An Open Letter to Brogrammers

Computer programming is a tough job. It’s not for the faint of heart or the fair of sex. It’s grueling, high-stress work, demanding that you sit on a comfortable chair in an air-conditioned office for hours on end, typing on a keyboard while looking at a monitor. Women just aren’t rugged enough for that.

Plus, as everyone knows, women can’t code. At best, they can maybe contribute in their small way to large open-source projects, but really, they’re much better suited for accessorizing PowerPoint presentations written by real coders. Manly coders.

If this is the world you live in, bro, I’m afraid I have some really bad news for you.

I’d like to introduce you to someone. This is Augusta Ada King, Countess of Lovelace. She was a lady’s lady, an aristocrat who lived in the 1800s and who did all of the things young women of noble birth did back then–danced, wrote poetry, and penned long flowery letters to her tutor.

She also wrote the world’s first computer program in 1842, in the margins of a technical document she was translating from Italian into English.

Yes, you read that right. Ada was so fucking baller she wrote code before computers had even been invented. You think you’re hardcore because you can use agile development strategies to link a big data repository to a high-performance querying front end without SQL? Pfaff. This woman invented coding before there was anything to code on.

And then there’s this woman, who could kick your ass sideways, steal your lunch, and then fart out code better than anything you’ll ever be capable of if you live to be a thousand years old.

This is “Amazing” Grace Hopper. She took leave from Vassar to join the Navy, where she invented or helped invent the entirety of all modern computer science, including nearly every wimpy-ass tool your wimpy ass laughingly refers to as “coding.” Compared to her, you’re nothing but a little kid playing with Tinker toys. Tinker toys she invented, by the way.

Yeah, I know, I know. You think you’re all badass and shit because you can get your hands right down there and compile a custom Linux kernel with your own task scheduler that reduces overhead for context changes by 16%, and…

Ha, ha, ha, ha, you are just so cute! It’s absolutely precious how you think that’s hardcore. That kind of shit is duck soup. Seriously, no-brains-required duck fucking soup compared to what she did. That C compiler you love so much? Grace Hopper invented the whole idea of writing code in a language that isn’t machine code and then compiling it to something that is. She was the one who came up with the notion of a “compiler” (and wrote the very first one ever), pausing along the way to invent code testing and profiling.

Thanks to her, you’re living in the lap of luxury. you can write code without having to know the exact DRAM timing. You have conditional branches and loops–neither of which existed when she started programming the Harvard Mark 1. (She made loops by taking long strips of paper tape and, no shit, taping their ends together to get the computer to execute the same code again.)

You want to see hardcore programming? I’ll show you hardcore programming:

This is what real hardcore coders do. No compilers, no syntax checkers, just a teletype machine and a bunch of fucking switches that change the computer’s memory and registers directly.

And you know what? For her, that was luxury. She and all the other early computer programmers–almost all of whom were women, by the way–started out programming by plugging patch cords into plugboards, because that’s how they rolled, motherfucker. Fuck keyboards, fuck front-panel switches…those things were soft. If you wanted to code back then, you needed a postgraduate degree in mathematics, an intimate understanding of every single component inside the computer, and the ability to route data with your bare fucking hands.

Grace Hopper was so badass that when she retired from the military, Congress passed a special act to bring her back. Twice. And then when she retired for real (for the third time), the Navy named a guided missile destroyer after her.

Trust me when I say you will never be this badass, bro.

So the next time you see something like this:

and you think that girls can’t code, just remember girls invented coding. And invented the tools that finally let softies like you play at being programmers. They did the heavy lifting so programming could be easy enough for noobs like you.

138 thoughts on “An Open Letter to Brogrammers

  1. This is meta, but initially because of the hard top black-line, I thought that first pic was of a robot, and the lace was exposed circuitry underneath. I think it would have been cooler if it were. “Code like a cyborg with a weaponized waistline”.

  2. This is meta, but initially because of the hard top black-line, I thought that first pic was of a robot, and the lace was exposed circuitry underneath. I think it would have been cooler if it were. “Code like a cyborg with a weaponized waistline”.

  3. I support (and actually donate to) things like the Ada Initiative, precisely because of the type of attitudes that “justify” the sorts of ads you highlighted above. In particular, the open source world doesn’t seem to have gotten the same memo the rest of the corporate world got some time ago.

