I'm a 26-year-old woman who works as a developer since 2016 that's 5 years in this world and in this time despite I've worked in 3 different companies and known hundreds of developers I've only found a few dozens who are women. Actually, at this moment in my company, I work in an area where there are 50 developers of which only 2 are women, the strangest thing is that in the others areas this isn't the norm.
Since I began university and I saw only 10 girls in a class of 80, I knew that I wouldn't be working with a lot of girls, but in my work life I only saw the pattern even more marked, and from a few years I've been asking myself why this situation repeat in each company that I work, and the truth is that I have no idea, but in this post, I want to tell you my experience and debunk some really misleading ideas that I've heard.
You need to lose your femininity because you need to be hard if you don't they won't respect you
Absolutely false !! actually, I've found that my point of view is really appreciated and respected by my colleges without me having to take an aggressive attitude, and in some moments where tempers are too high I can help to calm down the environment and facilitate conversations and compromise, I think that if you give respect you will be respected, especially if you have good ideas and know how to communicate.
The guys won't help you because they think that women don't know how to code
Again .... False, I have been honoured by knowing amazing, caring and talented men from which I've learned a lot, and the thing is that they don't assume because of my gender because I don't let them, I'm always trying to be prepared and inform and when I don't know something I speak very clear that I don't, and the thing is that's ok, and they are generous with their knowledge and time, but you always have to appreciate that gift and honour it putting all your effort to learn and improve.
Code is too hard
Well yes, but no, if you put your effort you can do anything you intend so I invite you to not be intimidated and at least give it a try, you won't regret it, at least if coding isn't something that you enjoy, you have the satisfaction that you achieve something that you taught that you couldn't be able to. I read this somewhere and it has always stuck with me (I don't know who the author is).
If a human created it, as a human I can understand it
At last, I want to say that I write from my experience and I want to say thank you to all of my amazing colleges and friends who make this work my dream world, and I want to hear your experiences and maybe inspire more women to take this amazing path.
Top comments (31)
It's a shame the ratio hasn't changed by now. I left my development career twenty years ago. I worked in London for a global news agency. Now I somewhat regret having left as coding has remained with me. But then I reflect on the male orientated environment I was in, and why I left - back then were some big egos, destructive competition, people reluctant to give up information (to maintain their position and edge in their perception of a false heirarchy), and lies - one employee even gave a collegue as a refererence without his permission and later asked him to lie, pretending to be his manager and to talk him up when a potential employer phoned. The same guy also pretended to have a photographic memory.
I hated that environment, prefering openness and cooperation. Competition and ego are
destructive for the project, enterprise and human relationships.
I think most men hate those kind of toxic environments too. That's why those places tend to have extremely high turnover, with a management team mostly populated by people who care more about dominating and "winning", and less about the customer or their fellow employees. They'll also tend to promote people who think exactly like them, so whether or not there is diversity of identity, there is absolutely no diversity of thinking.
Thankfully those environments are much more likely to be called out now, and even if the company doesn't fix the situation, we can read about it on Glassdoor or similar sites and stay away. At the end of the day, we all have certain standards that go beyond just the size of the paycheck.
This type of experience is so sad and full of injustice and I'm so sorry for what you had to live, there's nothing worst than an aggressive work environment ... In one team I had a coworker like that, but the thing is that the majority is sooo different and so kind, that I hope that if you give it a new try you would be pleasantly surprised.
I also worked mostly in only male environment. Until recently when I moved from Europe to Canada. In the Front-end department, there are lots of girls, I was really surprised. But yeah in the back-end, there is only one girl. I think it's slowly changing.
Where in Europe?
In Belgium and Luxembourg
Hi Sabrina, I really enjoyed this post for a variety of reasons, but for brevity I'll pick one
This shows that a positive attitude and valuable skills are what really matters. They enable us to make an impact and be appreciated for our contributions.
Thanks for sharing!
Thank you for that comment !! I'm so happy that you liked it 😊
"If a human created it, as a human I can understand it."
Super cool quote to end on. ☝️
It's really great to hear that you've had such a positive experience in your 5 years of coding!
