On college degrees

Just some thoughts I’d like to get out of my head. I’ve thought a lot about this (of course) without writing it down. I’ve mentioned before that I don’t intend to finish my bachelor’s degree, but I haven’t really explained why in detail, even though it’s the sort of thing I post about here. So here it is: why formal credentials in general, and college degrees in particular, are not the end-all-be-all of having a stable and successful career in technology.

Hiring hackers

Technology is one field where college is kind of an awkward proposition. Take these classes and you get a piece of paper that will get you a job. Okay.

The main problem is that it’s hard to gauge whether someone knows their stuff without working with them on something, or at least seeing something else they’ve worked on and trying to judge its quality. This makes it really hard to hire good programmers.

But HR departments don’t like either of those options: the point of interviewing is to weed out hopefully all the posers BEFORE they get into your company, and keep the ones who know what they’re doing (that means tricks with at-will employment may be out if they have problems retaining people). And they’re not technical enough to judge whether a portfolio is good quality or not.

The latter situation is why there are more technical people doing interviews for tech positions these days, rather than HR. But HR doesn’t like that either. They want to have standards about who they hire: new employees have to have such-and-such a degree, or certification, or at least they need x years of experience in the field.

The thing is, they’re fighting a losing battle. HR isn’t necessarily evil, but it is ineffective, at least for this purpose. Someone can have more letters after their name than a game of Scrabble, and a whole handful of certifications, and still not know what they’re doing. And a candidate can gain x years of experience at any company–whether they did good work there, or whether that company even knows whether or not they did good work, is still a big question mark. But a technical interviewer looking through someone’s GitHub account can see empirical evidence of whether that person can code, and perhaps even how well they work with other programmers.

(Besides, people with letters after their name are extra expensive, because they’re paying off student loans.)

Whether universities like it or not, the job market is a big part of people’s decision to go to college. Will their degree pay for itself or not? And if it won’t, are they really willing to pay that much for it?

Learning to program ≠ college classes

It’s really hard to teach programming, too. Aside from the fact that programming is just something you have to learn by doing, and programming students are de facto going to be teaching themselves to some degree (no pun intended), it’s hard to keep the classes current. By the time a book on foo is written and then the curriculum is developed, foo might be on its way out of date.

Most universities get around this by saying that they only teach theory, which is an important component of what a programmer needs to know. But it isn’t everything, and teaching theory without teaching its applications means that you might not understand the theory as well. It also means that by the time you get into the workforce, you don’t know half the stuff you need to know unless you’ve been rigorously self-teaching along the way. But the actual degree hasn’t taught you how to do stuff. It’s taught you how to learn how to do stuff, and a lot of degreed people are fooled into thinking that they know everything just by having the degree. Similarly still fooled are a lot of HR departments.

But it doesn’t work that way. And sometimes when you get down the the brass tacks of things, people realize that while they’ve got the theory down pat, they don’t… actually… like coding. Or they have no design sense, and aren’t artistic enough to pick it up; they thought computer science was actually science. Or they’ve become frustrated that after four years and $150,000, they still have a long way to go.

These are not the people you want to hire. These are not people who should be in this career. Programming is not for everyone–it takes a certain kind of personality–and just because there are a lot of programming jobs that are stable and pay well does not mean you should go into it.

A degree will teach you a lot. But it won’t teach you how to program–it’ll teach you how to learn to program–and it may not teach you whether you like it.

(That goes in both directions. Some people who do have the inclinations for programming [patience, ability to focus, love of learning and making things] may find college classes intolerably boring after a while, for much the same reason I haven’t read the last fifty pages of any of my coding books: you usually have something you want to build by then.)

There are other things to do

For the price of a university’s tuition–let’s say 30K a year for four years, which is a rather conservative guess for this–you could bootstrap a startup. 120K would probably last some startups all the way until the stage they needed a Series A round from investors, and for many others it would be all the funding they needed.

If you’re not fond of startups, you could put the money towards rent and food, and become a freelancer. Say you want to be a web designer/web programmer. Spend a year learning what you need to learn on your own (you would have at university anyway) and making friends. Then, if you have the right contacts, or at least the guts to look for companies with outdated websites and call them up with an offer, you can get yourself a pretty stable income not only as designer but as maintainer.

Or you could go to a coding bootcamp rather than a university. They’re becoming more and more of a legitimate option these days, and they’re generally cheaper and more practical than normal schooling.

