Yesterday I asked myself why I didn’t congratulate female developers for the International Women’s Day. I foresee that my reason would not please several people, but in fact, at least for me, it does not make much difference … And that’s a good thing.
I do a lot of effort to hire women, since they are rare in my market. As said by Major Makoto Kusanagi, the lead heroin in the cult anime Ghost in the Shell, “overspecialization leads to death”. The full passage is worth reading:
If we all reacted the same way, we’d be predictable, and there’s always more than one way to view the situation. What’s true for the group is also true for the individual. It’s simple: overspecialize, and you breed in weakness. It’s slow death.
~Ghost In The Shell, Makoto Kusanagi.
I have no problem hiring people different than me. I do have problems in hiring people very similar to me. It would be unbearable. Even in this case I would hire if it is a good candidate.
Nevertheless, it depends much more on women than on me: I contract engineers, computer scientists and those alike. If women do not choose these grads, I won’t be able to hire them, no matter how much I wanted to. Informally by my historical statistics of all selection processes that have lead, estimating high, I found about 5% female audience with the right profile for the position.
Because of this, the probability that I find a qualified man are greater than a qualified woman, because the sample set universe of men is much higher than that of women.
In fact, even if I had a fair share of female candidates, maybe that would just change the “demographics” and would make no difference on my writings about the developers carrer.
A female developer can be as good as a male developer and the other way around. The embedded systems were born in a time when feminism was at its height, but even so we hadn’t a large participation of women.
What does really matters
In the end of day, that is not the reason I do not write posts like that. I recall that one day my team asked during a hiring process, right after one interview for a Programmable Logic Developer (with VHDL):
Ricardo, would you hire a transsexual cross dresser?
I said: If he knows VHDL and gets things done…
To be honest, regarding what I care, that doesn’t matter. I don’t care if it’s man, woman, heterosexual, gay, pan-sexual, white, black, brown, green, that calls it software, foftware, fluffyware, goes to Church or believe in the force like a Jedi. I do not care where was born. Or marital status. Neither if eats meat. Or don’t. The only things that interest during an interview is that (1) they are smart, (2) complete the tasks and (3) are honest.
It is the commitment, performance and quality of work that will determine the person’s results. I always say it’s personal effort on their own career that will make a person happier in life, to achieve their plans and etc. One’s career may not enrich anyone, but it can certainly make this one happier.
Prejudice in the market: it’s slow death
If there is bad bias out there? Certainly. However, it is easy to say that is untenable in the long term. I will explain: by throwing out a ruby just because he was looking for a diamond, will this attitude make a miner successful ? I do not believe so.
The labor market does not allow prejudices: not by ethical judgment, but by pure, impersonal and simple competition. If an individual is good, he’s good. If he’s bad, he’s bad. Based on the fact that overall quality of professionals is falling, as a manager I would not be stupid to lose a talent for any frivolous reason.
I want a strong team that gives results. Results which define my result as my manager. Results that can generate promotions and opportunities to the whole team.
Every hiring process begins with the gathering of resumes. I am in favor of leaving a vacancy more than have it filled with whom I do not approve . The problem is that it is not always possible to do this. Quite often, I hear from colleagues who had no choice and had to hire the best candidate, which does not necessarily guarantee that it is a good candidate (my previous post is just that).
Thinking of which, now I fell compelled to write something for women. Women (girls probably still teenagers, or mothers who read this) who are planning or looking into the market, should look more closely to STEM courses.
Again, the lack of diversity limiting choices. I dare say that for many times, one very incompetent man is getting a job due to lack of good candidates while women are killing themselves in saturated and highly disputed markets. The presence of female talent would add a lot to system development market.
Engineering and Computer Science are waiting! There’s a lot of Women in STEM fields information on the internet. I can guarantee that career development will bring many emotions: some say a finished project is a born daughter, a born son. Development may be considered a natural female talent, in a way… Many women choose to be developers of people in the most literal possible way.