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Not Enough Women In Computing, Or Too Many Men? 686

Posted by timothy
from the rational-choices dept.
itwbennett writes "Do geeks really 'drive girls out of computer science,' as the headline of a LiveScience article contends? Blogger Cameron Laird doesn't think so. In fact, 'I don't think "gender issues in computing" is important enough to merit the attention it gets,' says Laird in a recent post. And maybe the problem isn't that there are too few women in computing, but that there are too many men. 'I'm waiting to read the headline: "Women too smart for careers with computers,"' says Laird, 'where another researcher concludes that only "boys" are stupid enough to go into a field that's globally-fungible, where entry-level salaries are declining, and it's common to think that staying up all night for a company-paid pizza is a good deal.'"
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Not Enough Women In Computing, Or Too Many Men?

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  • too many everyone (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 17, 2009 @05:00PM (#30478970)

    I need a job.

  • by eldavojohn (898314) * <[moc.liamg] [ta] [nhojovadle]> on Thursday December 17, 2009 @05:02PM (#30478988) Journal
    One calm, level headed discussion about the disparity of genders in the world of computer science where everyone agrees on the solution with no emotions, personal anecdotes, gender studies, centuries of suffrage, accusations, cherry picked statistics, flamebait quotes from message boards, reverse sexism or chauvinistic undertones trumpeted.

    Yep, this one sounds like it might be even as tame as your average climategate discussion.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      Yep, this one sounds like it might be even as tame as your average climategate discussion.

      If there's one thing geeks are good at, it's picking a postition and sticking to it no matter what. No matter what side is taken, the geek can provide solid -- or at least superficially solid -- evidence to support his take and can continue to argue it, indefinitely if so required, regardless of the course of the argument.

      When it comes to topics with any level of subjectivity or doubt, geek arguments become farcical. W

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        To return to the topic, my own personal opinion is that the amount of women in computer science has more to do with cultural reasons than biological ones. My undergraduate mathematics course has a gender ratio of about 50/50, and indeed has for several years. Given that computer science is mathematics, I'm then inclined to believe that there are others factors than biology at play.

        I think there are two separate and very distinct questions here:

        1. Are women avoiding CS solely (or primarily) for cultural reasons ("conditioning")?

        2. Is it something that actually needs fixing?

        My answer to #1 would be "yes". My answer to #2 is "not by itself". To expand, any discrimination on any factor in learning and employment should definitely be rooted out, and discriminating on gender is no exception. But voluntary choice (even under "conditioning" by the culture we're all raised in) should be respe

  • Yeah right (Score:3, Insightful)

    by iamacat (583406) on Thursday December 17, 2009 @05:02PM (#30478998)

    It's still a great field with good salary, sane work hours and prospects for advancements. It's just not as compelling as during dot com boom. Women should stop making excuses and go into any good field they like.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Trepidity (597)

      Are there really? I don't know of many well-paying tech jobs with "sane work hours", at least the way most fields define the term (40-hour weeks, only weekend/overtime work when there's emergencies, and emergencies don't happen every month).

    • Re:Yeah right (Score:4, Insightful)

      by e2d2 (115622) on Thursday December 17, 2009 @06:10PM (#30480090)

      More like people should stop trying to make the whole world average. If a particular field has more men in it, who cares?

      This just in, there are more female babysitters than males. Oh no, we have a babysitter gender gap!

      Why does everything on the planet have to be "fair" in a way that's really not fair at all because it's actually just a contrived view of how "things should be" in some fantasy? And a better question, when are going to stand up to such nonsense and reject the whole premise that the world should be a statistical average reflecting a cross-section of all society?

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Duradin (1261418)

        Everyone knows that a male babysitter would have raped the kids, the family dog and a few inanimate objects before you even got out of your driveway. It should be criminal to even suggest using a male babysitter! </sarcasm>

        • Re:Yeah right (Score:5, Insightful)

          by DavidTC (10147) <slas45dxsvadiv...vadiv@@@neverbox...com> on Thursday December 17, 2009 @06:43PM (#30480584) Homepage

          Indeed. You want to look at the last place institutional discrimination is tolerated by society, go ask a man in a 'working with young children' profession.

