It is with great pride that I have recently accepted a Board position with the non-profit organization Women In Tech (WIT), Portland. WIT is an organization that focuses on creating woman-friendly networking and mentorship opportunities, recognizing that the endemic culture of technology leaves a lot to be desired.
My kid is a year and a half old. She is accumulating language at a startling rate. A few weeks ago, she started saying “no.” No has quickly become her favorite word. She uses it to mean everything from “I’d prefer to have sugar, please,” to “get that toothbrush away from me.” Sometimes she really means no, but when she really really means it, she doesn’t say the word. She behaves no by turning her head, or, worse, swatting the offending thing away.
I recently read an article written on the craft of software development and that got me thinking about how we as a society prepare our citizens for their careers. The gold standard for getting into a great career has been our university system for decades, if not centuries.
A number of industries are going through a skills gap crisis - or are looking down the barrel of one. In manufacturing, an aging workforce means that in the next 10 years retirement will free up 3.5 million jobs - and because of the skills gap, 2 million of them will likely go unfilled.
This scenario is not limited to manufacturing and yet the root cause is the same. These industries have not managed their workforce pipeline with a long term plan.
As anyone who has read a blog post from me over the past two years knows, I am passionate about creating jobs in the software industry. Over 5 million manufactuering jobs have been lost in the United States alone since the year 2000 and no industry since has been able to keep pace with the creation of middle-income jobs needed to offset this massive loss.
We've written in the past about how to select an ethical software vendor, and our commitment to our customers. Every good vendor should have a code of ethics that center around customer success. Not only is it good for long term business, but it attracts team members who really care about the work they do, and the people they do it for.
A few weeks ago, I joined some of my Toads at the first TechTown Change Agents, an event put on by Portland Development Commission to talk about how we can bring diversity, inclusion, and equity to our workplaces. One of the most interesting conversations revolved around the topic of culture. What makes up a company’s culture? How can a company show their culture?
Anyone with a child under the age of 19 knows that "anyone can cook." Thanks to Ratatouille and the folks at Pixar, a whole generation of chefs has been inspired and emboldened. As someone working in the software industry, I have a similar vision and it is this: anyone can program.