Or you could spend the time learning and contributing to open source. There are increasingly more companies that would rather see a packed GitHub portfolio than a degree.

Friends

There are reasons to go to university, of course; a degree still carries quite a bit of weight, but there are also reasons to go for just a year or two. The major reason, at least for me, to just attend and take classes you like is the other students.

 

That means people who will build stuff with you.

I don’t know if that means as much to other people as it does to me, but I think it’s really important. I want to work with other ambitious nerds who want to make stuff and tinker with the world as we know it. I think two or three can do a lot more than one, and a lot more than they’d do individually.

Also, the theory is important, as are some classes that are maybe better taught by walking through them with a class. I want to know about data structures. I also want to learn Lisp, but I’m a little intimidated by it; the college-class habit of going through all the tutorials and explaining everything, which I find somewhat tedious in a lot of cases, might really help in the case of learning Lisp. (Or whatever functional language they teach.)

Professors are pretty important to me too, because the right professor can be really interesting to listen to–particularly when you get them talking about something that isn’t strictly what they’re supposed to be teaching. I know a lot of what I know from listening to older programmers. In fact, the opinions I’m talking about in this essay are something I discussed with one of my favorite teachers last night, and he was agreeing with me on all points that I can remember (it was a long discussion).

The price tag

I don’t want to be in debt all the way through my thirties for something that won’t really teach me what I need, particularly when I can learn through books that are 1% of the price, and by the time I need a serious job the piece of paper will mean less than my GitHub account if I’m not lazy.

GitHub is free. Books are cheap. University is neither.

I’ll attend college if that’s how you find people who become collaborators and testers and cofounders. But I won’t pay a fortune to finish it.

If I haven’t made it clear, my plan is to go to university for maybe two years–and probably not the same university or even the same city–take what classes I want while I hold down a part time job or internship, and then just leave. Probably by then I’ll be entrenched in a startup or, if not, can find an employer pretty easily. My skill set is pretty well-rounded right now, even if I don’t have a ton of experience, and I’ll have an Associate’s degree anyway.

These are opinions I’ve held for months, but it’s really easy to get confused about this sort of thing when everyone else has a different opinion about what you should be doing and what’s important. My teacher last night said maybe their advice just reflects what works for them, and the different paths are all valid, at least to some degree. That’s probably true. I, in turn, don’t intend to say that my plan is what everyone should do. Y’all can do whatever you like as long as it works for you, but I’m warning you now that a college education is not going to teach you everything you need to know to build things, whether for yourself or for an employer.

And maybe I’m wrong and my plans to skip the piece of paper will blow up in my face. (In which case I’d just go back and get it… I’m not sure why people are talking about my plan like it’s a permanent, life-ruining mistake.) But if I make a choice about this and I’m wrong, I’d rather have that be because it was my own choice that was wrong, not something someone else convinced me to do. I would rather trust myself and make my own mistakes than end up bitter about someone else’s.

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What I Did in 2015

The Muse suggested I write one of these to highlight my professional accomplishments, especially since this blog is listed on my resume (I don’t know if that looks kind of tacky, but LGL does give a good idea of what I’ve been doing and what skills I have, so it is practical). I guess it feels a little odd for me, because I can’t remember everything offhand myself. Fortunately, I can flip back through my archives and see what’s been up based on my blog posts.

I’m not sure who this is for, honestly. Mostly, my accomplishments last year were not exactly professional, more just personal projects and so on.

Divided up into sections which are roughly the same length, for easier reading. Not all have the same number of months. Roughly chronological order because I’m using old posts to help me remember all the stuff I did last year. (It was a lot.)

January-March

Attending community college to earn an Associate of Arts and Sciences degree in Programming (have been since the previous fall).

I was in the Linux learning stages myself, and also learning to use VirtualBox. It seems like a lot longer ago than it was. I made this blog, and wrote a post describing how to set up a Linux VM. I discovered Debian and it became my favorite distro so far. I tried learning to program in C, but didn’t go very far with it because my classes became pretty difficult right after I started getting into it, and haven’t come back to it yet because I haven’t had anything I want to make that requires low-level programming. I’m still learning the high-level stuff for now.

April-May

Took a Linux class and surprised myself with how much of the material I already knew from a few months’ odd tinkering here and there. Read Eric S. Raymond’s paper “Cathedral and the Bazaar” and wrote a bit of commentary on it. Converted a Windows box into a mostly-Linux box (it has had very few problems to date, mostly from the age of old files that needed transferring). Started looking for jobs, but as I wasn’t of age until late June, most turned me away on the spot.