    I expect to find that sort of “boy’s club” thinking in a high school locker room, not in my professional life. (Not that “high school locker room” excuses it, but the reality is that the average 30 year old is generally more mature than the average 15 year old.)

    • <3 <3 <3 (we also have an allies branch of AdaCamp, coming up in June in Portland, co-located with the amazing Open Source Bridge... http://portland.adacamp.org/ hintity hint)

  4. I support (and actually donate to) things like the Ada Initiative, precisely because of the type of attitudes that “justify” the sorts of ads you highlighted above. In particular, the open source world doesn’t seem to have gotten the same memo the rest of the corporate world got some time ago.

    I expect to find that sort of “boy’s club” thinking in a high school locker room, not in my professional life. (Not that “high school locker room” excuses it, but the reality is that the average 30 year old is generally more mature than the average 15 year old.)

  5. I look at that first picture and I shudder. It actively repels me; I wouldn’t want to work there (and I’m glad I don’t use couchDB). I am so glad I don’t work in an environment where “bro-grammer” is considered a benefit. Sure, sure, we have arseholes. But they’re the exception, rather than the rule.

    My employer supports Girls Who Code. Last year I was asked to meet and chat with some of the NY coders over lunch. Umm.. what would I (a 40+ white Englishman) have to tell some 16 year old American woman? I actually refused, because I thought they’d really want women role models to chat with. But was told that they really wanted people like me. To be honest, I don’t think they really listened to me but, hey, if I managed to encourage someone (anyone!) to invest their future in this line of work then it was time well spent.

    • I actually refused, because I thought they’d really want women role models to chat with. But was told that they really wanted people like me.

      I think that one of the ideas that holds back progress in terms of gender parity is actually this idea that “role models” can only be people that hold some superficial surface resemblance to oneself. As a former girl I was always very confused by events presented as “look women are doing this science/engineering/math thing and someday that can be you!”. Well I did grow up to become an engineer but I never became a woman (genderqueer since around age 13 or so). I found my inspiration to go into engineering from a writeup on MIT’s hacking culture, which appealed to my sense of rebelliousness and fun (and the “role models” in question were all anonymous so they could be whoever I wanted them to be!)

      Is having women role models important? Absolutely – for some people that IS where they find their inspiration. But I think people draw their inspiration and their role models from a lot of different sources and that if the focus is only on one aspect, such as gender, it’s going to miss a lot of people.

      • Bingo. It seems crazy to me when I hear things like “we need more role models like xxx” – no, what we need is to revise our idea of a role model. Gender parity, racial parity, etc. to me is best achieved when we indicate in situations like jobs that it doesn’t matter – and that has to include that the role model doesn’t matter either.

        I recognize every day that *I* (male) am a role model for all 3 of my daughters. My wife (also an engineer) is, of course, also a role model, but our presentation of it has little difference between the two of us. We show them men and women, and people of all colors. We don’t call those items out, instead we call out their successes and what made them successful – THAT is the part that matters.

        When we say we need a *female* role model for girls, we enforce the idea that they should only accept cues from women. The same holds true for racial lines and items such a gay/straight/transgender/etc.. The picture I want to paint for my girls is that “If they did it, so can you” – not “if that female did it so can you.”

    • I really think it’s the exception nearly everywhere. I’ve been in the business for nearly 20 years and people like this are a rarity.

      Also, you can’t blame CouchDB for the actions of one of its users.

  6. I look at that first picture and I shudder. It actively repels me; I wouldn’t want to work there (and I’m glad I don’t use couchDB). I am so glad I don’t work in an environment where “bro-grammer” is considered a benefit. Sure, sure, we have arseholes. But they’re the exception, rather than the rule.

    My employer supports Girls Who Code. Last year I was asked to meet and chat with some of the NY coders over lunch. Umm.. what would I (a 40+ white Englishman) have to tell some 16 year old American woman? I actually refused, because I thought they’d really want women role models to chat with. But was told that they really wanted people like me. To be honest, I don’t think they really listened to me but, hey, if I managed to encourage someone (anyone!) to invest their future in this line of work then it was time well spent.

