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Friday, March 27, 2015

My life as a tech teacher, part 4: Would more women in IT make it less Dilbert-like?

Freelance technology journalist Alex Cruickshank continues from here. "Third lesson. It should be easy by now, but the butterflies hadn't disappeared entirely."

I gave the children 15 minutes to come up with their own programs then asked them to use the overhead projector at the front of the class to demonstrate what they'd done. And, crucially, to explain the steps they'd taken.

We had everything from rotating lobsters to colour-shifting unicorns, a cat dancing to a drum-beat and, in a “here's one I prepared earlier” moment, a boy who'd written a simple but impressive computer game at home, based on what he'd learned in the lessons so far. That earned him a deserved round of applause.
There's currently a focus in the media on women in IT, the general view being that there aren't enough of them. I don't have an opinion on that. If my daughters decided to be programmers when they grew up, I'd be neither delighted nor disappointed. It's a job, but it's often awkward, annoying, stressful and managed by idiots. In other words, it's fundamentally Dilbert. Whether that would change with increased numbers of women present I don't know. Nor do I know the effect it would have on any women who might try to change it.

One of the arguments against increased female participation in IT is that the mind-set for programming is representative of the 'male brain'. It's the idea that programming is a logical, mathematical, rigorous vocation that's best suited to socially inhibited, borderline autistic minds. Which apparently means men. Hmm... thanks for nothing. Such people might be over-represented in the IT industry, but correlation does not imply causation.

Source: IDG Connect