Oh, and I got some kind of honor award or something because I’d gotten straight As that semester. I forget what it was. President’s List or something.

June

Started poking around in the book Head First Design Patterns. (I should come back to that.) Decided I was pretty competent with Linux and wrote the post that made this blog popular–it was actually a long time in planning, starting with a cold email to ESR about whether there was a book on learning to use Linux, and a casual remark that if not, I’d throw my links on a WordPress blog or something and send it to him so he could send it to all the other teenage nerds who were probably emailing him the same question. Instead, he put it on his “How to Become a Hacker” page–which is a courtesy I was not expecting, and suddenly this blog gained a whole bunch of readers. So many that my link above is basically superfluous, because nearly all of the people reading this are reading because of that page. I can’t thank ESR enough for this, my readers are awesome.

Anyway, June was a busy month, and I definitely didn’t stop there.

I discovered Paul Graham’s essay page and started binge-reading. I decided I wanted to start a startup (which I still do, but am putting off due to a lack of cofounder candidates until I go to a 4yr university) and began mentally designing my product. I discovered TechWeek and arranged with my parents to go during September to the Kansas City event.

Also, I turned 18.

July

Finished reading the last of PG’s essay archive. Started building a cross-platform app called tinypapers, which was to be an app to store notes, business cards, receipts, and all the other clutter paper that ends up in wallets and pockets. I spent a lot of time on that. Also wrote some casual essays on the blog based on reader comments and whatnot.

August

Wrote some more essays, including a long, rambling one about software licensing and how to compromise on it for businesses that want to make money from selling software. I probably overthought that.

Worked on tinypapers some more, had several major impostor syndrome episodes, went back to work, fixed bugs, etc.

Got my first job that had paperwork attached: a 3-month internship at an engineering company. To be honest, it wasn’t really a programming job as I’d believed, and it wasn’t something I would have wanted to keep long-term for reasons I won’t elaborate on, but it was a job, it paid more than minimum wage, and it wasn’t retail or food service, so on balance it wasn’t a bad deal.

When I went back to school later in August, I started working on Raspberry Signage. If you haven’t read about it on the blog yet, Raspberry Signage is a project I designed in response to a school official’s announcement in one of my classes that our digital bulletin boards were on some very shaky, unsupported ground, because the company that the school had been paying lots of money to maintain the boards had gone out of business.

I designed a solution in which the monitors would each get a $35 Raspberry Pi minicomputer attached to them, which would be programmed to visit a WordPress website in Chome’s Presentation Mode (which hides the navigation bar). This web site would simply display a slideshow of whatever signs we needed to show around the school.

This project is my baby, and it’s almost finished. We’re going to need some real hosting, rather than just the little Apache server I set up back in one of our labs. We’ll probably want a dedicated Internet connection for them–or at least getting them hooked up to the tablet network, which is a mysterious secret thing where only dedicated people are allowed to know the credentials and whatnot, so if we go this route, I sure hope one of their dedicated people knows how to stick together some code on a Linux box. I wish I could say the school doesn’t have anyone who’d faint at the idea of using a terminal-based text editor on Linux config files so as to give the machine access to the school network… but I can’t, because there’s bound to be at least a few people who would look at that and think we were cracking the network. And then there’s the ordeal of configuring aaaalllll the different monitors with their different screen resolutions, because I don’t think I’ve seen two around the school that are alike, and RPis are not the best at auto-configuring screen resolution, so you kind of have to do it by hand.

(I probably would not have understood most of that giant paragraph I just typed a year and a half ago. My, how far we’ve come.)

Most of the programming is done, though. I just need to tweak the image I have.

Kudos to my brother Tim Yoder for doing big, big chunks of the work on this. I didn’t have access to an RPi or anything when I came up with this idea, so he was the one who found out which config files to edit. He even poked around until he found a WP slideshow theme that fit our needs. I was going to code one by hand, being green enough not to look for the pre-invented wheel first.

September-November

Attended TechWeek in Kansas City, and visited UMKC. I really liked Kansas City and decided to apply to UMKC. (My other three choices are Chicago colleges. Chicago is pretty awesome too.)

