Sunday, November 13, 2011

Goodbye to the Bye for Men in Technology

Being a weekend in Fall, when football is on many people's minds, I got to thinking about "byes". A bye, in sports and other competitive activities, is the practice of allowing a player or team to advance to the next level without playing. In my career (though rarely at my current company where diversity is valued as a business advantage), I've seen numerous men get jobs because of who they know, not what they know. They're given a bye. They are allowed to advance despite marginal skills, education, or experience simply because they are on the right team, the mostly male team. I call for an end to this practice, and I'm not alone!

Last week I joined approximately 3,000 people (mostly women) from 34 countries in Portland, OR for the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing. It was a wonderful celebration with terrific speeches, panel discussions, and opportunities to hobnob with women of all ages. I was especially impressed by the college students and recent graduates. The young women I met are brilliant, poised, easy to talk to, and interesting. Their knowledge of hard-core computer science astounded me. Their college studies result in skills that are very much in demand: computer programming, software engineering, data mining, statistics, hardware design, bioinformatics, medical informatics, computer networking, etc.

Every major company was at this conference interviewing for new talent (Facebook, Google, Amazon, Adobe, Apple, Pixar, Cisco, Intuit, Symantec, State Farm, Bloomburg). Numerous universities were also interviewing for professors and for PhD students. These organizations aren't waiting for privileged men to waltz into a position after getting a bye. By the time men schmooze the old boys club, the jobs will be gone, taken by brilliant young women who earned their way into the interview. Good bye to the bye for men in technology. It's time for technology to be a meritocracy and for men and women to compete on equal footing. OK, back to your regularly scheduled program. (Go 49ers!)


  1. Add Oracle to the list of companies recruiting at GHC. (How did you miss us?) I'm hiring for all roles related to microprocessor design: verification, logic design, circuit design, composition, etc., etc. Many other groups in Oracle are also hiring.

    - Mary Jo
    Director of Hardware Development

  2. Thanks for the comment, MJ. Sorry I left out Oracle. It wasn't meant to be an exhaustive list. Oracle is a great place to work from what I hear. I have friends who started there right out of school and ended up as VPs! Thanks again.