Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Random Thoughts for a Wednesday

Because I don't have the attention span to write an entire post on one subject.....

* A sure sign of spring: I came home from work AND still had time to take a walk outside! During daylight!

* Why, why, why do some people treat the world as their personal garbage can? I swear I am going to start bringing a trash bag along on my walks. Is it really that difficult to hold on to your trash until you get home and/or to a garbage can? Yucky.

* Spring break cannot come soon enough.

* There's a weird dynamic going on between one of my colleagues and me. I'm not sure how much of it is related to this person's personality and how much of it is related to other stuff, but there's a weird sort of....competition, I guess, for lack of a better word. All originating from this person. It's bizarre, because there is no reason why this person should feel threatened by me or want to compete with me, but there it is. Still trying to figure out if in fact this is a weird competitive thing or not, and if so, how to handle it. May blog more about this later. At any rate, it's annoying.

* Coming soon: more thoughts on mentoring women in my field. I started working on the post in my head on my walk today. Hopefully I'll remember it when I sit down to write it.

* Finally saw Queer Eye for the Straight Girl for the first time tonight. What a disappointment!


Andy said...

Commenting on both your mentoring posts in this one comment.

I agree most men in this field want to see more women in the field. I think deep down almost all of us developers look at other groups in the company and think how much fun it might be to work with a bunch of people who don't all look the same.

So where are they? Where are all the smart girls, the smart african americans, the smart native americans, the smart hispanics ect? They exist I have met them. They just don't work in this field.

Why are all my co-workers in this field white, asian, or indian males? Ok I have seen a few other ethnic minority males squeek in but largly it's those three groups. What gives?

There are a bunch of smart ladies in our marketing dept at work, why didn't they become programmers? The director of a large portion of our corporations marketing divisions is a lady. Why didn't she become a developer? It's got to be lonely where she is at too.

I just don't get it. I grew up with strong women in my life. My mother is a shrink who runs her own practice. My older sister runs a dept that is in charge of all translating for a huge multi-lingual business. She speaks, reads and writes more than six languages fluently. But she said she would never want to work in our industry. My best friend in school was a girl that is a certifiable math genious yet they all fall off into other careers and fields of study. What gives?!?

I can count the number of good female developers that I have met in person in the last ten years on one hand. That's just straight sad.

My brother is a chemical engineer and he says in his field it's just as bad so it's not just CS it's a whole range of science and tech fields that have virtually no minorities other than asians and indians in them and are mostly made up of white males.

I am not a woman so maybe I'm never going to understand it but what is so hard about what we do or so distasteful about what we do that most women don't want to do it? There are lots of women doctors and being a doctor is a sh!tload harder than CS. So is getting a law degree and passing the bar but there are tons of women lawyers. My aunt is a lawyer and I have to work on her pc for her when it goes down because the technology baffles her. But she's super smart, why can't she get this? I have no answers for this only a whole lot of questions.

I talked with my mother about it too because being a shrink she has a good take on how women's brains work. She says women process information in more areas of the brain(about 7) as opposed to men(about 2). This makes women very good at abstractions because they process the logic from up to seven very unique standpoints. CS is all about abstraction so you would think they would gravitate to this type of thing but they don't. I do know that in my particular field because it deals with massive amounts of computational geometry that people who aren't spatial thinkers tend not to be able to do well and wash out into other CS fields. Guys and girls both. Women tend not to be spatial thinkers even more so than men according to the reading material I got from mother dearest. So the women that do enter CS tend not to go into my area of it. Ok from the standpoint of somebody that lives this every day, this sucks.

So do you have answers for any of my questions? Does anybody? Where are the smart minorities going and why aren't they going into CS? For goodness sake many companies don't even require a degree to do this stuff. Uuugh it's depressing when I think about it.

I'm selfish so if I could ask one thing of acedamia in CS it would be: please produce more diversity in this field. I don't want to turn 30, 40, or 50 and still be seeing the same faces everyday in the workplace.

~profgrrrrl~ said...

Little energy left tonight, but wanted to say that I *so* agree with you about light, walks, garbage, and spring break.

e4c5 said...

Interesting reading.

Jane said...

Sorry for being so late to the party in responding to comments. Andy, I hear ya. Loud and clear. The short answer is that it's all about the culture, or the perceived culture. (or, as some would say, the "chilly climate") And the culture really intimidates people, especially people that don't fit that culture. This is a real shame, because these fields are so interesting and could be interesting to so many different types of people. We do a real disservice to our field to not promote this. I don't know how to fix this other than just trying to chip away at the stereotype, to be visible to others to show them that not everyone in this field fits the stereotypical computer nerd mold and that we are doing very interesting things and not just staying up until all hours playing computer games and writing viruses. Anyway, this is gonna be a recurring theme (rant) for me on this blog, so stay tuned, and please keep reading and commenting!