Female developers. And why I was a moron.

Before I started my own company I was employed at one of the largest IT-consultancy agencies in Sweden as practice lead for web development. As practice lead I was part of the recruitment process.

A few years back we had a developer position open up on the web team and one of the applicants was a woman that had been recommended to us by a colleague. I was tasked with conducting the initial interview before she should meet with my manager to hammer out the finer points of an eventual contract.

It takes seven seconds to form an opinion of a person you first meet. I spent my seven seconds deciding that she was a perfect fit for management.

The interview started off on the beaten path with small talk, previous engagements, education and so forth. Admittedly I was confused and somewhat suspicious as to why someone that would possibly be conducting my performance reviews in the future was applying for the position as developer. This was all based on two observations: she was clearly very sharp and she was a woman.

As the interview progressed I began to push the management agenda:  “Where do you see yourself in five years? Project manager? Team manager?” From my perspective I was doing her a favor by helping her onto the correct career path.

She grew increasingly frustrated with me pushing said agenda. Finally she paused, drew a breath, and said: “Listen, Daniel, I don’t want to be a manager. I just really want to code. It’s what I love to do.” The way she said it hit me like a freight train and made me realize how ignorant I had been. It was then I understood that we shared the same passion for building software and something I had chosen to ignore based on first impressions.

From that moment on there was really no point in continuing the interview. Partially because I felt like a complete moron and partially because I wanted to hire her on the spot. Thankfully she accepted and joined the team. She is to date one of the most absolutely brilliant developers I’ve ever had the privilege of working with. Or stood on stage together with as shown by the post’s image.

So here’s to you, Jessica, for being an incredible developer. And for all the girls and women that share the same passion and love for creating with code. Don’t let morons like myself trick or push you away from what you love and is your God-given talent. Or in any other way, shape or form convince you that you shouldn’t be a developer if that’s what’s in your heart.

I can’t stress enough how we desperately need more fantastic developers like you.

And to some of the greats out there I’ve worked it, follow on social media or read about: @Cecilia_SE, @Karolikl@IrisClasson, @TessFerrandez, @Grytlappen@CeciliaSHARP. Keep inspiring others to follow.

Let’s make that list a’lot longer. Support and promote initiatives like http://geekgirlmeetup.com/ and http://girlswhocode.com/.

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  • Well written. Also, don’t let someone push you around and use you for their purposes. Do what you love to do and be respected for that. This applies to both men and women.

    • Daniel Berg

      Thanks and I absolutely agree.

  • Karoline Klever

    Great blog post! This is an honest mistake, and you’re definitely not the first (or last) to make wrongful assumptions. I believe we all, both men and women, do it from time to time. What’s important is that we walk away from the experience just a little bit wiser than we were, that’s how we slowly make progress.

    Thank you for supporting the awesome female developers out there (and thank you for adding me to that impressive list!). Women walking around shouting “equality” is not enough to change the industry, we need men like you on our side. Awesome job!

    • Daniel Berg

      Thanks Karoline! Stay awesome and keep inspiring. 🙂

  • Don’t let others to trick you and make you to do what they need 🙂 Be inspired and inspire others.

  • Jens Hauser

    I have done the same mistake ones and I try not to do it any more. The best part is that you realized that you was narrow minded and opened up your eyes.

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