          • Re:Yeah right (Score:5, Interesting)

            by mosb1000 (710161) <mosb1000@mac.com> on Thursday December 17, 2009 @08:12PM (#30481482)
            That's no joke. My church was having a father's weekend camp-out, and they asked me if I could attend to help take care of some of the children of single moms. I like to work with children so of course I went. While we were there someone told my pastor that they were concerned that I might be a pedophile for no other reason than the simple fact that I was there. And I was there with dozens of other fathers. Seriously? Unbelievable.

            People really need to read up on sexual abuse, (and other forms of child abuse) because it really is a serious problem. But unfounded paranoia about men is not the solution to the problem. If you are are curious about what can be done to prevent abuse, the BSA has some good guidelines (http://olc.scouting.org/info/ypt.html). The only thing I have a problem with is their instructions to contact responsible individuals at the BSA before contacting child protective services. That is obviously intended primarily to maintain a clean image for the BSA, and it's disgraceful that they've suggested/recommended it.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by definate (876684)

        There are also more women in HR, Payroll and Marketing. These are female dominated areas of business. There's a 50/50 split (roughly) in accounting and similar.

        I don't know why people have this unrealistic view of equality meaning "everybody is equally distributed amongst everything", whether it's wealth, skill, or employment.

        It's completely unrealistic and when they attempt to achieve these goals through policies (communism, no child left behind, equal opportunity laws, respectively), they fail dismally.

        Do

    • Re:Yeah right (Score:4, Insightful)

      by bolthole (122186) on Thursday December 17, 2009 @06:14PM (#30480136) Journal

      And that's exactly it. Women dont WANT to go into the field, because they dont generally LIKE it.
      It's the feminists who are making excuses. On the other hand, I think the majority of women, dont give a damn there are less women "in computing".

      and those who do, get a job in the field. Simple, but "un-politically correct".
      Oh, the horror.
      "Must.. deploy... PC.. mind-reajustment.. field..."

      Yes, there are some trashy insensitive guys in CS. but there are in EVERY OTHER field too!
      So just get over the fact that there are more guys in computing than women. and go complain about something else. Like how maybe elementary school education is dominated by women.
      yes, the pay is poor. But if anyone thinks making the pay equal to the average CS job, would magically even out the numbers.. they're nuts.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by RobertM1968 (951074)

        I hate to say it, but if the number of women who show interest in and pursue these fields in high school and college is any indication, then bolthole is correct.

        There will forever be a disparity in the number of men vs the number of women in this field if there is such a small number of women who show interest in getting into it.

        There is nothing stopping a woman from entering college in the CompSci and related fields, yet the disparity is quite large. Thus, if 95 of every hundred college grads is male,

      • Re:Yeah right (Score:5, Insightful)

        by cecille (583022) on Thursday December 17, 2009 @08:17PM (#30481544)

        It's the feminists who are making excuses

        I'm not sure I agree with your whole post, but I have to give you props for this quote here. I'm a women in computer engineering and honestly, the place I feel the most uncomfortable is around so-called feminists. In university I avoided the women's center like the plague because every time I went in there with my eng books or wearing an engineering sweater or anything I always got the LOOK and a lecture about how I was just as bad as all the rest of those engineers and why are our songs so disgusting and blah blah blah.

        There's sort of a delicious irony about someone claiming they are this huge feminist and then going into women's studies, the MOST un-evenly gender balanced and stereotypically female subject available and then having the gall to give me shit for singing stupid songs and drinking too much beer. You want to fix the gender balance in computer engineering? Well, the computer is right over there, stop doing stupid sociology studies and learn to code.

        • Re:Yeah right (Score:4, Insightful)

          by Runaway1956 (1322357) * on Friday December 18, 2009 @12:07AM (#30483442) Homepage Journal

          Ditto what Bolthole said. There are female soldiers, sailors, police, electricians, you name it. A programmer has the advantage that they can mostly remain anonymous, if they don't want their bodies and/or personalities put on public display. Anything a man can do, a woman can do, with VERY few exceptions, and often enough, better. That is, IF they just decide to do it.

