Diversity is a real issue for us in IT..

It’s strange that most of the people I work with are blokes, in fact they are mostly white blokes between the ages of 35 -55, but then this tends to be a problem across the whole of IT in general.

My main bug bearer though is the lack of women in IT Development specifically.The actual figures make this problem obvious, in google latest diversity figures  although the trend is up, women still form less than 20% of the technical workforce. LinkedIn’s talent trends from 2014 show the figure of women in software to around 16%, there are plenty of examples on the web that show just how bad things are.

Those women that I have come across have tended to be mostly in admin BA, QA or project management roles. I can honestly say that in 20 years I have worked with just 2 female developers, that can’t be right can it?

And you know it’s a real shame as most of the women I have worked with have been exceptional , really really good, but then again working in such a male dominated environment you could almost say they have to be.

So here’s a little story about Penny.

About ten years ago I was a development team lead, working for the Bank of Western Australia in Perth, one of my team was Penny, a grandmother.

Penny had had her family and when they had all grown up and left home she decided to become a software engineer, so she went to Uni, completed a degree and became a java developer.

I only had the privilege of working with her for a year or so and all I can say is the change that her presence made on the team was dramatic. IT Development teams can be a bit “laddie” at times, the humour can be a bit base, but around Penny that all just melted away.

It wasn’t as though she had to say anything, her sheer presence made people just behave in a less testosterone fuelled way, the whole place was calmer, collaboration was up, its was simply a better place to work all round.

Our One-to-Ones became a meeting in the coffee shop, me buying of course and I was in no doubt who was in charge. The natural authority that she seem to exude was amazing, we had a chat about it one day as she simply said the after bringing up 4 boys and a whole heard of grand kids this was a doddle.

So please please please can we have more women in IT Development and without a doubt we need more grandmothers too.