I discovered that tinypapers was basically Evernote, and “officially” stopped working on it, as I decided I didn’t need to reinvent the wheel. (Unofficially, I’d been busy with a combination of my job and a very stressful set of classes, and hadn’t been working on it for a while.) I guess I’m still kind of holding a candle for the idea that I’ll finish it as an open-source project, but I can probably find more productive things to make.

I applied to Y Combinator with a different idea that had been in the back of my head for a while, even though I had no cofounder and they’re really reluctant to accept one-person companies (they’ve only taken a few). I got turned down; oh, well. I’ll find someone who wants to make neat stuff with me eventually.

Made a GitHub account and put tinypapers up on it. Not properly, because I had no idea how to use git at the time. It’s since been cleaned up.

December

Volunteered at my school’s “Plant Yourself in STEM” event, where we make a day out of the Hour of Code program and run other programs on the same day. I ran a Linux activity both days we held the event. My activity consisted of this game I wrote, this FAQ I wrote, and my giving a little mini-speech on what Linux and open-source was all about. It was a very successful event, and I’m proud of the work I did to help make it happen!

I also learned the basics of git and cleaned up tinypapers’s GitHub repository.

—–

Anyway, that’s what I did last year! Which also makes a history of this blog, basically, since it started in March. That reminds me: I have to figure something out for the blog’s first birthday.

It was really interesting reading through some of my old posts. I have poor emotional memory, but I’m also a good writer, so it brought back a lot. I’m remembering how much fun it was to work on a big project with big aspirations, and it’s making me want to go back to that. Maybe it won’t be tinypapers, but I want to get back into something big I can work on for eight hours straight on weekends and stuff, because that was a lot of fun.

Post in the comments below: what did you do last year that you were most proud of? It can be your proudest programming-related moment, or just your favorite accomplishment.

Signing off, and happy hacking!

–Rebekah

 

A bit of catching up

Not to sound too grandiose, but I think I’ve got an inkling of what Einstein must have felt working at the Swiss patent office. It hurts to be working on such mindless things. It really hurts.

The guy in charge of the project I’m working on doesn’t seem to be thrilled about working with an 18-year-old girl, either, even (read: especially) a productive one. Which is strange, because he was involved in hiring me. I could delve into what I’ve come to understand about why he’s upset–some of it understandable–but I listed this blog on my resume and he may be reading; I don’t think he’d appreciate my analysis. Although he probably isn’t reading. He wouldn’t like to read something that shows I’m competent.

The internship lasts only two months more, though, so I’m a third of the way done. And I’ve cut back on my hours. Maintaining going to school full-time and working 29 hours a week and doing homework and trying to schedule time for working on Raspberry Signage around all that was just not doing it for me–in the end it’s almost like trying to hold down two full-time jobs. And tinypapers? Forget about it. After two weeks of trying that nonsensical schedule, I’m down to 20 hours and finding everything a lot more tolerable. I should catch up on schoolwork soon.

I have an assignment in one of my classes this week to research job openings in programming jobs. Again, I plan to see this internship through, so I’m not taking anything now–and if I line up a job for two months from now, it’s got to be under 20 hours a week. But I’m not sure I’m that rushed for another job.

Yesterday, I was doing one of my most mindless tasks and thinking about how awful those job listing sites were, and how they all looked like they were designed and maintained by MBAs and marketing guys. I started to think about how you could do them better.

When I search for jobs, I get lots of results in cities that are unreasonable commuting distances; I get results for jobs I’m massively unqualified to apply for; I get listings that are unreadable because the writer had no idea what a paragraph was; and sometimes I get jobs that have basically nothing to do with the field I searched for. It’s like the MBAs think a blank results page would be seen as some kind of failure on the part of their site, but I’m a programmer, not a registered nurse–a minor difference, I’m sure, but if you squint you can spot it. (eyeroll)

Furthermore, job sites have dumb categories. For instance, instead of having jobs tagged with things like, “We want 3 years of Perl experience and an Associate’s degree in IT,” they’re categorized as “entry-level” or something. (That seems to be about as “entry-level” as you get, at least around here. If you’re “almost kinda,” you just apply anyway, and they pick from those. People who actually fulfill those requirements are probably too busy applying for jobs that they’re “almost kinda” qualified for.)

Basically–their methodology is dumb and needs to be fixed.