  7. I was very proud to be working for Digital Equipment when they hired Grace Hopper after her final retirement from the navy. She was always an inspiration !

    • So you are saying that after she retired from the Navy for the third time, she decided that she would spend her retirement going to the private sector and coding some more. That is how badass she was.

  8. I was very proud to be working for Digital Equipment when they hired Grace Hopper after her final retirement from the navy. She was always an inspiration !

  9. I actually refused, because I thought they’d really want women role models to chat with. But was told that they really wanted people like me.

    I think that one of the ideas that holds back progress in terms of gender parity is actually this idea that “role models” can only be people that hold some superficial surface resemblance to oneself. As a former girl I was always very confused by events presented as “look women are doing this science/engineering/math thing and someday that can be you!”. Well I did grow up to become an engineer but I never became a woman (genderqueer since around age 13 or so). I found my inspiration to go into engineering from a writeup on MIT’s hacking culture, which appealed to my sense of rebelliousness and fun (and the “role models” in question were all anonymous so they could be whoever I wanted them to be!)

    Is having women role models important? Absolutely – for some people that IS where they find their inspiration. But I think people draw their inspiration and their role models from a lot of different sources and that if the focus is only on one aspect, such as gender, it’s going to miss a lot of people.

  10. So you are saying that after she retired from the Navy for the third time, she decided that she would spend her retirement going to the private sector and coding some more. That is how badass she was.

  11. <3 <3 <3 (we also have an allies branch of AdaCamp, coming up in June in Portland, co-located with the amazing Open Source Bridge... http://portland.adacamp.org/ hintity hint)

  12. The silly thing is that pretty much every bunch of computer geeks I’ve hung out with have always been more than happy to have women around and contributing. As a female friend of mine once said, “Also I think the unix lead guy has a crush on me. He said, ‘wow, a woman I can have an intelligent conversation about emacs with'”.

  13. The silly thing is that pretty much every bunch of computer geeks I’ve hung out with have always been more than happy to have women around and contributing. As a female friend of mine once said, “Also I think the unix lead guy has a crush on me. He said, ‘wow, a woman I can have an intelligent conversation about emacs with'”.

  14. I’m actually back in college (after 20 years in the field) for my CS degree. I’m damned happy to see how many women are also there to get CS degrees! I’m going to forward the URL to one of my professors to see about sharing this — there may be a few too many “fucks” in it for the official CS department, but I’m sure we can get it shared around unofficially.

    I’m always happy to spread information about Admiral Hopper and Ada Lovelace — I’m very happy to list them both in my relatively small set of heroes.

      • Oh, I’m certainly not objecting and it’s not a criticism. (I did share it with one of my professors already who thought it to be an excellent post.)

        Oddly enough, I saw one of the other students today in my computer architecture class wearing a shirt from a Grace Hopper “Women in Programming” event in Milwaukee. That really made me happy!

      • Oh, but that proves that this post wasn’t written by some ball-crushing feminazi. Because girls don’t use language like that. >o_Oยด

        (Truly, the priggishness of academia is enough to give me a rash. Have they met them?!?)

  15. I’m actually back in college (after 20 years in the field) for my CS degree. I’m damned happy to see how many women are also there to get CS degrees! I’m going to forward the URL to one of my professors to see about sharing this — there may be a few too many “fucks” in it for the official CS department, but I’m sure we can get it shared around unofficially.

    I’m always happy to spread information about Admiral Hopper and Ada Lovelace — I’m very happy to list them both in my relatively small set of heroes.

  16. I really think it’s the exception nearly everywhere. I’ve been in the business for nearly 20 years and people like this are a rarity.

    Also, you can’t blame CouchDB for the actions of one of its users.

  17. Wait, that’s supposed to be make me feel *better* about being a woman in this field? What if the guy had said “wow, a black person I can have an intelligent conversation about emacs with”? That doesn’t strike you as condescending?

  18. Well, Ada was programming before the hardware had be built, Babbage had designed the hardware, it just would take 150 year for it to be built.

    Programming BUG FREE without the hardware, yes, she got it right without having a machine to run it on.

  19. Well, Ada was programming before the hardware had be built, Babbage had designed the hardware, it just would take 150 year for it to be built.

