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.