2012-05-13

college attracts female software engineers

4.3: news.cyb/dev.py/
college attracts female software engineers:

. after switching to an easy programming language
(going from Java to Python)
Mudd college is attracting many more females
into their computer science programs .
David MacQuigg:
edu-sig@python.org/transforming CS at Harvey Mudd/5:40 PM:
Excellent article.  It is good to see the revolution
moving forward in at least a few schools.
Khan Academy is also adding CS.
This is very encouraging.
When I read the headline
"Giving Women the Access Code",
I was worried that it sounded like a
watered-down course for women.
It's not that at all.
It's the guys that need to change their attitude.
When I see our introductory class
with 220 freshmen in a course on C,
2/3 of whom will be "washed out" by next year,
I wonder how many of them will go on to be
leaders in law, politics, even technology.
What will be the impact of their lack of
understanding or appreciation of what us techies do.
It's no wonder engineers are not even in the room
when important decisions are made.
my response:
. the article he refers to said women got interested
in a computer science program
after the program shifted its focus:
"(. this course isn't about wrestling with
monster languages like Java or C;
we use an easy language like Python
so you can get on with what's important:
getting your machine to do more of your job .)
I think he goes on to say:
. so many of tomorrow's leaders
are being put off by the monster languages;
and, they are destined thereafter to have
little understanding or appreciation
of what techies[automators] do.
(make the world a more efficient place).
. engineers are not invited to requirements meetings?
I don't think it's because of a lack of
understanding or appreciation of what techies do;
rather, the psychology of leadership
includes something like computer science's
Principle of Least Priviledge:
the safest and simplest way to conduct business
is to develop modules with clean, minimal interfaces:
that means interfaces that don't include
inputs a module doesn't need .
. engineers may prefer having a say in their job,
but an engineer's performance should not require that,
unless it's a very new technology,
in which case the mgt has no idea what is possible
without the engineer's input .
. what's missing from an optimal world
is making everyone fluent in their ability to
automate or precisely document their job;
and, I think moving to Python
is a step in the right direction .