    Programming BUG FREE without the hardware, yes, she got it right without having a machine to run it on.

  20. Oh, I’m certainly not objecting and it’s not a criticism. (I did share it with one of my professors already who thought it to be an excellent post.)

    Oddly enough, I saw one of the other students today in my computer architecture class wearing a shirt from a Grace Hopper “Women in Programming” event in Milwaukee. That really made me happy!

  21. I’d love to share this around but where I’m from ‘pansy-ass’ sounds a bit too homophobic. Is there any chance you could sort that out?

  22. I’d love to share this around but where I’m from ‘pansy-ass’ sounds a bit too homophobic. Is there any chance you could sort that out?

  23. Bit of an over-reaction to crappy job advertisement no?

    I don’t think many programmers would be saying women can’t or should not code. It’s just a shit advertisement poster that tries to do a cool slogan and fails miserable. it does not represent the entire programming profession.

    • It’s hardly like this is a one-off event. Things like this comes up at many different conferences, they come up in many blog posts, they come up all over the place, and they’re a huge problem in the industry.

      The two things linked — the Ruby conference slide and the Klout advertisement — are just classic examples of a huge problem in the industry. It they were one-offs, they wouldn’t have existed in the first place because the culture that allows them to happen wouldn’t exist. Someone, *anyone* would have said “Uh, hey guys? Let’s … not do that?”

    • It doesn’t represent the whole profession, at all.

      But the thing is, it doesn’t take a very large chunk of the profession doing things like that CouchDB slide before the whole thing just feels too hostile or obnoxious to bother with. Expectation value, right? If I have only a 1% chance of encountering some troglodyte — but that outcome has a large negative value to me — the expectation value of the whole can still come out pretty bad.

      It’s the other 99% standing up like here that swings the expectation value back around to positive. (Well. That and the fact that it’s pretty fun when the code works.)

  24. Bit of an over-reaction to crappy job advertisement no?

    I don’t think many programmers would be saying women can’t or should not code. It’s just a shit advertisement poster that tries to do a cool slogan and fails miserable. it does not represent the entire programming profession.

  25. Any chance of a shout-out for Hedy Lamarr? Y’know, for WiFi, GPS, Bluetooth and shit that lets the Brogrammers crush it from the next room. And all the unsung women of Bletchley Park, who were just crushing it SO HARD using Colossus. Yeah, Bro, ever killed a Nazi with your computer skillz? Didn’t think so.

    http://www.theguardian.com/theguardian/shortcuts/2011/dec/04/hedy-lamarr-wifi

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Women_in_computing#Timeline_of_women_in_computing_worldwide

  26. Any chance of a shout-out for Hedy Lamarr? Y’know, for WiFi, GPS, Bluetooth and shit that lets the Brogrammers crush it from the next room. And all the unsung women of Bletchley Park, who were just crushing it SO HARD using Colossus. Yeah, Bro, ever killed a Nazi with your computer skillz? Didn’t think so.

    http://www.theguardian.com/theguardian/shortcuts/2011/dec/04/hedy-lamarr-wifi

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Women_in_computing#Timeline_of_women_in_computing_worldwide

  27. I fail to see, as you are obviously an otherwise intelligent person (far more knowledgeable than I, computer-wise) why you feel the need to express yourself in such vulgar, offensive language throughout yor rant. Vulgarity is the mark of a poor writer, at the very least.

    • Here the vulgarity works to mirror the typical languages of your typical “brogrammer” — I am sure he doesn’t use it just because he can. Its a nice stylistic measure that zings his intended audience right where they live.

    • A more restrained approach could be taken as condescending and off-putting in its own way, especially considering the intended audience. I like it colloquial as fuck.

  28. I fail to see, as you are obviously an otherwise intelligent person (far more knowledgeable than I, computer-wise) why you feel the need to express yourself in such vulgar, offensive language throughout yor rant. Vulgarity is the mark of a poor writer, at the very least.

  29. Here the vulgarity works to mirror the typical languages of your typical “brogrammer” — I am sure he doesn’t use it just because he can. Its a nice stylistic measure that zings his intended audience right where they live.

