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CS Programs Changing to Attract Women Students

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the too-much-y-already dept.

United States 596

Magnifico writes "The New York times is running an article about a push by American universities to actively recruit women into Computer Science courses. The story, 'Computer Science Takes Steps to Bring Women to the Fold', explains that the number of women in CS is shrinking: 'Women received about 38 percent of the computer science bachelor's degrees awarded in the United States in 1985, the peak year, but in 2003, the figure was only about 28 percent, according to the National Science Foundation.' One of the largest barriers to recruiting women to the field is the nerd factor. To attract women students to the CS field, 'Moving emphasis away from programming proficiency was a key to the success of programs Dr. Blum and her colleagues at Carnegie Mellon instituted to draw more women into computer science.' Changes at CMU increased women students in the CS program from 8 percent to nearly 40 percent."

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596 comments

Great for the gene pool (4, Funny)

grub (11606) | more than 7 years ago | (#18767465)



1) Geek woman get CS degrees & jobs.
2) Geek woman meets geek man.
3) ???
4) Aspergers!!!

Re:Great for the gene pool (5, Insightful)

bigtomrodney (993427) | more than 7 years ago | (#18767643)

Its funny you should mention geeks meeting up. Is that the best reason to actively recruit women?
What I'm trying to say is if women don't want to enroll, so be it. Why force this 'positive discrimination'? Now if it was said that there was an overall drop in students enrolling then I would understand some concern but I just don't understand why we should force equality.

Personally I have no interest in signing up for a degree in Fashion Design. Some men may and more power to them but if there are more women signing up than men I don't think they should spend time or money trying to make fashion design more butch.

Re:Great for the gene pool (0)

Bearpaw (13080) | more than 7 years ago | (#18767841)

What I'm trying to say is if women don't want to enroll, so be it. Why force this 'positive discrimination'? Now if it was said that there was an overall drop in students enrolling then I would understand some concern but I just don't understand why we should force equality.

Personally I have no interest in signing up for a degree in Fashion Design. Some men may and more power to them but if there are more women signing up than men I don't think they should spend time or money trying to make fashion design more butch.

The fact that some people react to the effort this way is arguably one of the reasons it's probably a good idea.

There are lots of Women in CS Programs (2, Informative)

ReidMaynard (161608) | more than 7 years ago | (#18767471)

Just not in the USA; they are in China & India -- you know -- where all the job *aren't* going?..

Or as the article says: (4, Insightful)

khasim (1285) | more than 7 years ago | (#18767711)

And there is widespread misunderstanding about jobs moving abroad, said Ed Lazowska, a computer scientist at the University of Washington. Companies may establish installations overseas to meet local licensing requirements or in hopes of influencing regulations, he said, "but the truth is when companies offshore they are more or less doing it for access to talent."

"Cheap labor is not high on the list," Dr. Lazowska said. "It is access to talent."

Bullshit.

If there was that big of a demand over here then more people would be getting into it to take advantage of the high salaries.

There's demand, but there's also a limit to how much will be paid. So it is all about the "cheap labor".

Actually, lots of jobs here (4, Interesting)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 7 years ago | (#18767851)

They are in small to medium size companies. The large companies will play with hiring contractors, but few are moving their work overseas. The only companies really moving the jobs overseas are monster companies that have enormous IT operations or those that are pure IT companies. MS, IBM, HP, ATT, QWEST, Verizon, etc. are all moving jobs overseas. The reasons vary, and the results more so. Where the large companies have found is that hiring in India is difficult due to the fact that the good ones have already been hired on. Now, the majority are those coming from starter schools and 2 year schools. In addition, Indian law makes firing somebody difficult (as hard as in much of europe). At this time, India is actually worse then hiring in America.
That is why Argentina is catching on. If and when Russia ever gets their act together and create better laws for a business world (and enforces them), then that will be THE place to be.

But even with all that, we will still have plenty of good CS jobs here. But I maintain, that we CSers are better off starting our own companies. Even if you have to do a dozen of them before succeeding.

Nerd factor? (5, Insightful)

onion2k (203094) | more than 7 years ago | (#18767515)

One of the largest barriers to recruiting women to the field is the nerd factor.

