Do you need to be a Star Wars fan to be a developer?

How the tech industry needs to change

I’ve been around and within software companies and IT departments my whole life since I was 17 years old. There have been lots of changes in that time, Waterfall methods, lack of testing frameworks, lack of Google to find and learn about code and the letters T D and D had never been put together as an acronym in IT terms before.

BTW if you dont use TDD please do and save us all a headache!

One thing has been consistent, the lack of women working in IT in general but more specifically software development. This means that our industry doesn’t appeal to half the population.

I found the below survey done last year and it was believed to be as low as 92%

http://fusion.net/story/115998/survey-says-92-percent-of-software-developers-are-men

How the tech industry is changing

We are now in a privileged position with more information at our fingertips, more frameworks to make our lives easier (Hmmm comment on that one!) and better project management techniques to deliver software.

Agile has improved the way we work and has made a huge difference in my opinion. As long as the engineering practices required to make agile projects succeed then its a great way to work and keeps customers happy.

So here is the thing, we now have to communicate way more than ever. We even have to speak to the business, speak to users and communicate with each other much more than ever. Gone are the days of the wizard in the corner that would bang out code in silence drinking from a Dalek shaped coffee cup.

Software developers now need to be communicable and able to speak out to people from other departments (arggghh I hear you say). So we should be attracting a more diverse range of people into our IT departments. I would have thought this would mean more women coming into IT

Whats wrong

I think there is a problem. Certainly with perception of IT departments, whether that is a support team, hardware or software. When something goes wrong its often sent to IT, quite often rightly so. IT systems are the core of our companies these days, a failing IT system will usually result in a failing company. I think old views of an office full of geeky introverted blokes is still sometimes held. We do love technology but we do have to communicate these days too.

Communication still has some way to go though and you can often find teams chatting away in chat rooms and avoiding speaking to the business, hey its easier isn’t it.

We need to focus on communication and delivering great software that makes the lives of our customers better. We need to promote out dev teams inside large organisations.

We need to attract more women into IT and work out why there aren’t more. They usually make fantastic developers and would balance and bring so much to male dominated teams.

We dont all like Star Wars

IT departments are in fact full of diverse staff, mostly male but definitely diverse. You’ll find guitarists, gamers, fitness fanatics, the average dad, rave party goers, rock climbers, cyclists, Granddads, people that live with their parents, extroverts, introverts, Star Wars fans (there are some), recording musicians, circus trainers, artists and much much more.

I’d love to hear comments from peoples perceptions and why they think there are a lack of female software developers.

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