  30. I’m pleased to say that I work at a company that is pretty much gender-blind about its hiring. We’ve got an equitable mix in all areas, top to bottom. Yes, in management, too. I confess that I’ve never been interested in writing code, but am content to test the software that our bro and sisgrammers are churning out.

  31. I’m pleased to say that I work at a company that is pretty much gender-blind about its hiring. We’ve got an equitable mix in all areas, top to bottom. Yes, in management, too. I confess that I’ve never been interested in writing code, but am content to test the software that our bro and sisgrammers are churning out.

  32. Two good points here. First – the battle of the sexes thing. Easy to spot as it’s obviously the source of the post.

    But look again…
    ” If you wanted to code back then, you needed a postgraduate degree in mathematics, an intimate understanding of every single component inside the computer, and the ability to route data with your bare fucking hands.”

    I started playing with code nearly 30 years ago. No “internet” back then. Microsoft were a twinkle in Bill Gates’ eye. Apply were flogging boxy desktops at $2000+ a pop.

    Machine speeds were measured in KHz, memory and storage in KB. None of the feather-bedding that todays programmers (bro or otherwise) get – no “clean code”, no TDD, no “SOLID principle” or any of the other buzzwords that plague programming these days – you coded to squeeze as much performance into as little space as possible, and you had to understand code – not some bunch of best practices.

    Maybe I’m just a bitter old code hack, desperately trying to keep up with new tricks so I can stay employed. But those who currently preach “how code should be written” should get down off their high horses and stop and consider for a moment the amount of resource being wasted due to developer laziness. How many perfectly functional computers are thrown out onto the scrapheap, just because they’re deemed “too slow”, or because the software required by the user is no longer being supported? How many developers either burn out or lose any chance at a decent family or social life, just because they’re run into the ground trying to keep up with these new trends?

    And now they want us to “bro down and crush code”, like it’s some kind of cool social thing.

    Is this some kind of nerdy attempt to get back at the cliques that ostracised coders while they were growing up?

    Is it some kind of management trick? “Hey, come hang with us and write code. Oh look, it’s 5:00pm and this isn’t working yet… well, I’m gonna hang out here and get this done, anyone wanna stick around? No, it’s not overtime, you won’t get paid, it’s just cool to hang out and crush this code!”

    We went to the moon on computers with barely the power of a mobile phone, backed up by a team of thousands. Was their code “clean”? I doubt it. But it worked well enough and fast enough to safely put a man on the fucking moon.

    If we tried to do that today, NASA would still be in a meeting deciding how to structure the code in order to make it testable. And then the whole code base would need “refactoring” a year later when the next version of the language came out – or worse, one of these so called “code evangelists” came up with another “best practice” in order to sell their latest book.

    It’s not that I don’t condone any current programming practices. But at the rate things are “progressing” at the moment, it can only be a matter of time before the wheels fall off. There’s far too much pride, ego and “fuck the next guy”. There’s far too much “that was last year”, throw-away mentality.

    So all you coders want to try something that will really push you to the limit? Pick up an old 8-bit machine and stick your head into some assembly language. And then when you give up, keep in mind that this is the stuff that underpins all your precious principles.

    … and a lot of the stuff that underpins that was written by girls…

    • You may be right about the state of the profession in general, but not about NASA. NASA still gets stuff out to other planets (Curiosity, anyone?) — and believe me, they are not changing code up until the last minute. The technology gets frozen well in advance.

      The main reason we have not had men and women back to the moon (or on to Mars) is political, not technological.

    • Well Said

      how about dollar bill sized paper cards with holes in them that worked on mechanical machines made by Calculating-Tabulating-[and] Recording company, inc.

  33. Two good points here. First – the battle of the sexes thing. Easy to spot as it’s obviously the source of the post.

    But look again…
    ” If you wanted to code back then, you needed a postgraduate degree in mathematics, an intimate understanding of every single component inside the computer, and the ability to route data with your bare fucking hands.”

    I started playing with code nearly 30 years ago. No “internet” back then. Microsoft were a twinkle in Bill Gates’ eye. Apply were flogging boxy desktops at $2000+ a pop.

    Machine speeds were measured in KHz, memory and storage in KB. None of the feather-bedding that todays programmers (bro or otherwise) get – no “clean code”, no TDD, no “SOLID principle” or any of the other buzzwords that plague programming these days – you coded to squeeze as much performance into as little space as possible, and you had to understand code – not some bunch of best practices.

