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.
I've been going around town giving a talk on the history of women in computers. During my research, I came across so very many names of women who had made indelible marks on the history of computing that I'd never heard before. I decided that for my inaugural blog post at Metal Toad (Yes, I know I've been here for like over a year now. What? I've been busy!) I would love to do a blog series about these amazing software pioneers who just happen to be women.
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.
There is a saying that is growing in popularity in business: "every company is a software company". If salaries and job opportunities are a good gauge for the truth of this statement, then it is indeed true.
Metal Toad demonstrates its commitment to diversity in many ways. Around Portland, the Toads support causes and organizations that strive to trim in the disparate gap between minorities and the tech personnel landscape. On February 18th, 2016, we opened our doors to the Women Who Code (WWC) Portland Chapter. WWC is a national non-profit dedicated to inspiring women to excel in technology careers. Anyone at any level of involvement in tech is welcome to their events, provided they respect WWC’s code of conduct.
This summer, Metal Toad signed up for the Portland Tech Diversity pledge along with 16 other companies here in town. This is a first step toward addressing the significant gender and ethnicity gap that exists in Silicon Valley and elsewhere in the tech industry. In Portland, the general population is heavily white and the diversity within Portland tech companies is whiter still.
Let me start by getting this out of the way and speaking frankly about being a female professional working in technology. There are very few of us, like unicorns really. We are growing in numbers everyday which in inspiring to see, but this still a reality of the profession. Now as for me, I'm a seasoned female (over 35), hispanic, with a kid, and in technology! Eek!
I know, I know its hard to believe. How do I survive??! LOL!
Metal Toad Mentorship Saturdays are a place for people of all skill levels and development disciplines to get help and advice on their careers and projects.
It was born out of Metal Toad University where I taught a 12 week course teaching the very basics of development. My motivation back then - and today - was simply to help others start or progress in the field of web development. It evolved from the class to this group. I find that the individual attention I'm able to give to each participant to be much more helpful than the classes were.
All developers know the feeling of accomplishment that comes with completing a tricky section of code. To me that feeling is a distant second to the accomplishment felt when teaching someone else the joys of this hobby/career that I hold so dear. This past weekend (Jan. 26th & 27th, 2013) Portland State University graciously hosted the Chicktech High School Workshop where I had the privilege of being on a team that introduced an entire lab full of high school age young women to Drupal.