Join LinkedIn Learning Developer Instructor for an in-depth discussion in this video Diversity in tech, part of Career Clinic: Developer Insights.
- Diversity is a very, very hot topic right now. And I think the companies that are not diversifying their workforce, they're kind of punishing themself. Because when they create a product, whether it's an ad where it's a solution offering, it's clearly reflected in their product that their workforce is not diversified. - I was really lucky early on, in fact the first job I had in the industry, to have some really strong female mentors.
That was really instrumental in where I am today. One thing I had heard that I try to carry with me is this quote which is, "You want to forge a path, but draw a map." So I've been lucky to have made it this far in my career and to have reached a position where there may not be many other female tech leads so now I need to make sure that I help guide others to reach that same point that I've reached. - The sad part (inaudible) systemic issue. It's not like I can just offer a quick fix.
But I think part of it is just, we need to give people a chance on their potential rather than what they have done already. For some reason, maybe it's just we are all human, we like to do pattern matching, if we see someone who is just like the other successful people we tend to give them the benefit of doubt. Say, "Hey, you know I'm going to give you this project, and then you can try it out and then learn on the job and then become a better developer, leader, what have you." That tends to not happen with underrepresented people.
Usually what happens is they need to prove that they can do the job first before they will be assigned those more interesting projects that will lead them to bigger things. I think that lack of opportunity is really hurting people who doesn't fit the mold. We kind of need external help to move these people up rather than... They cannot lift themselves up if they just go knock on doors and demand exciting projects. Someone still need to give them the benefit of doubt. So, I think being conscious that we have that bias and then actively try to offer up opportunities to more people will help a lot.
- There is a diversity problem in the tech community right now and I think the way to solve that is, we need people being traveling more. I think that when you travel, you realize that people is people everywhere. It doesn't matter where the people is coming from. It doesn't matter the gender, religion. Everything is the same when we are talking about tech when we're talking about people, persons. I think that's the only way that you have to learn that you're exactly the same as anyone else in the world. Talking about the language.
That, to be honest, I haven't been on any issue there. So, again, being on 57 countries, I always communicate with everyone there. So if you want to communicate, so if you feel like you're talking with someone that can add you value, it will work somehow. So I don't think that should be an issue. It's something that can be addressed in a very simple way. And it shouldn't be part of, like a block that we have to increase our communication, our contact with people on different countries or different cultures.
- So, when I think about the lack of diversity in tech, there are a few approaches that I've read about and heard about that I feel can be really useful. And they all sort of fall under this umbrella of taking a more fundamental approach. Thinking about it as a fundamental problem in the company culture rather than just a little add on that we can stick here and there. When I think about diversity it reminds me of in web development there's this whole question of accessibility, about whether you're creating web sites and applications that people who are blind or have low sight, low vision, can use.
Deaf users, people who interact with computers in different ways. It can be tempting as a web developer to start out just saying, "Okay, I'm building this site for this platform." And then at the end say, "Okay, what can I tack on here to make this accessible?" But really, the most powerful way to do it, which is a better coding practice which makes it easier to develop and which is better for everyone in the long run, is to start out saying, "What do I need to do? How do I need to architect and build this site with accessibility as part of that?" - If we hire a woman or a person of color but they, their behavior is still the same as everyone else in tech, then that's really not really solving the issue either.
So we also have to think about different personality types, different viewpoints on topics. So, the idea is to expand what we think diversity means. It's more than just gender, it's more than just race. It's really just allowing different kinds of people to just enter the industry and just be who they are. We're all here to work together. And that's really what we should be focusing on.