My “You Don’t Look Like A Programmer” Story
“Coding Like A Girl” – Great article and it reminded me of someone who use to be here with us. I do believe, at times, we all can make the mistake of a snap judgement.
That people can look at someone else and assume what the other person is capable or not capable of. A few years back I was on the winning end of a case like this. We were expanding, and my HR person called me from a local university to say she had someone she was putting into her car at that moment and coming right over, right now.
Thirty minutes later I had a pretty, petite blonde twenty-something grad sitting in my office. I was looking for a programmer, who could become a lead programmer and help direct other team members scattered about.
I needed some specialized coding skills but also someone who could be a generalist as well. In interviewing this young woman, I found out that she had had a number of interviews, but they hadn’t ended with any offers.
The struggle being fresh out of college
That is always a struggle for someone fresh out of college, so that didn’t bother me. OK, she did look younger than twenty-three, but that again wasn’t an issue for us. She probably looked to most like more of a cheerleader type than a computer scientist, and that is where I had the advantage.
I was looking for a coder. So, I listened to her. In her answers she showed she had a deep confidence in her ability to learn (I am always a sucker for a life-long learner). She was smart enough to know she didn’t know it all and young enough to believe she could.
I know what happened in her other interviews. They looked at her and just knew she “Didn’t look like a real programmer.” Fortunately, my HR consultant understood our culture and knew what mattered most to us.
Stacy was a terrific hire for us. She took on some massive projects and responsibilities. Grew one of our engine projects (what we call our course delivery systems) and helped us launch our first online course presence. She learned what she needed. Worked incredibly hard and became a great lead programmer.
I won the hiring lottery that day because I listened and didn’t care if a person looked like a programmer.
Have fun – Steve
See the article at Coding Like a Girl