Here we go…
On Twitter, I came across the Rails Girls Summer of Code, a campaign whereby female students are sponsored to learn and work full-time on open source (presumebly Rails) projects for three months. This doesn’t sit well with me.
As a male, I’ve worked hard to get where I am. My journey began at secondary school. The Internet was the big thing, nearly every one was online (albeit via dial-up), and I knew I wanted to be a professional doing something with it.
I started with HTML, checking out a book from the school library. By the time I finished secondary school, I was hand-coding table-based websites for friends and family and myself in Notepad on my home PC (I didn’t know what an IDE was at this time).
I enrolled on an e-Media course at college and here I progressed at a rapid pace, being introduced to things like IDEs (then-Macromedia Dreamweaver) and building on my skill set with things such as colour theory, web standards and accessibility. By the time I left college, I was proficient at both designing and web site and then building in standards-compliant HTML and CSS (and dropping table-based layouts like the nasty habit they are).
My point is: I worked hard, because it was what I knew I wanted to do and what I was passionate about. There may be more males in the web industry, but what if this is just an anecdotal fact? What if it’s just a case of more males wanted a career in the web industry than females? It’s because of this reasoning I don’t think starting all these campaigns to “get women coding” is right. If a women wants to forge a career in the web industry then they can with a lot of hard work.
I feel this blog post may garner a lot of criticism, me being a guy an’ all, but it’s just something I wanted to get off my chest and share my opinion on. I’m all for women in the web industry, but because they want to be and not because they saw it as an easy way in after being paid for three months to sit at home and try it out. There are a lot of talented females in the industry; namely Sarah Parmenter, Veerle Pieters, Inayaili de Leon and many others. As far as I know, they worked to get in the industry and to be where they are, and they are revered to be at the top of their profession. There is no substitute for hardwork, passion and determination.
I don’t know what other people’s opinions are on the matter. Maybe I’m immune to what women face in the web industry and part of the problem, much like a certain episode of South Park.
As always, I’d love to hear your thoughts on this subject. If you don’t feel like commenting publicly then I’d love to hear from you via email, and I’ll of course keep any correspondence confidential.