Testosterone-laden Code Ruining Everything


I suspected as much. From today’s WSJ:

There’s a big need to fix testosterone-fueled code at Ingres because only about 20% of the engineers are women, McGrattan says. (Most of them are in jobs involving quality assurance or adapting the product to a new locale, she says, and not the “heavy lifting” of writing code.) She’s on a mission to get more women interested in computer-programming careers. But “it’s proving very challenging,” she says.

Emma McGrattan, the senior vice-president of engineering for computer-database company Ingres–and one of Silicon Valley’s highest-ranking female programmers–insists that men and women write code differently. Women are more touchy-feely and considerate of those who will use the code later, she says. They’ll intersperse their code–those strings of instructions that result in nifty applications and programs–with helpful comments and directions, explaining why they wrote the lines the way they did and exactly how they did it.

Full story here.


2 responses »

  1. I don’t buy the premise of this article at all.

    If 80 percent of programmers in a given group are men, then it stands to reason that at least 80 percent of the crappy programmers in that group will be men.

    I would also theorize that number would actually be higher since a woman generally would have had to jump through more hoops to get her position than a man did, and is therefore more likely to be competent than the 80 percenters.

    There’s obviously a problem that a woman has to work harder to get where she is than a given man did, and is probably being paid less to do so. But that doesn’t prove anything about whether a particular gender is more likely to write crappy code. Correlation does not equal causation.


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