          Truck driving, for instance. It's a tough job, it takes you into some dangerous places, and it is dangerous in and of itself. Women have been driving for YEARS - and fleet controllers will readily tell you that they LIKE women drivers. Their equipment requires much less maintenance than male drivers, and they tend to get into fewer accidents.

          Female cops have an advantage over their male counterparts. I got into an altercation in Chicago years ago. This lady cop was trying to calm me down, and put her hand on my upper arm, and chatted away. Some DUDE putting his hands on me would have made me more defensive - but when SHE did that, I started realizing how attractive she was, and LISTENED to her. Sexist? Yeah - but it works, and she knew how to make it work.

          Ehhh. Whatever a person wants to do, they just need to get off their ass, and DO IT!!!

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Vexar (664860)
          Yay! You are like a few of my female associates in the field. Please give strong consideration to speak at grade schools about your career. You are the kind of leader that young women need. I admire your spirit and accomplishments. Please don't ever lose sight of that. I suspect you don't even need the encouragement, but I'm writing it anyway. Feminists are not suffragettes.
  • by snspdaarf (1314399) on Thursday December 17, 2009 @05:02PM (#30479000)
    Company-paid pizza and a soda, or fix it yourself.
  • by Fantom42 (174630) on Thursday December 17, 2009 @05:03PM (#30479020)

    Cue the moral outrage for a person promulgating deragatory gender stereotypes.

    Wait, it is a woman? Nevermind.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      My girlfriend was offered a full scholarship into engineering/computing and turned it down. I went in. She decided to do biology and then med school, she paid it all. Now she makes 4 times what I make.

      Yes, I do agree, she made the smart decision. But I choose to defend my decision of engineering/computers with the reasoning: I enjoy what I do, It's my hobby. She cannot do the same, while she enjoys her job, she isn't as enthusiastic about it as I am. She can't break out the knife and do surgery at home. Wel

      • by jcr (53032) <jcr@NOsPAM.mac.com> on Thursday December 17, 2009 @05:24PM (#30479402) Journal

        Many of the 'regular' guys never went to university, and it is them who are diluting the wages.

        I'm calling bullshit on that. I didn't get a degree, and neither did a lot of other people I know who are pulling in higher-level salaries. I've seen plenty of Java monkeys who got their ticket punched but were at a complete loss to write something that had nothing to do with their coursework, though.

        -jcr

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by butlerm (3112)

          If the university you received a CS/CE degree from didn't bother to make sure you learned C or C++ or a similarly low level language to a reasonable degree of competency, taught you what is necessary to write a device driver or other system code, basic assembly language, and how to implement a compiler, (among other things) your degree is probably not worth the paper it is printed on - assuming you want a job in the real world, that is.

          This is a *big* problem.

      • by refactored (260886) <cyentNO@SPAMxnet.co.nz> on Thursday December 17, 2009 @05:36PM (#30479626) Homepage Journal
        She can't break out the knife and do surgery at home....

        Just don't piss her off Mr Bobbit.

    • A woman named Jeanna Bryner wrote the original article, entitled "Geeks Drive Girls Out of Computer Science" (1st link), which is arguing the fairly standard point, that women are turned away from CS due to a male-dominated geek culture. The reply, from a male blogger named Cameron Laird (2nd link), argues the opposite, that women are too smart to go into computing.

  • I am seeing it. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by DaveV1.0 (203135) on Thursday December 17, 2009 @05:04PM (#30479030) Journal

    The items he mentions are part of the reason I am trying to get out of IT.

    IT workers are getting smaller and smaller salaries, having to compete with H1-Bs and out-of-country workers, have to deal with job scope creep, idiot managers, and expected to give up any semblance of work/life balance just to keep up.

    It has gotten to the point where working in IT just isn't worth it because the positions just aren't respected.

    • Re:I am seeing it. (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Captain Splendid (673276) <capsplendid&gmail,com> on Thursday December 17, 2009 @05:12PM (#30479192) Homepage Journal
      And you know what? Tough shit. I love how on slashdot everybody's quite happy to take the RIAA/MPAA to task for trying to enshrine their business model into law, but this is similar: Along a long enough timeline, everything gets commoditized, and IT workers are no exception.

