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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)

Summary:
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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Transcript

  1. shaving my head made me a better programmer @alexqin #shavedmyhead

    #TechSummitIO
  2. my story #shavedmyhead @alexqin

  3. #shavedmyhead @alexqin

  4. #shavedmyhead @alexqin

  5. #shavedmyhead @alexqin

  6. #shavedmyhead @alexqin

  7. #shavedmyhead @alexqin you had me at “hello, world”

  8. #shavedmyhead @alexqin

  9. #shavedmyhead @alexqin

  10. #shavedmyhead @alexqin it felt like I was hyper visible and

    invisible at the same time
  11. #shavedmyhead @alexqin “Prove it… do you know what a terminal

    is?”
  12. #shavedmyhead @alexqin

  13. #shavedmyhead @alexqin “Oh, you’re a programmer?” “Well not really… I’m

    trying to become one…”
  14. #shavedmyhead @alexqin “Oh, you’re a programmer?” “Well not really… I’m

    trying to become one…”
  15. #shavedmyhead @alexqin the act of programming makes you a programmer

  16. #shavedmyhead @alexqin 1. discrimination 2. imposter syndrome

  17. #shavedmyhead @alexqin

  18. #shavedmyhead @alexqin

  19. #shavedmyhead @alexqin

  20. #shavedmyhead @alexqin

  21. #shavedmyhead @alexqin

  22. #shavedmyhead @alexqin

  23. #shavedmyhead @alexqin

  24. #shavedmyhead @alexqin “Oh, you’re a programmer?”

  25. #shavedmyhead @alexqin why do I love code if code doesn’t

    love me back
  26. #shavedmyhead @alexqin

  27. #shavedmyhead @alexqin

  28. #shavedmyhead @alexqin

  29. #shavedmyhead @alexqin

  30. #shavedmyhead @alexqin “When I cut my hair short, I stopped

    getting harassed at tech events.”
  31. #shavedmyhead @alexqin “Become a BAD ASS programmer”

  32. #shavedmyhead @alexqin

  33. #shavedmyhead @alexqin

  34. #shavedmyhead @alexqin BAD ASS

  35. #shavedmyhead @alexqin “How do I talk to women at bars?”

  36. #shavedmyhead @alexqin “How do I talk to women at bars?”

  37. #shavedmyhead @alexqin “How do I talk to women at bars?”

  38. #shavedmyhead @alexqin BAD ASS

  39. #shavedmyhead @alexqin NOPE

  40. #shavedmyhead @alexqin

  41. #shavedmyhead @alexqin NOPE

  42. #shavedmyhead @alexqin

  43. #shavedmyhead @alexqin

  44. #shavedmyhead @alexqin

  45. #shavedmyhead @alexqin HACKER

  46. #shavedmyhead @alexqin I was no longer hyper sexualized and under

    skilled
  47. #shavedmyhead @alexqin

  48. #shavedmyhead @alexqin

  49. #shavedmyhead @alexqin

  50. #shavedmyhead @alexqin

  51. #shavedmyhead @alexqin

  52. #shavedmyhead @alexqin

  53. #shavedmyhead @alexqin HACKER

  54. #shavedmyhead @alexqin my environment doesn’t allow capable, passionate people to

    succeed
  55. #shavedmyhead @alexqin what can I do to fix this?

  56. #shavedmyhead @alexqin TEACH

  57. #shavedmyhead @alexqin

  58. #shavedmyhead @alexqin greatness in programming can come from anywhere

  59. #shavedmyhead @alexqin

  60. #shavedmyhead @alexqin Skillshare engineering team 40% women 60% people of

    color
  61. #shavedmyhead @alexqin

  62. #shavedmyhead @alexqin

  63. #shavedmyhead @alexqin software | education | access

  64. what I learned #shavedmyhead @alexqin

  65. #shavedmyhead @alexqin

  66. #shavedmyhead @alexqin

  67. #shavedmyhead @alexqin

  68. #shavedmyhead @alexqin

  69. #shavedmyhead @alexqin

  70. #shavedmyhead @alexqin

  71. #shavedmyhead @alexqin

  72. #shavedmyhead @alexqin

  73. #shavedmyhead @alexqin

  74. #shavedmyhead @alexqin

  75. #shavedmyhead @alexqin

  76. #shavedmyhead @alexqin

  77. #shavedmyhead @alexqin

  78. #shavedmyhead @alexqin DIVERSITY

  79. #shavedmyhead @alexqin DIVERSITY why should you care?

