Friday, December 02, 2011

Weekend Reading: The Rise of the Coders Edition

I've just finished a 2.5 day stint of solo parenting- Hubby had a meeting up in Northern California, and flew out after dinner Wednesday night. He came back tonight right before bed time. The girls and I made it through OK, although I think that if Petunia ever goes to one of Pumpkin's swim lessons again, we had better be prepared to get in the water with her. Not even my new Kindle Fire could distract her for long.

So anyway, I'll keep this post short, since I want to go have Friday Night Beers with Hubby as soon as I'm sure Pumpkin won't be needing any monster repellent sprayed in her room tonight. (Note to other parents in this phase: don't be lazy like I was and just grab the can of Febreeze to use as monster repellent. Go get a spray bottle of water. Unless you are really fond of the smell of Febreeze.)

My links this week are all software related.

First up, an article arguing that Apple has done the seemingly impossible, and made software developers cool.  And made some of them very rich. I feel a bit vindicated in reading this post, since I once got excoriated in someone's comments section for arguing that Steve Jobs created jobs here in the US, because he created a whole new class of programs that needed someone to write them- the apps. (And yes, I know, the article is from the UK, but trust me, there are app developers here, too.)

This thread on Slashdot argues the opposite- saying that a data center that went into one economically depressed area hasn't brought as many jobs as locals expected. But it is actually also consistent with the argument I was making on that other site: namely that we aren't aiming high enough in our worker retraining efforts. We shouldn't be retraining everyone as data center operators. We should try to retrain people into actual software development jobs. Unlike a lot of fields, you don't need a degree from a "name" school to have a good, solid career in software. I've hired people from Podunk U and from Ivy League U, and even from For Profit U, and I can honestly say that the source of the degree is not a good predictor of the quality of the code.

And finding good coders remains a challenge for me and just about everyone I know who is trying to hire them. From what I have been told by the good candidates we've lost, we have Apple (and the app boom) and Google (who are hiring like crazy) to thank for that.

Maybe we wouldn't be facing such a talent shortage if more women considered careers in tech. Which brings me to this post, about how to get more women in tech. Don't be put off by the website name or dating service ads on the site- it is an honest, interesting talk from a woman in tech. Credit to Hubby for finding this one.

Women may not be prevalent in tech, but after the Womanspace debacle and Nature's crappy handling of it, it was refreshing to come across this story demonstrating how a company should respond when a customer points out that their product is sexist.

Happy weekend, everyone!


  1. On this topic, I think you would enjoy seeing this: Some reasons gendered science kits may be counterproductive, one of a series of posts. The posts resulted in the company changing their marketing. On Girls/Boys Novelty Kits

  2. Love that last story!

  3. That story about Lexi/EA rocks. Thanks for sharing :)

  4. @Becky- thanks! I saw those posts. I will admit that we have a crystal growing kit up on a shelf- someone gave it to Pumpkin and it is rated for a much older kid, so we haven't figured out what to do with it yet. It isn't overly girly, but it is in a pink box. We also have a plain, gender neutral science kit that we've played with a bit- also a gift. For a scientist and an engineer, we've been remarkably lax about buying any science kits on our own....


Sorry for the CAPTCHA, folks. The spammers were stealing too much of my time.