So I thought a bit about how you could do better with some forms and databases. Instead of making an employer decide to either spend 15 minutes debating whether “3 years’ experience” constituted entry- or mid-level expertise, or to skip all that entirely and paste in the unformatted job listing straight from Word and hope, you could make them fill out your form and let the program register them and generate tags. Instead of the ambiguous descriptions like “entry-level,” it would ask what range of years of experience you were after (e.g., 3-5) and what skills you wanted (e.g., certified to operate construction equipment, C# programming), how many hours a week it was, what cities and locations it was offered in… et cetera. It would be more like a social media profile, with fields to fill out, rather than a memo that had to be formatted properly. Basically, it needs structure beyond a questionably-formatted blurb and some tags.

I could see offering it as a free service at first until it got some steam behind it, and then charging small fees for employers to list jobs (say, $25, as not to hurt small companies) and maybe bigger fees like $50 to keep it up on the site for more than 90 days. This is probably how the existing ones got going.

It could even start out niche, as a site just for programming jobs, and then get bigger. Programmer job listings are awful. Applebee’s job descriptions don’t say “We want 4 years of experience as a waitress using the FoodFlow and SERV methodologies, and also the ability to fix refrigerators.” That sounds ridiculous. But it’s how programmer job listings read. I’d hazard that programming is one of the worst fields about this, because the people in charge of hiring often have no clue what they’re supposed to be looking for so they just come up with a laundry list of buzzwords.

Then I thought: I could fix this. It grabbed me, and for the first time in a month I got that rush, that feeling where you’ve just remembered the world is full of interesting problems just waiting for you to solve… if only you had the energy… or time… because you have to work… and go to school… and do homework.

It took maybe an hour for the restless energy generated by that one idea to wear off. I was feeling so jittery and the work I was doing wasn’t nearly intellectual enough to burn it off (which would have felt really good).

When I’m in the office I feel like I have to get out and hack. But when I get home my drive seems to go away. Maybe I need to start working in coffee shops or something. Maybe I need to write down the feeling while I’m at work so I can summon it elsewhere (my emotional memory sucks). Or maybe I just need to get myself into a situation where I’m not so tired all the time.

TechWeek in KC is coming up. I wonder if that’ll help me, or just set me further back on schoolwork.

Anyway, I’ve got a metric butt-ton of schoolwork to catch up on from the past two crazy weeks and my sanity is still jogging behind. I’m afraid I have other stuff I need to do than sit and write blog posts.

Another tinypapers update

 

I’ve been working on tinypapers for a little over a month, if you count the time I spent mentally designing it and the time I spent on learning the basics of Kivy. I still feel kind of nervous about things, because I feel like I’m not much of a competent programmer. I could hope this is Dunning-Kruger effect, and not that I’m actually incompetent, but I’d be deluding myself. There’s a lot to programming, and while I know a lot more about it than the newbie geeks running around the college right now, trying to get signed up, I also know there’s a ton I haven’t gotten to.

I’m staking a lot on my learning ability, here. I know I can pick up the basics of a new programming language in a few weeks. Certainly I can learn the things a class on a programming language teaches in half the time they teach it. But there are things that aren’t taught in those classes, things that aren’t really taught in books… things you have to pick up on your own. I haven’t learned those skills from programming side projects. I came across this profitable little idea before I started on a side project of my own… which is mainly because I was waiting for a way to learn something that can only be taught by doing.

So I guess I’m doing. I’m investing a lot of my time and energy in a really inexperienced fledgling hacker, though.

I am used to making stuff, though. I wrote novels for years, and while I had a bunch that never got beyond two pages because I didn’t like the idea after trying it out, I also managed to turn out about a novel per year (of varying quality) for years–and I started at age ten. RPi Signage counts as a sort of side project, but it’s not very programming-intensive either. I have a fish tank that can go for months without water changes, because it’s as close as you can get to an ecosystem in a box. And of course there’s this blog. I’m good at making things. But I think this is the most complicated thing I’ve tried to make yet.

I’m also not going fast enough for my liking. I work on tinypapers nearly every day for at least a few hours, if you don’t count the time I spend thinking about it… but that’s not startup speed. That’s just the learning speed I’m accustomed to from self-teaching things. I’m still learning, and that takes more energy than building when you know better what you’re doing, so my mental stamina is kind of ehhh there. But my competitors aren’t going to care about that. This project can’t just truck along. It needs to fly.

I have a new goal: I’m going to aim for having a working prototype in two weeks. Just something that has really basic features and probably not a very pretty UI. If I could get a prototype out when tinypapers is only six weeks old, I’d have an easier time convincing myself that I can handle managing a startup.

