Like A Girl

Pushing the conversation on gender equality.

Code Like A Girl

Musings From a New Programmer

It’s week zero of my nine week apprenticeship at 8th Light in Chicago. Everyone said it would be hard. Everyone also said I would get through it. I’m questioning how “Everyone” got such a positive magic eight ball shake regarding my journey. So far all I’m seeing is “Outlook not so good” with every failed test.

See… I’m no engineer.

I’ve played a lot of different roles inside technical organizations over the years. I also ran my own consulting company and I know how hard it is to walk the consultant tight rope of delivering what a customer wants, while delivering what the customer actually needs.

I can build you a kick ass recruiting strategy. I can grow mentorship and conference strategies that develop healthy learning cultures. I can geek out with the best geeks in data/software/hardware/devops in the land. I can contribute! I can ask the tough questions! I can help learners learn! I can lead!

But I cannot write a line of code.

Now lets be real clear- I do not want to be a programmer.

I do want to create environments and cultures that allow for technologists and their teammates (product, project management, sales, operations, HR, finance etc) to do their best work together. When the entire community/organization has an understanding for each other’s role they collaborate much better together to build the best product, offer the best service, write the best software etc. and just plain dig working together in a meaningful way.

You’re great! No YOU’RE great!

Let’s consider a product being a healthy tech culture that drives autonomy, connection, and excellence. If I’m the product designer/owner responsible for delivering that product to my customer (in this instance- my team/organization) I have to have a high degree of empathy for what their experiences are. I need to understand:

  • What they care about.
  • What their pain points are.
  • How I am uniquely positioned to respond to their needs.

At 8L people don’t just “appreciate” healthy engineering practices, they are at the core of the crafter philosophy. How can I understand their values and motivations if I don’t have empathy for what my crafter teammates do all day? If I preach empathy to teams (and I preach that a LOT) then it’s time I really understand with my fingers exactly what “healthy engineering practices” means.

I’m jumping down the rabbit hole to better understand the people who are my teammates, the people I may mentor and (hopefully) even the customers I want to delight. So…. See you next week? If I make it? Perhaps it will have sunk in why in Ruby classes and objects are the same thing? Classes= cookie cutter, objects=cookie? I hope some of you reading this understood that. (I’m working on it.)

I’ll find that missing space yet!