      As for respect, please. management doesn't give a shit about anybody, what makes you so special?
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by RajivSLK (398494)

        Along a long enough timeline, everything gets commoditized, and IT workers are no exception.

        Not true. Some groups form professional organizations and rake in the big bucks by making it difficult for others to join and compete. Lawyers, Doctors, Nurses, Pharmacists, Engineers are a few that have to certified by various professional organizations before one is allowed to practice.

        • Re:I am seeing it. (Score:5, Interesting)

          by Captain Splendid (673276) <capsplendid&gmail,com> on Thursday December 17, 2009 @06:22PM (#30480266) Homepage Journal
          Not true. Some groups form professional organizations and rake in the big bucks by making it difficult for others to join and compete. Lawyers, Doctors, Nurses, Pharmacists, Engineers are a few that have to certified by various professional organizations before one is allowed to practice.

          Interesting point. I guess IT workers, tending towards more libertarian/anarcho-capitalist viewpoints, can't get their shit together then?
      • It's not the same. (Score:3, Insightful)

        by CountBrass (590228)
        The government should work for the good of it's citizens: that *should* be it's sole purpose.

        Letting H1-Bs into the country works directly against this, regardless of any (often fraudulent) claim that there is a short-term shortage.

        We're supposed to be in a market economy - shortages of skills should result in increasing wages and an increased incentive for employers to train staff. Yet whenever the market begins to move in that direction the government starts shipping in the foreigners: which only benefits
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Denial93 (773403)

          We're still in a market economy, except the market is now the planet. Consequently, the value of skills in transferable jobs has been falling for at least a decade. Don't blame the government for your failure to adapt.

          Instead, recognize the trend and invest your self-improvement time in areas that are growing in value. I recommend customization, education and/or cost-benefit analysis in any complex field with long-term growth prospects.

        • by JesseMcDonald (536341) on Thursday December 17, 2009 @07:51PM (#30481278) Homepage

          The government is hardly "shipping in the foreigners". Their normal involvement consists of forcibly keeping said foreigners out, which works directly against the market economy by maintaining artificially high prices for labor. On occasion, when they deign to notice a shortage of certain skills, they reduce their interference in the market economy and graciously permit a few more well-qualified foreigners to immigrate.

          I'd be the first to admit that their policy as a whole favors certain influential individuals—e.g. shareholders of large corporations—over others, but the solution to that inequality consistent with our market economy is not to further block immigration by refusing H1-Bs, but rather to remove the requirement for H1-Bs entirely, permitting free and open immigration. Naturally this would require that the current welfare system to be significantly reduced in scope, if not eliminated entirely; otherwise the existing citizens would be forced to subsidize the new immigrants' "benefits", a most unjust circumstance. Any nation with open borders, as ours was intended to be, must insist that individuals pay their own way (not counting private, voluntary support, e.g. charity).

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by roju (193642)

            You could just have socialized support structures vest over time rather than reducing them entirely.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by roju (193642)

          Except that what gave the States its huge (but diminishing) lead in science and tech was encouraging immigration. Closing the border is only going to cause all the smart people to aggregate elsewhere.

    • Re:I am seeing it. (Score:5, Informative)

      by dave562 (969951) on Thursday December 17, 2009 @05:13PM (#30479208) Journal

      I agree with you for IT workers. On the other hand, if you've been in IT for a while and have any management ability or the inclination to do consulting, the ability to make a good living still exists. I can't speak for the life of a corporate IT drone, but life in the small / medium business sector is thriving. There are a lot of businesses out there that appreciate the necessity of having a stable IT foundation. With the economic downturn there is more competition for the contracts, but if you're skilled and have a history of success behind you, the work is available. My last employer replaced me with two people when I left in 2006 and he hasn't had to lay any of them off despite the "Greatest economic downturn since the Great Depression".

      The greatest change I've seen is the shift to outsourcing and consulting. The ability to have a successful, long term IT career at a single employer is probably further away than it has ever been. But if a person is willing to do contract work, there is work aplenty. Just check dice.com if you don't believe me. I have my resume posted and even though I'm working full time, I still get a couple of calls a month from recruiters who are looking to fill positions.

