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Shaving my head made me a better programmer - TechSummit Amsterdam 2017

Shaving my head made me a better programmer - TechSummit Amsterdam 2017

Opening keynote for TechSummit Amsterdam on 6.1.2017 (35min)

How do perceptions and stereotypes affect those in software and on engineering teams? This talk tells the true story of how I hacked my appearance, by shaving my head, to change the way I was perceived as a programmer.

This talk also serves as a primer on unconscious bias and stereotype threat, and their effects on individuals and teams. I will provide actionable advice on how to make engineering teams more inclusive, more diverse, and thusly more productive, successful, and attractive to potential hires.

Alex Qin

June 01, 2017

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  1. bad reasons to care because I have to because of

    PR / Branding because it’s charitable #shavedmyhead @alexqin
  2. systemic discrimination #shavedmyhead @alexqin invisible hurdles at every step of

    the way that make it harder for certain groups of people to enter and succeed in technology
  3. “I would love to have women in tech but there

    aren’t that many who are interested in this” #shavedmyhead @alexqin
  4. A diverse environment is one where people from all backgrounds

    are represented. An inclusive environment is one where people from all backgrounds receive equal treatment and equal opportunity by design. #shavedmyhead @alexqin
  5. microaggressions #shavedmyhead @alexqin “You’re such a great coder for a

    girl!” “You’re too cute to be a nerd” “Are you really a programmer?” “You look very exotic”
  6. #shavedmyhead @alexqin how can rethink my company’s hiring and culture

    in a way that provides equal opportunity for all?
  7. audit your hiring process outreach -> resumes -> phone screen

    -> technical interview -> culture -> interview -> offer -> join the team #shavedmyhead @alexqin
  8. care understand the problem is systemic start a dialogue make

    mistakes measure progress change the system #shavedmyhead @alexqin DIVERSITY & INCLUSION
  9. – Beverly Daniel Tatum “I sometimes visualize the ongoing cycle

    of racism as a moving walkway at the airport. Active racist behavior is equivalent to walking fast on the conveyor belt. Passive racist behavior is equivalent to standing still on the walkway. No overt effort is being made, but the conveyor belt moves the bystanders along to the same destination as those who are actively walking. But unless they are walking actively in the opposite direction at a speed faster than the conveyor belt – unless they are actively anti-racist – they will find themselves carried along with the others.” #shavedmyhead @alexqin