Weird to see guys new to my corner of tech coming in with cheerful questions like "Hey, I don't know this thing! Can you explain x"
When I started I was much more apologetic. Felt like every question reflected on how little I knew in general.
I wonder how much of that was attributable to my own self-doubt, and how much was due to people actually writing me off as non-technical.
Now I'm confident that I've done a lot, and am capable of learning new things with enough application of time and effort.
But I still get comments occasionally that reveal some people assume a woman in a mostly male tech space doesn't know anything. I laugh it off now, bc I know that's on them, not me. But it's the type of thing that would have sent me into an existential crisis a few years ago.
At a conference recently, I went over to a table of guys around a computer.
Asked "Whatcha working on, can I join?"
One of them says "It's very complex stuff," with dismissive body language.
Guy I know says "jay can handle it" and makes room for me to sit down.
Yeah, I facilitated multiple sessions at the conference on this, and just spent weeks implementing a related feature.
One rude person doesn't ruin my day anymore, but this type of thing beats down beginners.
At the same conference, I was talking to a woman who was enthusiastically describing her company's tech. I asked, "are you a founder, developer?" She was a founder.
Always assume people are experts, even if they don't "look like" your conception of an expert.
You'll either be right, or if you're wrong, it'll still be a respectful assumption. And it'll probably be a relief to people constantly needing to justify why they belong in a space.
@arcalinea Hell, I'm a white man and I still get imposter syndrome constantly. I have no idea how women and minorities deal with it.
Our woman CEO was asked - after a 20 minute conversation the other day - "what do you do here?"
@arcalinea Yeah, but many "founders" are developers that are experts at copy and pasting GPL and public domain code, and more so now than ever. Just ask Microsoft, but Canonical doesn't seem to mind too much. I'm sure GitHub was a huge score for them too.
@arcalinea this has happened to me so often. At first I thought it was because I was young, but I'm no longer young and it still happens. This is also what makes veterans wonder if they just picked the wrong industry, and leads to many of them eventually quitting. Sucks to be treated like the eternal tourist.
@arcalinea very much so. When somebody dismisses a question like that with "it's very complex stuff", what I hear is "honestly, I'm so bad at it I don't even know how to explain".
@arcalinea I'm not a software developer, but I work in a position that gets routinely dismissed as not understanding the technical stuff (when I'm more technical than the all the project/people mgmt side people assume). I definitely agree with your sentiment here!
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