  • Oh please... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 17, 2009 @05:07PM (#30479076)

    Can we get over this whole sexism bullshit already? Who gives a damn if women don't work in IT? If a woman wants to do something in IT, fine. If she doesn't, fine. If you want to look for gender-based discrimination, look elsewhere.

    • Re:Oh please... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by david_thornley (598059) on Thursday December 17, 2009 @05:40PM (#30479668)

      Well, we know that there is sexism in the workplace in spots, and we know there aren't many women in IT. That is prima facie reason to suspect there may be sexism involved, and to investigate if we're actually interested.

      Ideally, this would be examined in a calm, mature way exactly like the typical Slashdot discussion isn't.

      • Re:Oh please... (Score:4, Insightful)

        by story645 (1278106) <story645@gmail.com> on Thursday December 17, 2009 @05:59PM (#30479922) Journal

        That is prima facie reason to suspect there may be sexism involved, and to investigate if we're actually interested.

        But the original argument isn't playing the sexism card, it's just saying a male dominated environment turns off women. Makes sense, some people don't like the big ole arrow that gets placed on them if they're the only "other" in the room. More so with geek boy culture, which plays up the "can't get laid, fantasize about any with breasts" stereotype. If I hadn't spent my entire life hanging out with boys, I'd also probably be quesy about working in a hard core programming shop. I was watching G4 the other day, and the "booth babes" documentary just so perfectly encapsulated the female perspective on a certain type of geek that's expected to be a programmer. So actually, the lack of females in comp sci may be more do to sexism against males then against females.

        • "it's just saying a male dominated environment turns off women"

          That would have been the situation with most jobs during most of human history.

          It is the typical "blame the victim" mentality, putting the onus of improvement on the oppressed part rather than the oppressor. Truly despicable frankly.

          Any men worth the name should be doing soul searching instead of trying to find excuses for the unacceptable low amount of women in certain careers.

          .

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by story645 (1278106)

            It is the typical "blame the victim" mentality, putting the onus of improvement on the oppressed part rather than the oppressor. Truly despicable frankly.

            As a girl in engineering, I really do know how awful it is. I've been the sole girl on a team, told that I'm not a female 'cause I'm useful, lost faith in guys 'cause of the locker room talk, couldn't go to a competition 'cause a prof didn't want to pay for an extra hotel room, and otherwise had my fair share of the drama. I'm first in line to try and recruit more girls in my field, 'cause it's damn lonely sometimes. I was just making the point that it's an environment issue, not active sexism. Hell, when w

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Yvanhoe (564877)
      Agreed, I am tired of this old troll coming over and over. All the women that I know working in IT have been saying that this was one of the less sexist work environment they knew (yes, they knew other work environment). It just doesn't attract girl at the school level. It is not the proportion of girls working in IT that is low, it is the proportion of girls who graduate in IT.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by radtea (464814)

      Who gives a damn if women don't work in IT?

      Men who work in IT, who should be asking themselves what is so terrible about IT careers that women, who are filling the ranks of doctors and lawyers with wild abandon, won't go near them.

      If a job really sucks--especially if it can get you killed--it is done predominantly by men.

      We are society that holds the call of "Men last!" to be honourable and good. It is usually phrased as "Everyone who is not a man first!" Or more specifically "Women and children first!"

  • by managerialslime (739286) on Thursday December 17, 2009 @05:11PM (#30479164) Journal

    I've been taking my 18 year old to tour colleges as he will be pursuing chemical engineering. Engineering starting salaries across the board (chemical, civil, mechanical, and electrical) are between $50 and $70k.

    The solution for many comp sci students is to double major comp sci with one of the above "demand" areas, pass the professional engineering exam, and then the money issue is a non issue. Computer skills are now part and parcel of every engineering profession, so getting paid well to do what you love (if you love computers) should not be difficult.

    The challenge for people hell-bent on starting their careers as programmers (as opposed to computer engineers) seems to be that starting programmers are not worth as much.

    [By the way, the number of girls on his engineering tours seem to be between 10% and 20%. In other words, nothing there is changing. My son's solution to the ratio issue is to attend a large university where there are more female students overall.]