  80. #shavedmyhead @alexqin some bad reasons

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

    PR / Branding because it’s charitable #shavedmyhead @alexqin
  82. #shavedmyhead @alexqin some better reasons

  83. I want to make a lot of $$$ #shavedmyhead @alexqin

  84. #shavedmyhead @alexqin

  85. #shavedmyhead @alexqin

  86. #shavedmyhead @alexqin $$$

  87. I want to have the best team #shavedmyhead @alexqin

  88. I want to build the best product #shavedmyhead @alexqin

  89. #shavedmyhead @alexqin

  90. I care about equality #shavedmyhead @alexqin

  91. #shavedmyhead @alexqin DIVERSITY how do I do it?

  92. understand the problem before you solve it #shavedmyhead @alexqin

  93. #shavedmyhead @alexqin DIVERSITY why is this an issue in software?

  94. #shavedmyhead @alexqin

  95. #shavedmyhead @alexqin

  96. #shavedmyhead @alexqin

  97. systemic discrimination #shavedmyhead @alexqin

  98. 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
  99. the “pipeline problem” #shavedmyhead @alexqin

  100. “I would love to have women in tech but there

    aren’t that many who are interested in this” #shavedmyhead @alexqin
  101. #shavedmyhead @alexqin

  102. #shavedmyhead @alexqin

  103. #shavedmyhead @alexqin

  104. #shavedmyhead @alexqin

  105. #shavedmyhead @alexqin

  106. #shavedmyhead @alexqin

  107. #shavedmyhead @alexqin

  108. #shavedmyhead @alexqin the “leaky pipeline”

  109. #shavedmyhead @alexqin

  110. #shavedmyhead @alexqin DIVERSITY let’s talk about it

  111. 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
  112. #shavedmyhead @alexqin the language of diversity & inclusion

  113. #shavedmyhead @alexqin “Oh, you’re a programmer?” “Well not really… I’m

    trying to become one…”
  114. imposter syndrome #shavedmyhead @alexqin

  115. #shavedmyhead @alexqin

  116. #shavedmyhead @alexqin

  117. imposter syndrome #shavedmyhead @alexqin

  118. #shavedmyhead @alexqin

  119. #shavedmyhead @alexqin “Oh, you’re a programmer?”

  120. unconscious bias #shavedmyhead @alexqin

  121. #shavedmyhead @alexqin

  122. #shavedmyhead @alexqin

  123. microaggressions #shavedmyhead @alexqin

  124. 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”
  125. #shavedmyhead @alexqin

  126. erasure #shavedmyhead @alexqin

  127. #shavedmyhead @alexqin

  128. #shavedmyhead @alexqin

  129. #shavedmyhead @alexqin DIVERSITY

  130. #shavedmyhead @alexqin DIVERSITY you will make mistakes - that’s OK

  131. #shavedmyhead @alexqin

  132. #shavedmyhead @alexqin

  133. “code is gender/race blind” #shavedmyhead @alexqin

  134. #shavedmyhead @alexqin

  135. #shavedmyhead @alexqin Alexandra

  136. #shavedmyhead @alexqin Alex

  137. “I don’t want to lower the bar for my team”

    #shavedmyhead @alexqin
  138. #shavedmyhead @alexqin when you hire minorities, you raise the bar

  139. “affirmative action is discriminatory” #shavedmyhead @alexqin

  140. #shavedmyhead @alexqin DIVERSITY

  141. #shavedmyhead @alexqin DIVERSITY what do I do?

  142. #shavedmyhead @alexqin lack of diversity often happens by accident diverse

    & inclusive environments happen on purpose
  143. #shavedmyhead @alexqin how can rethink my company’s hiring and culture

    in a way that provides equal opportunity for all?
  144. #shavedmyhead @alexqin DIVERSITY measure progress

  145. #shavedmyhead @alexqin

  146. audit your hiring process outreach -> resumes -> phone screen

    -> technical interview -> culture -> interview -> offer -> join the team #shavedmyhead @alexqin
  147. #shavedmyhead @alexqin

  148. #shavedmyhead @alexqin

  149. #shavedmyhead @alexqin DIVERSITY change the system

  150. care understand the problem is systemic start a dialogue make

    mistakes measure progress change the system #shavedmyhead @alexqin DIVERSITY & INCLUSION
  151. #shavedmyhead @alexqin

  152. #shavedmyhead @alexqin

  153. #shavedmyhead @alexqin

  154. – 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
  155. @alexqin engineer & educator @codecooperative @skillshare #shavedmyhead @alexqin