08 Oct 2015 : Consistent fears

I gave a talk at NYU on Monday. Good questions during and in 1:1s afterwards, but what really struck me was the consistent themes in what the students (it was a women in computing group) were absolutely terrified of:

  1. Never catching up with the people who’ve been coding since they were foetuses and being imposters forever as a result
  2. Coding on whiteboards WITH SOMEONE WATCHING
  3. Not ever getting a job (largely because of 1 and 2)
  4. Getting a job and being asked to do something they don’t know to do and being judged and exposed as a fraud

I said reassuring things, but I heard these so many times (and I remember them so clearly from being twenty years old) that I wish colleges taught a class on how having a software job (usually!) involves more support and collaboration and less terror than you think. Also that it’s fine and normal and not a sign of failure or inadequacy to get a job that isn’t your dream job and use that as a stepping stone to get to the place you’d love to work. Man, our industry could do a much better job of welcoming new people.