  • Stupid enough? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Cruciform (42896) on Thursday December 17, 2009 @05:13PM (#30479206) Homepage

    "where another researcher concludes that only "boys" are stupid enough to go into a field that's globally-fungible, where entry-level salaries are declining, and it's common to think that staying up all night for a company-paid pizza is a good deal.'"

    Does the job pay your bills at an acceptable standard of living?
    Are you doing what you are good at?
    Are you having fun?

    If the answers above are all yes, then who gives a fuck what some researcher thinks.

  • Garbage men.. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by RightSaidFred99 (874576) on Thursday December 17, 2009 @05:15PM (#30479242)

    Odd we don't see many stories about the global shortage in female garbage collectors. Or janitors. And isn't a little bit 90's to go with the whole "Whoah, those powerful women are just too smart to go into computers! Girl powa!". It's not going to get you laid, I promise. Computers are a good field compared to most regardless of declining salaries or anything else.

    Women aren't in computers because they tend not to be interested in it. Whether this is socialization or genetics or some mixture is up for debate, and of course there are exceptions but we see the ratio of men to women in computing because men are interested in or gifted in computing at a ratio higher than women.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by CodeBuster (516420)

      but we see the ratio of men to women in computing because men are interested in or gifted in computing at a ratio higher than women.

      Working in computing requires a certain amount of rational and logical thinking as well as the ability to grasp complex abstractions and juggle multiple constructs simultaneously in the short term memory. At the risk of sounding politically incorrect, these traits are much more common in men and even then mostly in particular personality types (not every man is cut out to work in computing either). Finally there is a certain minimum intelligence score required to grasp the complex incantations required for

  • Are you kidding? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by orngjce223 (1505655) on Thursday December 17, 2009 @05:25PM (#30479416)

    I am a girl. Being on call all day and all night / programming until mentally exhausted / etc. is not something I am willing to do. So yeah, I'm going into teaching. EVEN THOUGH I AM A GEEK. Thanks for telling me what the working conditions were in the field, Slashdot - you made the decision that much simpler.

    • Just be warned (Score:3, Informative)

      by Sycraft-fu (314770)

      Teaching is hard work, low pay, and often very thankless. My mom was a teacher for about 25 years and I really wouldn't wish that on anyone. While it is the sort of thing that certain people thrive in, particularly those that are very caring and have a "Save the world" mentality, I think most skilled people would be better off doing something else. The pay is just not in line with other jobs requiring a master's level of education. Now that might be ok if it were easy work, but it isn't. Teachers have tons

    • by scubamage (727538) on Thursday December 17, 2009 @06:29PM (#30480358)

      I complain about all of those things. Except one day I was hit by a realization at 4am while trying to get a workstation to function: "Hey, I could be getting paid for this." See a lot of us in IT do it, despite all of our bitching and moaning, because we really do love it. We love computers, we love technology, we love being the go-to-people whenever anything that goes "BEEP!" with flashy lights isn't working quite right. We wish we got more respect, and we wish we were better compensated. But then again, who doesn't? Who ever says, "Man, I just make TOO MUCH money!" I work on call hours, and yes it does suck. However the fact remains that the first thing I do when I get home is sit down at my computer. I'm still up til 2am (or later) working on computers. The only difference between that and being on call is that we don't have the control we normally do. But we're still doing the same work. We do it because we love it, even though we say we hate it. Its just one of those things we love to hate.

      If you're going to get scared away by the negative parts, take a hard look at how you spend your time now. If you're working on computers all the time, and you enjoy making them work, fixing them, etc, then don't run away quite so fast. If you're a programmer, the same point stands. I left the comp sci department in college because the professor demanded we be in the lab 80+ hours a week. I thought he was crazy. Thing is, every programmer I've met spends easily 80 hours a week programming. Sometimes more. I see them literally pull 48 hour shifts, stopping only briefly to take catnaps without leaving their chairs. They do it because its their passion and there's nothing else they'd rather be doing. Its not like they're hourly. The prof was just weeding out the people who weren't really cut out for it, and he saved me a lot of time, energy, and frustration. Hell, maybe a trip to the psych ward too. It comes down to this: if its what you love, you learn to take the bad along with the good. Don't let other people warp your perspective.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by GeckoAddict (1154537)

      Thanks for telling me what the working conditions were in the field, Slashdot - you made the decision that much simpler.