    Maybe I’m just a bitter old code hack, desperately trying to keep up with new tricks so I can stay employed. But those who currently preach “how code should be written” should get down off their high horses and stop and consider for a moment the amount of resource being wasted due to developer laziness. How many perfectly functional computers are thrown out onto the scrapheap, just because they’re deemed “too slow”, or because the software required by the user is no longer being supported? How many developers either burn out or lose any chance at a decent family or social life, just because they’re run into the ground trying to keep up with these new trends?

    And now they want us to “bro down and crush code”, like it’s some kind of cool social thing.

    Is this some kind of nerdy attempt to get back at the cliques that ostracised coders while they were growing up?

    Is it some kind of management trick? “Hey, come hang with us and write code. Oh look, it’s 5:00pm and this isn’t working yet… well, I’m gonna hang out here and get this done, anyone wanna stick around? No, it’s not overtime, you won’t get paid, it’s just cool to hang out and crush this code!”

    We went to the moon on computers with barely the power of a mobile phone, backed up by a team of thousands. Was their code “clean”? I doubt it. But it worked well enough and fast enough to safely put a man on the fucking moon.

    If we tried to do that today, NASA would still be in a meeting deciding how to structure the code in order to make it testable. And then the whole code base would need “refactoring” a year later when the next version of the language came out – or worse, one of these so called “code evangelists” came up with another “best practice” in order to sell their latest book.

    It’s not that I don’t condone any current programming practices. But at the rate things are “progressing” at the moment, it can only be a matter of time before the wheels fall off. There’s far too much pride, ego and “fuck the next guy”. There’s far too much “that was last year”, throw-away mentality.

    So all you coders want to try something that will really push you to the limit? Pick up an old 8-bit machine and stick your head into some assembly language. And then when you give up, keep in mind that this is the stuff that underpins all your precious principles.

    … and a lot of the stuff that underpins that was written by girls…

  34. Oh, but that proves that this post wasn’t written by some ball-crushing feminazi. Because girls don’t use language like that. >o_Oยด

    (Truly, the priggishness of academia is enough to give me a rash. Have they met them?!?)

  35. Bingo. It seems crazy to me when I hear things like “we need more role models like xxx” – no, what we need is to revise our idea of a role model. Gender parity, racial parity, etc. to me is best achieved when we indicate in situations like jobs that it doesn’t matter – and that has to include that the role model doesn’t matter either.

    I recognize every day that *I* (male) am a role model for all 3 of my daughters. My wife (also an engineer) is, of course, also a role model, but our presentation of it has little difference between the two of us. We show them men and women, and people of all colors. We don’t call those items out, instead we call out their successes and what made them successful – THAT is the part that matters.

    When we say we need a *female* role model for girls, we enforce the idea that they should only accept cues from women. The same holds true for racial lines and items such a gay/straight/transgender/etc.. The picture I want to paint for my girls is that “If they did it, so can you” – not “if that female did it so can you.”

  36. It’s hardly like this is a one-off event. Things like this comes up at many different conferences, they come up in many blog posts, they come up all over the place, and they’re a huge problem in the industry.

    The two things linked — the Ruby conference slide and the Klout advertisement — are just classic examples of a huge problem in the industry. It they were one-offs, they wouldn’t have existed in the first place because the culture that allows them to happen wouldn’t exist. Someone, *anyone* would have said “Uh, hey guys? Let’s … not do that?”

  37. It doesn’t represent the whole profession, at all.

    But the thing is, it doesn’t take a very large chunk of the profession doing things like that CouchDB slide before the whole thing just feels too hostile or obnoxious to bother with. Expectation value, right? If I have only a 1% chance of encountering some troglodyte — but that outcome has a large negative value to me — the expectation value of the whole can still come out pretty bad.

    It’s the other 99% standing up like here that swings the expectation value back around to positive. (Well. That and the fact that it’s pretty fun when the code works.)

  38. AFAIK there is no evidence that Ada actually coded anything. She translated documents and transferred a program onto tape. That’s like me looking at a program written in assembly and then mentally translating it binary code. It’s a skill, but it’s not creation. She has a place in history, but it’s been talked up too much in this and similar articles.