That reminds me of something 😄
Hahaha, that's awesome! 😆
I'm really happy that you enjoyed ... Thanks for your sweet comment means a lot 😊
I'm glad you've had a mostly positive experience. I certainly notice women in the development world, and in the broader engineering environments I work in, but when we're working on something, I'm talking dev-to-dev or engineer-to-engineer, not man-to-woman. Anyone not interacting from the context their shared goals and/or shared interests has something wrong with them. This goes for gender, race, nationality, disabilities, and anything else that makes us different. Clearly none of us are truly "colorblind" to these differences, we can see them, but they are merely descriptors that should fall away when real communication begins.
I've looked at a lot of code, and one thing I can tell you is that nothing about any of that code has ever said to me "a man wrote this" or "a woman wrote this" or "someone whose parents weren't born here wrote this".
If a human created it, as a human I can understand it.
The only thing I can say about this is that I'm not even sure I can always understand code that I created!
Until two days ago, my team of four had 50-50 ratio; but one of them left 😢
They are awesome developers and I'm pretty sure I'm learning more from them than them from me. So, having been a dev for almost twenty years I can confirm: it's not about gender nor age.
I'm happy to read opinions like yours :)
I'm not a woman but I can offer a few "data points" to the conversation.
I went to a college that was around 70% women, primarily due to the college being known for teaching and nursing, both of which being fields dominated by women. So much so my college didn't have a (US) football team. However, in all my Computer Science classes I ended up having classes with around 5 women. In total there was around 60-100 other students, so the ratio was very disappointing.
My college also provided support for under represented groups via scholarships and internships. All 5 of those women ended up getting scholarships and eventually jobs through this program. So if your part of an underrepresented group and going to college, keep an eye out for similar programs. (I also benefited from this program even though I technically wasn't an underrepresented group, but they had room within the program)
My mother has worked her whole life as an engineer without an engineering degree in a male dominated engineering field. She says things have gotten better in her field over the years but it still isn't perfect. Due to her experience, knowledge and grit, she doesn't let anyone tear her down or make her "feel less" of her self.
Love this post!
Thank you for this lovely comment ❤️
Sabrina! I'm a Colombian software developer as well, and seeing that you are too made me so happy! And my experience isn't far from yours... I didn't start in a Software engineering major as my first option in a university in Colombia, and when I decided to change majors it wasn't on the list of options either... But when I finally decided to start Software Engineering as a major, 2 of my closest male friends (at separate moments) told me it was great I chose this career because I could ask my male classmates to do the work for me and they wouldn't be able to refuse... I felt sick, why wouldn't I be able to do that myself? Fast forward to now and I've graduated and I've had 2 formal job in which, the first one didn't have women in the tech team, I was the PO, and in the current work I have I'm the ONLY woman out of 9 devs. SO thanks for sharing, it was very relatable.
Lo seeee algunas personas en nuestro querido pais creen que cuando estamos en la universidad no queremos hacer los trabajos ... pero si no los hacemos ¿como aprendemos? que agradable ver a otra colombiana en dev.to gracias por contar tu historia 😊
I am happy to work at a company that really wants to give opportunity to women's in the tech field. My team leader is a woman and we are a team of 5 and 4 of our team members are women and the owner is a guy but I feel like he truly cares about giving opportunities to female ❤️🌻
Do you have any advice for current programming students? I'm based in Canada and currently learning python/JS/Webdev and I'm trying to figure out how to bridge that gap to get the first job.
Rebecca I will do a new post about it and I will shared with you 🤗 but for now I will tell you that the most important thing is put yourself out in the market, and offer your knowledge... I began my work life while I was a student and is great because people is Patient
Awesome thank you so much!
The quote in this article might be derived from one of the following:
JFK - "Our problems are man-made, therefore they may be solved by man. And man can be as big as he wants. No problem of human destiny is beyond human beings."
Samuel Johnson - "There is no problem the mind of man can set that the mind of man cannot solve.”
And Obama once paraphrased JFK as "There is no problem man created that man can't solve". For those interested, you can watch that in the final 30 seconds of this Youtube vid:
I've worked in development since 2009. Since then, I've only worked with 2 other female devs. One front end, one back. I have never been looked down on because of my gender that I know of. I get usually surprised looks when I say I'm a dev and I joke I'm a unicorn. I wonder if it depends on your location? I'm over in Spokane, WA which is one of the bigger cities in Washington but we aren't Seattle big.
Hello, thanks for sharing! 😊 I'm still a software engineering student but until now I also made positive experiences 😊
Goooo girl!! congrats!!! and it's really cool to hear that your experience has been positive too
Thanks Sabrina, this post really helps. All the very best for your future prospects.