      Trusting slashdot for accurate working conditions is a poor idea. Being on call is reserved for IT pros who maintain something 24/7. There's plenty of Computing jobs that don't require such extreme working conditions.

      For example, I work for a Fortune 100 company doing software engineering (writing requirements, designs, some coding, maintenance, etc). I work 40 hrs a week and go home. If (for some reason), I have to stay late one day, I leave early on another. Most of the time, I'm not forced to sta

  • by greymond (539980) on Thursday December 17, 2009 @05:46PM (#30479754) Homepage Journal

    Fortunately their is a comment on the blog that has some interesting insight...

    http://www.itworld.com/tictacns [itworld.com]

    Not enough Women in Tech

    I believe this may be the article that MSNBC was referring to:

    http://uwnews.washington.edu/ni/article.asp?articleID=54341 [washington.edu]

    "It was brought to my attention in an ACM (Association for Computing Machinery) newsletter.

    My opinion is that Tech is a tool, a means to get from point A to point B, like a car. I think women want to be the travelers, using Tech to achieve their goals and using the auto industry analogy, they generally do not want to be the mechanics. When we hear about tech, we usually hear about the techies/mechanics, we do not hear about the many other skills that the tech industry requires to thrive and people tend to not pursue things they are not aware of."

    That.

    Prior to the tech inovations of computers and the internet, we had cars and trains as the feets of an earlier generation where the people who were most into building and working on hotrods were men, but many mechanics have ladies who loved their vets and mustangs. People who have fascination with trains have mostly seemed to come from men as well, though many woman use them as a means of transportation and wouldn't think twice about hopping on a trolly, light rail or subway, though they don't care about how it works, just that it does. To some degree this affects many sciences...

    Perhaps this says somethign more about differences between men and women...

  • by ebbomega (410207) on Thursday December 17, 2009 @05:49PM (#30479816) Journal

    Too many misters, Not enough sisters
    Too much time on, too many hands
    Not enough ladies, too many mans

  • Not again (Score:3, Insightful)

    by DaFallus (805248) on Thursday December 17, 2009 @06:07PM (#30480054)
    Not this bullshit again. We all know that women can do whatever they want because they are superior to men in every way (except for bad things like starting wars and committing murder, then of course men are superior). </sarcasm>

    If there are less women in IT than men it is because the women want it that way. I think there were at most 5 women in my entire graduating class that were in the CS program. Most women (and to be fair, most people) just see computers as gadgets and expensive toys and don't really care about how they work on the inside. Again, just being honest here, most men get excited when you ask them about their plasma TV, surround sound, network setup, etc but I've never known any women that could be considered technophiles. I'm sure they exist, it just isn't as common.

    Another serious problem I've noticed is that there are not enough women working in construction. Living in Houston, I drive by a lot of construction throughout the city on a daily basis and I have never seen a single woman working at a construction site. Talk about a crisis!
  • by CountBrass (590228) on Thursday December 17, 2009 @06:11PM (#30480104)
    ...that in the 21st century we'd moved away from this kind of sexist nonsense.

    If there aren't as many women in computing ("enough women" is a nonsense term: what's "enough") then it's because women don't want to be in computing.
  • by Rastl (955935) on Thursday December 17, 2009 @06:42PM (#30480564) Journal

    How often does this have to be said? Yes, there are more men than women in IT. Why is that? Um, because?

    Disclaimer - I'm a woman and I've worked in the IT field for almost 20 years.

    Yes, I've found that in general IT is a boy's club. I'm used to being the only woman in the group. And I'm used to the crap that I have to put up with being the only woman. I've been ignored, talked over, dismissed (well, they tried that), and generally excluded. It happens. Grow a pair.

    No one is going to go out of their way to make women feel all warm and cozy. So you can't use traditional female tactics to carve out your place. And unfortunately that's what most women fall back on when faced with a difficult situation.

