The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

Business

June 27, 2014

How women can hack into the 'brogrammer' culture

Q: I am a software developer who participates in various industry events and online chats. As a woman, I'm assumed not to know much, and thus many men give me know-it-all lectures a la Cliff Clavin from "Cheers," plus suggestions to go elsewhere. I'd like to say, "I have a PhD in engineering, thank you very much" but usually end up saying only the last part, which sounds as though I find their comments useful. I occasionally mention that I teach programming at a local university, but it doesn't seem to register.

I'd write these people off, except that many are leaders in the development community. I keep showing up to demonstrate that I won't be intimidated and to build my reputation among the more tolerant developers. Online, I usually use a male screen name because using a female name generates rants against women.

How can I better deal with know-it-alls and harassers who believe women don't belong in these forums?

A: I assume an eye-roll and chirpy "Gee, thanks, professor!" probably won't fly. Historically, minority pioneers in every profession have had to do everything twice as well, backward, in high heels, to prove they could do the job despite their reproductive organs, melanin levels or accent. Even the tech industry, romanticized as a haven for geeky outsiders with world-changing ideas, has come under fire for its insular "brogrammer" culture — and female techies who speak out often find themselves (further) targeted, professionally and personally.

So, yes, it's unfair that you have to keep presenting your bona fides just to join the conversation, if your male colleagues are not asked to do the same.

Some of what needs to change is beyond your control. For example:

Text Only
Business
  • A checklist for keeping you focused at work

    A quick check of Facebook and next thing you know, a half-hour’s passed. Start chatting with a co-worker and suddenly 20 minutes is gone and the report you were supposed to finish by lunch is late.

     

    July 31, 2014

  • Fancy management systems won’t fix bad managers

    In violation of my long-standing “only watch TV” rule, I read an article recently about how Zappos is adopting a management structure known as holacracy.

    July 30, 2014

  • Your Office Coach: Supervisor-employee boundaries must be honored

    QUESTION: Two weeks ago, my husband “Barry“ unexpectedly came home from work with a large flat-screen television. He explained that one of his employees gave it to him as repayment for a loan. I was shocked, because I had no idea that Barry was lending people money.

    July 29, 2014

  • Silly mistakes that sink job applicants

    Some employers won’t care - or won’t catch them - but mistakes in word usage can put your application in the reject pile.

    July 29, 2014

  • Watercooler: Raised to the roof

    Q: Over 15 years, I have worked my way up the corporate ladder with the same organization. I have been given a raise every year and excellent reviews, as well as several promotions.

    July 25, 2014

  • Career Coach Q&A: job search follow-up; introverts as leaders

    Starting a business:

    Q: I have a stable job that I don't hate, but I have an idea for starting my own business.

    July 25, 2014

  • How to become a leader

    QUESTION: I’ve just been promoted into a leadership role. I’m excited, but also kind of overwhelmed. What do I need to do to be good at my new job?

    July 24, 2014

  • Balancing Act: How much is your time worth? Consider outsourcing some tasks

    Todd Paton has a booming business getting customers noticed on the Web. One tool he uses is generating online press releases to build brand awareness and create links that will send traffic to a customer’s website. But Paton, owner of Paton Internet Marketing, acknowledges that writing the releases is not his strong suit. Rather than spend his time doing it, he hires out the task.

    July 23, 2014

  • The Color of Money: No easy way to get out of debt

    Many people who are deeply in debt are desperate for a quick fix. They ask the question: What can I do to get out of debt?

    July 21, 2014

  • Watercooler: When to speak up if you see problems down the line

    Q: Our organization has hired a new director. I am one of a number of division heads; above us, there's the associate director, and above him is the director. The associate director is feared and disliked for his duplicity and dictatorial nature, though few have come forward because of his vindictiveness.

    July 18, 2014

Business Video
Stocks