How to recruit more women to CS…

This topic has being quite hot for a while, and if you ask me, I will tell you it’s a good thing. However, people often ask me: Hettie, what’s the buzz? Why so suddenly, why now? It looks like some political campaign. What’s the reason?

Well, the reason is, that there are simply too many openings in CS, and while male programmers and data scientists are out there, the employers start thinking, that they are missing a half of a potential pool of candidates – and rightly so!

Look, when women do not even want to try to study computer science, they might not even know they can be good in it! So they will never become CS major grads, and consequently will never become employees at Enova :).

In order to have more female to apply for IT jobs, you first need to have more female, graduating with IT degrees! This article has being sitting in my Inbox for a month. I wanted to write about it, but totally didn’t have time.

It tells about the efforts some top colleges are making to attract more female to IT – we all know that the percentage of female among CS graduates dropped to 18% nationwide from the max of 37% in 1985 (which is my graduation year, BTW :))

Should the courses be “adjusted” to be appealing to more female? Probably not, but some other efforts may be paid off. For example,

Harvey Mudd revised its recruiting brochures to show photos of women, and it hired women as campus tour guides. “We made it very clear that being a female scientist, that’s normal,” Maria Klawe, president of Harvey Mudd, said Tuesday at the Fortune Brainstorm Tech conference in Aspen, Colo.

Other interesting moves include removing the requirement of the previous programming experience as an admissions criterion, which opened the door to girls who have not been exposed to it (Carnegie Mellon). The University of Washington has a program to train high school teachers to teach computer science and host camps and mentoring sessions for young students. The programs are not all gender-specific, but end up recruiting girls because they are less likely to pursue technology classes otherwise (which hits, that the quest to attract more female should start way before admission).

This being said… in about 4 years I am planning 1) still to be with Enova 2)have at least 30% of junior new hires being female.

Should I include this goal into my Individual Development Plan?


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