Like A Girl

Pushing the conversation on gender equality.

Code Like A Girl

Fuck it, let’s change the tech industry right now

Photo by Ryan Forsythe under Creative Commons Attribution-Sharealike License

It’s sure been a super-fun summer for women in tech! We enjoyed daily allegations of sexual harassment for weeks, followed by the “why can’t we just DISCUSS why women and people of color might be biologically less able to write software?” memo and its copycats. The cherry on top of the shit sundae was Ellen Pao’s book Reset and her assessment that we’ve raised plenty of consciousness but the facts on the ground still aren’t changing.

I am so done with all the excuses for delay. Not to step on anyone’s shine, but inspiring 10-year-olds to love STEM and get CS degrees in vast numbers might be intrinsically good but is also a recipe for the tech industry continuing to stew in its own bullshit indefinitely. No! What we need to do is change things right fucking now, using what we have — because what we have is good enough.

I’m so ready to throw down on this. With the enthusiastic support of my employer, Topix, I am pledging to personally hire and train up to 4 junior devs right now. We will teach you the very most marketable technologies including React, MobX, Sass, SQL, Linux, AWS, Ansible, and Looker. You will work at scale, since we push billions of pageviews a month (many of them with kittens!). You can bring your well-behaved dog or cat to the office to keep you company. You will be paid market rates, work sensible hours, and take mandatory PTO. No one will sexually harass you or question your biological fitness to do your work. If there is a technical badass within you, we’ll help you find it.

Who is Topix?

We make what I believe are the highest quality slideshows and quizzes on the Internet. They aren’t gross or exploitative at all, in fact I think our writers are the wittiest in the biz. Did I mention that many of our slideshows are about kittens?

Our business is profitable and growing. Our metrics are literally unbelievable, even to other media companies. You can learn a lot here about what makes people want to click on entertaining content, and how to market that content successfully. I’m not a management puke myself, so I can say our management is super transparent and data-driven: for instance, they actually took heed of the evidence that people need vacations, and implemented a “use it or lose it” policy to make it happen.

The engineering team is 30% women and 95% PoC with significant intersectionality, and we always want to add even more diversity of thought and life experience. We enjoy a strict no-asshole rule and do not want to add more diversity in that regard.

What’s the catch?

What we’ve found since we started this search is that there is a big gap between the skills taught at most code academies and those that we need. We are absolutely not interested in your jQuery, Ruby on Rails, MongoDB, or Express skills except insofar as they demonstrate a desire to be a lifelong learner and the ability to learn a better stack. We also believe in the web and mobile web, so if you still want to do mobile apps we’re not the place for you (also you should probably read up on app installation rates and PWA).

Because this is an exercise in taking more risk in our hiring process, we are going to hire fast and fire fast if things don’t work out for any reason. Remember that the reason could be mostly our fault: for instance we may have unrealistic expectations about how much new technology we can cram into you, or we may not have as much bandwidth to mentor you as we had expected due to unforeseen circumstances. We expect all separations to be handled with professionalism and kindness on all sides.

We are located in Palo Alto, CA. Sorry, but you must get to the Bay Area entirely on your own. We cannot sponsor visas, relocate you, or train junior devs remotely (don’t @ me bro).

We don’t serve free lunch every day. We have a nice kitchen with a nugget ice machine and an ice cream fridge, but there are no sushi bars or wood-fired pizza ovens in our office. Personally I prefer to get more salary and bring my own lunch to work every day, but if you must have a cafeteria there are a lot of other Silicon Valley companies that will be happy to provide.

Wanna join us?

Junior devs, shower me with your resumes at joyce@topix.com!

Senior devs and engineering managers, I am literally taking a page from Tracy Chou’s playbook and starting a list of orgs that hire and train very junior devs, especially those from non-traditional backgrounds. Send me your stats please, and let’s all collect data that can be used to push other companies into the pool. We don’t need to wait for some higher power to fix technology, we have the power to do it ourselves right now.