Blog

Brave New World (of Java)

It took a while, but by the time I graduated this past May I felt pretty comfortable in Computer Science.

p>3 I knew most anyone I’d bump into in the halls of our department and the windowless labs full of beep-booping computers had begun to feel like home. I’d pretty much figured out how to be a student, but learning to navigate the workplace is a whole different kettle of fish.   Now I've got questions, so many questions. How do I transition gracefully from knowing the most to knowing the least? How do I make good decisions when I'm new and have limited context? What will my job be like when I'm 30? 40? With my questions comes a host of uncertainties about gender in the workplace: will I be taken seriously if I wear makeup and dye my hair blond? If I say something dumb will they induct it to all women? Am I allowed to wear shorts??

new world of java

Then again lots of these worries aren't new, they just have higher stakes. If I were to point out a professor's gendered comment in school they might not write me a recommendation, but in the real world it could mean negative performance reviews and never getting promoted. Of course these issues aren't limited to women in engineering, but they're particularly salient when most of your co-workers are men, especially when you're aware that the very act of worrying prevents you from doing your best work.   And I don't want to not think about my skirt length if it's going to cost me a job, but I don't want to work in a field where I have to think about that constantly. The environment in which I'm working is as important as the work that I do, which is why I care so much about making tech a place where anyone can feel like they belong.   I want a female engineer to be able to devote all of her mental energy to the problem at hand instead of worrying about whether her input will be discounted because of her gender. I want a black college senior to be offered the same starting salary as a Zuckerberg look-a-like. I want a trans programmer not to question whether they're welcome in the women’s group, and I want it to be unsurprising that those identities overlap or exist on the same team.   I'm not entirely sure how to build that world -- that goes on my list of questions -- but I know it requires everybody caring about these problems, not just the people they affect. Because minorities don't tend to be the ones filling board rooms, and the people already working in industry are the ones responsible for making it a place where anyone can thrive. That means confronting ingrained biases, questioning the myth of meritocracy, and valuing people based on the non-technical work they do for a company as well as how fast they write code.   That's the world I want to work in: not one that's perfect but one where I spend my time collaborating with coworkers to fix problems instead of convincing them they should care in the first place. So far at Delphix that’s been very much the case, from instituting unconscious bias training to looking for leaks in our pipeline to asking how we can better engage women with our scholarship. And we're just getting started.