    My way of making things tolerable is to take my place on the totem pole relatively early on. I watch the personalities and, sad to say, make the weakest one my bitch. Once I do that then I'm on my way to acceptance. It's how they play, it's how I have to play. YMMV

    I've mentored women in IT and it isn't pretty. But if they learn a few tricks they can at least stay long enough to find out if they like the work and can work in the environment.

    • by dirkdodgers (1642627) on Thursday December 17, 2009 @08:02PM (#30481382)

      In other words, the best advice for your first day in an IT job is the same advice as for your first day in prison.

      How does that go over with women at job fairs?

    • by BeanThere (28381) on Thursday December 17, 2009 @09:19PM (#30482206)

      No one is going to go out of their way to make women feel all warm and cozy.

      Noone does it for men either. Men generally treat each other like crap, and all men get ignored, talked over, dismissed etc. until they prove themselves. Women often mistake 'equal treatment' for sexism.

    • by QuantumG (50515) * <qg@biodome.org> on Thursday December 17, 2009 @10:27PM (#30482774) Homepage Journal

      Umm.. yeah, I'm a male in IT and have been for 14 years and I've been ignored, talked over, dismissed, and generally excluded too. Geeks do that. The difference between you and me is that you play games and I say "whatever dickweed" and get on with my job.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by slimjim8094 (941042)

      the crap that I have to put up with being the only woman.

      Don't kid yourself - that has nothing, or at least very little, to do with being a woman. Techies do that to each other - whether you're a man or a woman, it's how you're treated. Maybe it's because it's male-dominated, but it applies to everyone. Why should I care what someone thinks, unless they've convinced (or forced) me to respect them?

      I think it's similar with men in most every field. Guys don't tend to play games, or screw around, with people t

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 17, 2009 @07:23PM (#30480992)

    Many women are too smart to bother working, that is what men are for. The world works in such a way that women do not need to work, provided they are attractive to enough males. Women are taught this from an early age - hence why women mature socially years earlier than men (on average). Easily 50% of women are "kept" in this way, unless they choose to work or are really ugly or have other deficiencies according to men. From age 18 - 33 or so, women have tremendous power over men based on appearance alone.

    OTOH, males are trained from an early age that if you want a woman (and all that entails), you need to have a high paying job, power or both. The better the job, the better the woman you will likely attract. Better can mean all sorts of things - family, status, beauty, smarter, fertile, cute, famous, etc. There's almost zero chance of a man being "kept" although I'll keep trying.

  • by kria (126207) <roleplayer DOT carrie AT gmail DOT com> on Friday December 18, 2009 @10:11AM (#30486662) Journal

    I admit, my data is a little stale - I graduated HS/College in 95/99.

    I work at a defense contractor. There's a little bit of sexism that seems to be primarily from older former military types, where I think it's less that I'm a female programmer than I'm a female programmer working on artillery software. And the one time that I overheard a co-worker who got passed over for promotion in favor of me comment that to get his promotion he would have to change his gender.

    In college, I was in the first class of women that they admitted. (It was an all engineering and science university.) To placate people, they accepted additional students equal to the number of women so that no one would whine that they could have gotten in, if it weren't for those girls. The most sexism I had to put up with was actually from my Psych prof, of all people. Other than that, I think the divide was more between the merely-geeky-enough-to-go-there and the ubergeek types. Anyway, they opened up their pool of applicants and the average GPA went up quite a bit.

    I was very lucky; we had conversations about this in college, given our environment. I knew someone who's own father didn't want her to go to college because "you'll just get married and waste all that learning". We all had to deal with teasing in high school, etc, but it's difficult to tell if it's the same as what other geeks went through, or worse for women. Personal experiences are difficult to compare.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by DutchUncle (826473)
      Male,Rensselaer 1976. There were girls whose fathers were engineers (or other technical types) and were happy their daughters took after them; there were also both girls and guys whose fathers were engineers and thought their kids were nuts for going into the field. And I do remember one girl whose parents had cut her off financially precisely because her father figured it was stupid for a girl to get an education at all; at least her mother hoped it was a good environment to meet "someone promising". (

Thus spake the master programmer: "After three days without programming, life becomes meaningless." -- Geoffrey James, "The Tao of Programming"

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