If someone, male or female, is put off entering a particular study path because they're concerned about how other people will view them then they simply aren't passionate enough about it. Hell, they're not even interested in it. They're better off leaving the place open to someone a little less vacuous.

Maybe it's just me, but I see no reason why people need to be recruited into compsci. There's plenty of interest in it already. Should there be more men going to beauty school just to balance out the demographics a bit?

Let people decide what they want to do and stuff the perceived lack of equality.

Re:Nerd factor? (1)

bhsurfer (539137) | more than 7 years ago | (#18767603)

That's absolutely true - people should do what they WANT to do rather than be coerced into a career they may not like.

Also, I think that attracting women to these programs could have the unfortunate side effect of attracting more men...

Re:Nerd factor? (2, Interesting)

Moofie (22272) | more than 7 years ago | (#18768159)

Why the normative language about gender preference? Why not design the CS program to attract the most capable potential computer scientists, and not worry too much about what their plumbing arrangements are?

Call me crazy.

Re:Nerd factor? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18768253)

Tell that to the universities who *do* care about plumbing. Or is it that they just realize that men are wiseing up to the fact there are few jobs out there, so now the universities set their money-sucking tentacles on a new demographic??? Nah, universities are all about learning.

Re:Nerd factor? (1)

AGMW (594303) | more than 7 years ago | (#18767637)

Maybe it's just me, but I see no reason why people need to be recruited into compsci.

and there's always the big whooha about there's too few women in CompSci, but you don't get film-at-eleven about there being too few men teaching in primary schools, or entering the Nursing profession? It all seems a bit one sided!

But don't get me wrong, I'd love there to be more women in CompSci, as an office full of blokes can be a boorish place to work, and variety is the spice of life and all that!

Re:Nerd factor? (3, Insightful)

richdun (672214) | more than 7 years ago | (#18767649)

Should there be more men going to beauty school just to balance out the demographics a bit?

But, in grade school, teacher said everyone is equal, so shouldn't there be equal numbers of everyone in everything?

Chalk this one up to another "politically correct" falsehood. People aren't equal - don't keep someone from doing something they like, but don't change an entire system of educational thought simply because there isn't a 1:1 ratio in all categories. Do change it, however, because it doesn't work, or because some in the field do a poor job educating real thinkers and instead churn out platform-addicted code junkies.

Re:Nerd factor? (4, Insightful)

cultrhetor (961872) | more than 7 years ago | (#18767767)

What does equality as in ability have to do with equality as in quantity? Absolutely nothing: try again.

Re:Nerd factor? (1)

richdun (672214) | more than 7 years ago | (#18768071)

Actually, that was my point. Many believe we should have equal quantity simply because they believe there's equality in ability. In reality, we have neither - some people are better than others at certain tasks, and you can't just look at gender, race, economics, etc. to find a dividing line and expect it to be indicative of ability. Just because more men do something doesn't necessarily mean they are better at it than women, or that the field is somehow better at attracting men than women. It could just be that there's an inequality in interest, which isn't something you can combat in all cases.

Re:Nerd factor? (4, Interesting)

freemywrld (821105) | more than 7 years ago | (#18767717)

Maybe it's just me, but I see no reason why people need to be recruited into compsci.

I agree. I am woman in the IT field, and am very passionate about it. I have a degree in Biology -it turns out I am also passionate about science. I understand that universities care about demographics across programs, but you rarely hear about programs trying to attract more men for Women's Studies, do you? Anyway, my main point is, attracting women to CS can be all fine and good, but what I would really like to see is a job market that is more gender balanced. There still exists a school of thought that women are less suited to IT. More women with CS degrees may help this some, but in the end, not everyone who is interested in IT work necessarily gets a CS degree.

Re:Nerd factor? (4, Interesting)

Omnifarious (11933) | more than 7 years ago | (#18768039)

I've been on the interviewer side of the table more than once when a woman showed up to be interviewed. In general, the reaction (not in front of her of course) has been to be flabbergasted and pleased that we might actually end up with a girl who was working in the tech side of the business.

