I was lucky enough to represent Yahoo! during the Grace Hopper Celebration. This conference was to promote Women in Technology and Defense and named after the woman who created COBOL, coined the term ‘Bugs’ (a story any first year computer science student knows), gained the highest Non-Combat Military Honor allowed by the Department of Defense, and has a guided missile destroyer named after her. I’ve been wanting to go to this conference forever, so yes, super thrilled!
I thought I’d have plenty of time to hang out and check out the booths and whatever sights Portland had to offer. That was incredibly optimistic. My interviews started at about 10 in the morning and lasted until 9 at night. I wouldn’t have traded that for anything. That first interview set the tone for my entire day.
A question I always asks is, ‘What are you interested in?’ When dealing with High School and College Students, I accept that they don’t always know what’s really out there. Also, hearing ‘I’ll do anything,’ makes me think that one doesn’t know where their strengths are. I also explain that I work with Yahoo! Sports and that working on something I truly enjoy really puts things in perspective. So, the first girl asks if I really work at Yahoo! Sports. I ask, “Do you visit the site a lot?” She says, “I did until the stupid lockout happened,” referring to the lockout happened. My mind went, ‘I want her.’
Now I’m not HR. So I don’t have final say. But, as another Sports Engineer pointed out, programmers who like sports is already a small population. Girls who are programmers who also like sports are rare commodities.
But, really the one thing I loved about interviewing here was seeing girls who wanted to be Engineers. Usually girls who are interested in technology are really only consumers. To run into so many who love programming made me feel better about the field. We found so many smart, talented girls here, I can’t wait to meet them again in the field!