    Does anyone actually think that women can’t be good programmers? I had the pleasure of working next to a very talented female programmer during my time at Marconi. But even prior to that it didn’t occur to me that women might be intrinsically bad at coding. None of my peers haves ever though about it like that. Women don’t code because it’s just not something they are interested in. When you find a women who is interested in it then they are at least equal to any man.

    • Women don’t code because it’s just not something they are interested in.

      Why do you think women aren’t interested in coding?

      Could it be that they feel discouraged and driven out of the industry by sexism?

      (I was the only woman in my advanced computer science classes at university. It was disconcerting, and discouraging.)

  39. AFAIK there is no evidence that Ada actually coded anything. She translated documents and transferred a program onto tape. That’s like me looking at a program written in assembly and then mentally translating it binary code. It’s a skill, but it’s not creation. She has a place in history, but it’s been talked up too much in this and similar articles.

    Does anyone actually think that women can’t be good programmers? I had the pleasure of working next to a very talented female programmer during my time at Marconi. But even prior to that it didn’t occur to me that women might be intrinsically bad at coding. None of my peers haves ever though about it like that. Women don’t code because it’s just not something they are interested in. When you find a women who is interested in it then they are at least equal to any man.

  40. Terrific post! I don’t encounter much of this in my profession anymore (as an embedded software engineer), but then again… I don’t work at the kind of place that would ever touch that Klout poster with a ten-foot pole. Gah.

  41. Terrific post! I don’t encounter much of this in my profession anymore (as an embedded software engineer), but then again… I don’t work at the kind of place that would ever touch that Klout poster with a ten-foot pole. Gah.

  42. A more restrained approach could be taken as condescending and off-putting in its own way, especially considering the intended audience. I like it colloquial as fuck.

  43. Awesome piece of writing!

    Also, the Navy’s desire to have Adm. Hopper keep coming back illustrates that coding isn’t just for someone whose diploma hasn’t dried yet. Age & wisdom matters, too.

  44. Awesome piece of writing!

    Also, the Navy’s desire to have Adm. Hopper keep coming back illustrates that coding isn’t just for someone whose diploma hasn’t dried yet. Age & wisdom matters, too.

  45. Thank you

    As a woman in the video game industry, have been/currently a strong artist (2d, 3d, animator), a producer, and a game designer at various stages of my life, I’ve been working on games long enough to go “I’m tired of working for people who refuse to listen to me after 10 years of experience to have someone belittle me time and time again at each studio I’ve worked for” – and now I’m learning programming to develop games on my own.

    I have seriously been asked out by 10% of the employees at each company I’ve worked at – through no fucking enticing or even the slightest interest or anything on my part.

    I’ve had to sit through countless circle jerks of men talking about how shitty their wives are, and how marriage is horrible and how apparently women have all the power (makes sense since I get such a strong say in everything that occurs in the OFFICE, and I’m held in the lowest regard in a goddamn office setting, but at least I can apparently castrate a man when I’m married to him, so there’s that… (????!))

    I have been called babe, in meetings with several directors standing directly next to the individual(s) saying such, and nobody said shit, and if *I* did? I’d know I’d be fucking over the boys club because in my younger experience, you call people out for dumping on women and you’re making things too real in the boys club.

    Posts like this give me hope that not all people think that this is how we should be treated. I help the whole 1-5 other younger women I encounter at work, wanting them to succeed, and try to encourage them to proceed into all facets of the developers world. I sigh with relief knowing there are men in the world that understand women are just as capable of programming. My only hope is that there are those of you that also speak out when women are being trashed on as if they are garbage keeping men down, especially when there are women in your freaking office setting. Vent if you have to, but remember, when you outnumber us, you are alienating us with your hatred towards your S.O.’s…. you treat us, employees, like nagging girlfriends or wives in a WORK setting. This is so difficult to work with from our perspective….

    Again, thank you for reminding the world that women are the origins of programming. I am glad we have powerful programmers, male and female alike, but I wish it weren’t so ‘frat’ at every company I’ve experienced.

