Today’s Coding Culture: Where do Women ‘Fit In?’

Today’s Coding Culture:

Where do Women ‘Fit In?’

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Cover photo: Daily Hive

After headlines scorned Facebook for sourcing a predominately male coding cast, the conversation surrounding women in tech was sparked once again. Whether the Facebook leak is just the latest gossip or actually holds credibility, the speculation itself sparks some questions. Where do women stand in the coding world, and is there a field more conducive to gender-neutrality? Working behind a screen should eliminate gender disparities. 

As with many roles in tech and computer science, the problem appears to exist in the infrastructure of societal stigmas around a women’s role in the workplace. Last year, this study found that women’s contributions to open source projects were more widely accepted than men’s, but only when they were not identifiable as women. Why are women still a minority in this industry?

The umbrella issue appears to be a result of company culture translating to a lack of female representation in physical roles. In her 15 years of experience as a developer, Hanh Nguyen, CEO of GlamOutfit, recognized that the lack of young women learning to code makes it difficult for companies to hire female engineers, even at a fashion tech company such as hers. “We constantly try to hire female engineers because they connect better with the product, but it has been really hard because the pool to hire is so small.”

Although a company may want to hire from within the female pool, it goes back to the dilemma of limited availability, as well as lack of experience. Sasha Tailor, software engineer at BlueMetal says, “Almost all of the female hires are for junior roles.”

Tailor comes from a technical background of working in predominantly male environments. During this time, she became aware of certain, societal factors that created these limits for women who code, “including a lack of female applicants in the pipeline,” agrees Tailor. This includes “the immediate need of filling a role versus taking the time to hunt for more diverse hires, for senior roles, and a lack of senior female programmers in current employees’ networks (i.e. referrals).”

This lack of female leadership is built into modern society and constructs a broken culture within a company, and within the entire industry. “It is now up to the companies to take action,” says Veni Kunche, Senior Software Developer at Web Informatics and Mapping. “They need to stop hiring only computer science graduates and consider women with non-traditional backgrounds who went through a boot camp. They need to fix their technical interview process.”

Veni Kunche

Kunche points out that access to organizations that enable women in tech are more prevalent than ever, thus reflecting that while one issue around education is being solved, the larger problem that exists is the lack of education within companies. The developer with 14 years of experience in coding encourages companies “to look within and ask themselves why women may not be applying to their company or leaving their company. Are they looking for people at mostly male dominated events or communities? Is their culture so toxic that women and minorities are leaving and telling others not to apply? Are they forcing them to transition away from tech?”

Whatever the reasoning may be, Kunche enforces that it is not women’s job to fix this broken culture, placing the responsibility on the company’s themselves to take action. Women should, however, remain focused on building each other up, fighting their way to the top and fighting for what they want.

Kunche concludes, “With enough time and resources anyone can learn to code. Don’t let society tell you what you can or cannot do because of your gender.”

Jillian Dara

Jillian grew up an island girl but converted to city style after living in Boston, London, Santiago, and now, NYC. She is a writer, editor and content creator with a desire to share stories in the lifestyle genre. With a particular focus on travel and profiles, she prides herself on sharing the most authentic story for those who aren’t able to share their own.

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