My gut says three weeks is a more reasonable timeline, considering I’m only halfway through the Kivy book and I may soon be pitching the RPi Project to the Honors Committee at school in order to get credits for working on it (which I think my advisor cares about more than I do; I just want to do it), but I’d rather stretch a bit. Two weeks it is.

School starts three weeks from now. Hopefully I’ll be able to make some new friends and see if there’s maybe a cofounder out there. There are 8,000 students at my community college. I’d say only 600 of them are in techie majors, half of them are programmers, half of those are mostly just interested in game design, and a third of what’s left are adults with ~responsibilities~. The question is, out of the remaining 100, is there someone who’d be willing to run off to San Francisco with an 18-year-old girl and write software and try to convince people it’ll be worth millions of dollars when it’s done?

Then, of course, there’s the thing about whether they’re the sort who won’t take a girl seriously in tech. It happens. Less than 5% of the group I described are like that, though.

I do have someone in mind. Actually, two people I might ask about it. But I don’t know either of them terribly well. One of them is someone I’ll be working with quite a bit more because he wants in on RPi Signage, and I’m angling to be in charge of that. My current friends… well, either their skill set and circumstances are incompatible with what I’m doing, or they’re really not people I’d choose as cofounders.

Wish me luck.

Techweek in Kansas City

Really thinking about going!

Kansas City’s Techweek runs from September 14-20. Even if I have to take a week off of classes or a job I might have by that point, I think it’ll be worth it. Techweek includes a hiring fair, a 24-hour hackathon, and a lot of opportunities to meet all kinds of people, from hackers to startup founders to business execs to tech investors. It is an opportunity to schmooze, hack, and talk shop for a week straight, and it sounds like a lot of fun.

I shouldn’t stick out too badly. I regularly get mistaken for being in my mid-twenties, even though as of this writing I’m still 48 hours away from even being 18. (It’s probably how I talk, which is very similar to how I write, possibly because I spend more time writing than talking.) Besides, according to the Techweek attendance stats, a tenth of the attenders are under 24 anyway–probably because basic attendee passes for students are $20 and the cities that feature Techweek are also university towns. So they probably get a lot of curious college students splurging $20 to check things out, or maybe because they want in on the hiring fair.

My folks would not be too keen on my traveling to a strange city for a week by myself, so my mom would be coming with me. She’s not interested in the conference, but she’ll enjoy just wandering around KC and visiting art museums and antique stores and stuff. I have to admit: by the end of such an event, I’d be way too exhausted to drive all the way back to eastern Iowa!

Funny coincidence that I ran into Techweek and the tech startup culture surrounding it, because I’ve just started working on a startup idea of my own. It’s kind of nebulous right now and I’m too tired to describe it here right now, but it is an idea for a mobile app and it’s something I think a lot of people would really normalize into their everyday life. I think it would be cool to finish a working prototype before Techweek so I’d have something to show off. But I can’t make myself any promises, because I’m still learning to really work with OO languages–let alone programming for a mobile platform, which is totally new to me. Still! I’m a teenager, in the summer, with comparatively few commitments, and I learn fast. Let’s see what I can do. >:]

Yes, I’m aware there’s been some sexism controversy because Techweek sent out an email with a certain picture in it last year. Before anyone asks… yes, it was inappropriate and deserved to be called out, but no, that doesn’t mean I think the people refusing to attend were reacting reasonably. Similarly, I think that NASA guy’s shirt looked desperate and needed to be burned because come on, it was pretty awful, but seriously guys. It’s a shirt. And yeah, Tim Hunt obviously has some personal issues, and #distractinglysexy is hilarious, but he didn’t need to be sacked. No, it isn’t appropriate for someone with such fame and weight to say stuff like that, but one guy making a dumb remark is not going to topple techie women’s rights. Basically, every time someone says something against techie girls in a major setting, it gets blown out of proportion.

This actually hurts more than it helps, because when I or any other techie lady goes to superiors to report that we’re actually being stigmatized, being condescended towards every day by some jackal who thinks it’s funny and they can get away with belittling us, the people we’re relying on to fix things assume we’re blowing the situation out of proportion just like on TV. Those in the media think they’re pulling the situation up by its roots by getting rid of the most public sources of discrimination, but they’ve never had a personal issue they needed to report and not been taken seriously.

*climbs off soapbox*