We did apply the same standards of hiring both (yes, I said both, it only happened twice, and both times the girl was Asian) times and she made it. Once just scraping by (she didn't care a lot about quality and took criticism very poorly, but she did know how to program fairly well) and the other doing pretty well.

I find this rather depressing. When I worked at Amazon, the only women who were ever hired as programmers were from Asia (most from India). There is some strong cultural force at work here that discourages women from becoming programmers.

I wish I understand what it is that convinces US born women to not become programmers. I don't think it's a harassment issue. That's not something I've especially noticed. Though, since I'm a guy, it's possible it just passed me by.

But, I haven't noticed the bias you speak of. As I said, the places where I've been an interviewer people were really happy that a woman was interviewing. And it wasn't because they wanted to hit on her either. :-)

Re:Nerd factor? (1)

TobascoKid (82629) | more than 7 years ago | (#18768213)

There is some strong cultural force at work here that discourages women from becoming programmers.

I would think that it's the opposite - in other parts of the world people (regardless of gender) are encouraged to become programmers. So people of both sexes become programmers. In the west, rarely is IT ever encouraged as a career path for anyone, so the only people who get into it are the people who are really interested in it/passionate about it, and there's an inherent gender bias in doing IT out of passion as compared to do getting into IT just for the money.

Women enter IT when IT is seen as a legitimate career choice, and IT being viewed as a legitimate carrier peaked in the 80s.

Re:Nerd factor? (1)

Das Modell (969371) | more than 7 years ago | (#18767891)

This is insane feminism at its finest. It's not enough that women can completely freely choose to study CS, because "equality" won't be achieved until women make up 50% or more of CS students. Meanwhile, nobody cares how many women are training to be plumbers, electricians or truck drivers. Nobody cares how many men are becoming hairdressers, fashion designers or nurses. I do believe the field of plumbing is suffering because it lacks a feminine perspective, our entire civilization could be in danger of collapsing as a result.

Feminists won't be satisfied until there's a nanny state regulating how many percent of women make up any given field of study or profession.

Re:Nerd factor? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18767907)

Wrong. You're an idiot.

Re:Nerd factor? (1)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 7 years ago | (#18767955)

Should there be more men going to beauty school just to balance out the demographics a bit?

Equal Rights doesn't work in that direction. There are even laws on the book the prevent men from doing jobs. For example a Male Day Care teacher in New York State cannot change a Baby's Diper. If they did it would be against the law. But that law will probably never get off the books or chalanged mostly because Day Care Teachers get paid so little that it isn't worth changing the laws for. The same with beauty school. Being a hair dresser is not considered a professional level job that will bring the country to the future so any imbalace is just overlooked because it is considered a low paying and low reward job.

nerd factor (4, Insightful)

Visaris (553352) | more than 7 years ago | (#18767527)

Moving emphasis away from programming proficiency was a key to the success of programs Dr. Blum and her colleagues at Carnegie Mellon instituted to draw more women into computer science.

I realize that there is more to CS than programming, but I would be surprised if theoretical computer science, which is more math intensive, would be that much more appealing. . . . Any way you go, I don't see how to remove the nerd factor from CS.

Re:nerd factor (4, Insightful)

Millennium (2451) | more than 7 years ago | (#18767759)

Exactly. While programming is not the only aspect of computer science, it is easily the most important. De-emphasizing it amounts to lowering the bar, and that isn't acceptable in any field. Diversity is nice, but it's not worth compromising standards of excellence.

Surely there is a better way to attract women to CS. Surely the issue of women not being interested isn't just a "Programming is haaaaaaaard" thing; women are not Barbie dolls. If we assume that there's a genuine problem, then we need to be spending more effort figuring out why, rather than using this as a convenient excuse to lower the bar.

Re:nerd factor (4, Insightful)

The_Wilschon (782534) | more than 7 years ago | (#18767927)

Programming is to computer science what engineering is to physics. Programming isn't science, it is an application of science. You wouldn't say that engineering is the most important aspect of physics, and you wouldn't say that de-emphasizing the engineering aspects of physics amounts to lowering the bar. Rather, the opposite. Emphasizing the engineering aspects of physics amounts to lowering the bar in a physics program.

