Business Analyst.” “Oh,” I usually say, “That’s really cool.”

Then we will talk about that for a minute, then usually they throw the question at me. So, I look them in the eye, and while maintaining contact I say “I’m a software engineer.” Then, when their jaw goes slack a choir of angels in my head sings “BOYAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH.” Usually I can whip out something relevant to their career like “I guess you must use AutoCAD?” Or if they are in IT as well we usually have great conversations about different systems and concepts. It never fails, I always get, “Wow, I can’t believe I’m talking about this with a girl!”

Nerds are funny – So, remember the guy that sat behind you in high school that made you laugh till you cried all day? Well, he’s a programmer now and he’s still hilarious. Oh yeah, and he’s grown into his nose, got some confidence, and diversified his investments. Think about it.

It’s an art – There is usually more than one right way to do things when designing systems and writing applications. You have to develop your own style and make it unique. Take pride in what you are doing and make it your own. That’s satisfying – you can really express yourself.

Nerds are nice – Listen, these guys actually care about you and your wellbeing more then their killer calves and great tan. When you say something in passing like “I freaking love kobe sliders” they will make sure there is one left for you when you come out. When you are sick they will bring you Kleenex, lozenges, AND clean your apartment. They won’t take advantage if you’re sad and just want to talk. They sincerely want you to be happy.

You’re worth it – It’s an accomplishment when you type a bunch of lines, compile, and it does something awesome. It makes you feel like you’ve made something great, especially when it’s something you’ve never done before. It makes you feel better about yourself when you’ve made a career out of your knowledge and passion. When you have great developers surrounding you passing on their skill you know they think you can do it too.

So girls, I still have a long way to go and a lot of things to learn. I am not on the top of this mountain yet, but I have come really far. Looking back I wouldn’t trade it for the world and doing this was the best decision I have ever made. Girl developers don’t always wear baggy pants and Birkenstocks. They are you, whatever you enjoy, whatever you like. You don’t have to change yourself to be a developer. You get in there and make being a good developer being like you.

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