  46. Thank you

    As a woman in the video game industry, have been/currently a strong artist (2d, 3d, animator), a producer, and a game designer at various stages of my life, I’ve been working on games long enough to go “I’m tired of working for people who refuse to listen to me after 10 years of experience to have someone belittle me time and time again at each studio I’ve worked for” – and now I’m learning programming to develop games on my own.

    I have seriously been asked out by 10% of the employees at each company I’ve worked at – through no fucking enticing or even the slightest interest or anything on my part.

    I’ve had to sit through countless circle jerks of men talking about how shitty their wives are, and how marriage is horrible and how apparently women have all the power (makes sense since I get such a strong say in everything that occurs in the OFFICE, and I’m held in the lowest regard in a goddamn office setting, but at least I can apparently castrate a man when I’m married to him, so there’s that… (????!))

    I have been called babe, in meetings with several directors standing directly next to the individual(s) saying such, and nobody said shit, and if *I* did? I’d know I’d be fucking over the boys club because in my younger experience, you call people out for dumping on women and you’re making things too real in the boys club.

    Posts like this give me hope that not all people think that this is how we should be treated. I help the whole 1-5 other younger women I encounter at work, wanting them to succeed, and try to encourage them to proceed into all facets of the developers world. I sigh with relief knowing there are men in the world that understand women are just as capable of programming. My only hope is that there are those of you that also speak out when women are being trashed on as if they are garbage keeping men down, especially when there are women in your freaking office setting. Vent if you have to, but remember, when you outnumber us, you are alienating us with your hatred towards your S.O.’s…. you treat us, employees, like nagging girlfriends or wives in a WORK setting. This is so difficult to work with from our perspective….

    Again, thank you for reminding the world that women are the origins of programming. I am glad we have powerful programmers, male and female alike, but I wish it weren’t so ‘frat’ at every company I’ve experienced.

  47. Women don’t code because it’s just not something they are interested in.

    Why do you think women aren’t interested in coding?

    Could it be that they feel discouraged and driven out of the industry by sexism?

    (I was the only woman in my advanced computer science classes at university. It was disconcerting, and discouraging.)

  48. You may be right about the state of the profession in general, but not about NASA. NASA still gets stuff out to other planets (Curiosity, anyone?) — and believe me, they are not changing code up until the last minute. The technology gets frozen well in advance.

    The main reason we have not had men and women back to the moon (or on to Mars) is political, not technological.

  49. Well Said

    how about dollar bill sized paper cards with holes in them that worked on mechanical machines made by Calculating-Tabulating-[and] Recording company, inc.

  50. To those who have taken issue with the tone of the article, I respond it is perfect

    The tone of this article is not for balanced and intelligent people who realize gender has no bearing on coding ability. The tone of this article is specifically to the boys club of the brogrammer. It fits right in.

    FWIW, I think that companies that recruit brogrammers are really just trying to get two developers for the price of one. I suspect it’s an invitation to a professional culture where hygiene, hobbies, and families take a distant lower priority to being part of the brotherhood.

  51. To those who have taken issue with the tone of the article, I respond it is perfect

    The tone of this article is not for balanced and intelligent people who realize gender has no bearing on coding ability. The tone of this article is specifically to the boys club of the brogrammer. It fits right in.

    FWIW, I think that companies that recruit brogrammers are really just trying to get two developers for the price of one. I suspect it’s an invitation to a professional culture where hygiene, hobbies, and families take a distant lower priority to being part of the brotherhood.

  52. Brogramming is the evolution of Silicon Valley

    Whoever, said girls can’t be brogrammers? I think you may be the sexist one. I work with many incredibly intelligent male and female brogrammers and none of them believe women can’t code. Maybe you should meet some real life brogrammers before trying to classify us. When you make generalizations about all people in a particular group (a universal quantification for those of you who actually have a CS education) it only takes one counter example to disprove you. That’s computer logic.

  53. Brogramming is the evolution of Silicon Valley

    Whoever, said girls can’t be brogrammers? I think you may be the sexist one. I work with many incredibly intelligent male and female brogrammers and none of them believe women can’t code. Maybe you should meet some real life brogrammers before trying to classify us. When you make generalizations about all people in a particular group (a universal quantification for those of you who actually have a CS education) it only takes one counter example to disprove you. That’s computer logic.

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