I have been talking a lot lately. Anyone who knows me, knows that this is of no surprise. I’m a talker. But lately, I’ve been asked to talk. (The talker in me is very proud of this.) I’ve been asked by OSCON and SalesForce and a few private companies to come and tell them how they can grow developers and grow diversity.
I have a unique story, having gone from Marketing Professional in NYC to Coder in Colorado and now a combo of both. And apparently, people want to hear my lessons learned from this crazy journey.
I am particularly proud of my talk at DreamForce, put on by SalesForce. I am proud because, first, this is an enormous conference with 140,000 registered attendees. (To clarify, I did not speak in front of all of them, I ahem, had to share my time with will.i.am and about 100 other sessions.) And second, I was invited to be part of the Luminary Developer Sessions of speakers – which if you look at the list, is filled with an impressive and outstanding group of people making significant contributions to the world. My name even being mentioned with them is a serious honor. (Deep gratitude.)
But the real hero and Luminary is Mary Scotton. Mary is a Developer Evangelist for SalesForce and has made it her business to find the women and minorities in tech and shout from the rooftops about them. She brought us to DreamForce and gave us a platform. She invited us, met with us and curated a program that brought diversity right into the Developer Zone. People like Mary are the ones that will change the tech industry, for the better.
Right now women make up 22% of the technology industry, Latinos and African Americans, 5%. And when looking at those numbers, remember, the Department of Labor and Statistics are including Project Managers, Analysts, Designers and ancillary roles in tech – they are not counting pure Software Development. If you walk into the engineering department at tech companies, you are more likely looking at 1%, 3%, really no more than 5% across all companies.
NCWIT tells us that real equality in the workplace, and really the industry, doesn’t happen until 30%. This means that the Twitter threats, the brogrammer culture, the sexual assault and harassment problems, the racism, the imposter syndrome, the stereotype threats, the lack of awareness by leadership, do not subside until 30%.
Which means we have a long way to go – 1% to 30%, especially in business terms, is SIGNIFICANT.
I believe my talk has been so well received because I give real advice on how to get there. Real meaning – here is how to fix your job description, here is what your mentor program should look like, here is how to be INCLUSIVE and PRODUCTIVE, here is where to find the women & minorities. My talk basically says, here are 65 ways to DO SOMETHING, and if each one of us DID SOMETHING, we’d get to 30% and nip this silliness in the bud already. (I mean really, aren’t we all tired of talking about it?)
It’s simple, simple, simple math. If all of software development were like Mary, we’d get there super fast, because rather than talking (like myself), Mary is DOING IT. So let’s all stop talking and let’s all start doing.
(I swear I can be quiet long enough.)