Really, the fields of programming and computer science ought to be separated. Most people studying computer science are doing so because they want to learn programming. Conflating the two means that people wanting to study computer science itself have a hard time finding a program which meets their desires. If de-emphasizing the programming aspects of computer science in a conflated program causes more women to enter and complete that program, then separating the two ought to achieve a similar effect, and would still provide a program for those who wish to learn computer engineering more than computer science.

Re:nerd factor (4, Insightful)

Millennium (2451) | more than 7 years ago | (#18768083)

Programming is to computer science what engineering is to physics.

I'd argue that it's more like what math is to physics (and to computer science).

Programming isn't science, it is an application of science.

It's also the means of expressing that science, which is ultimately why they're as inseparable as math and physics. Take away the ability to record knowledge and it dies.

You wouldn't say that engineering is the most important aspect of physics, and you wouldn't say that de-emphasizing the engineering aspects of physics amounts to lowering the bar.

No, but I might say these things if a school were to de-emphasize mathematics in its physics programs. In fact, this is why I made the Barbie reference in my previous post.

It's not the same. (1)

khasim (1285) | more than 7 years ago | (#18768115)

Programming is to computer science what engineering is to physics. Programming isn't science, it is an application of science. You wouldn't say that engineering is the most important aspect of physics, and you wouldn't say that de-emphasizing the engineering aspects of physics amounts to lowering the bar.

Actually, I would. There aren't that many theoretical physicist jobs (or theoretical physicists). Most people studying physics are studying it because it relates to their REAL interest (such as engineering).

Computer science is not about programming. It is about UNDERSTANDING programming. Programmers can take any number of 2 year degrees and be proficient enough in a language to get a job. They don't need to know how to write a compiler.

You can take CompSci out of programming and still have a decent BEGINNER programmer.

If you take the programming out of CompSci you have someone who knows the theories, but cannot do anything with that knowledge.

Re:nerd factor (1)

Lockejaw (955650) | more than 7 years ago | (#18767979)

Surely the issue of women not being interested isn't just a "Programming is haaaaaaaard" thing; women are not Barbie dolls.
Also, if that were the problem, you'd have as much trouble getting men into CS as you would women.
The real problem is that certain professions are seen as belonging to males or females, so people somehow feel that it's improper to go against these trends.

Re:nerd factor (1)

jmorris42 (1458) | more than 7 years ago | (#18768057)

> De-emphasizing it amounts to lowering the bar, and that isn't acceptable in any field.

More importantly, since EVERY school isn't likely to redefince what CS is you will end up with with a two tiered system of degrees, "Real CS" and "Women's Studies CS" and employers will weight them accordingly while swearing as loudly as they can they aren't. Which one do YOU want to spend a crapload of cash aquiring? If your CS Dept is becoming feminized, transfer NOW lest you get stuck with a worthless piece of paper.

And since there won't be detailed records, even those who graduate under a real CS program will see their degree devalued if their Alma Mater switches so recent Alumni have cause to howl. Stand up and fight this now and it can be beat back. Either women ARE roughly equal[1] to men and can suck it up and succeed by the same rules as men or they AREN'T and have no place in a man's world. Ladies, you can't have it both ways or even worse pick and choose as the whim hits. And if women, for whatever reason, don't tend to like CS I fail to see the crisis, so long as those few who DO have the hankering are allowed in and aren't persecuted for their choice. The world would suck if everyone had exactly the same interests.

[1] All men/women are NOT created equal, that is socialist twaddle. Both genders and all races ARE equal enough that the spread overlaps enough to ignore it and just leave the differences to individual variations.

Re:nerd factor (2, Funny)

DriveDog (822962) | more than 7 years ago | (#18767915)

Wouldn't shifting the emphasis away from programming skills in the CS program begin to crowd the MIS program?

Re:nerd factor (3, Interesting)

deanc (2214) | more than 7 years ago | (#18768281)

I realize that there is more to CS than programming, but I would be surprised if theoretical computer science, which is more math intensive, would be that much more appealing

In my experience, women in computer science lean heavily towards theory, where they are over-represented compared to their numbers in CS departments overall. Men in graduate programs tend to heavily dominate the "systems" groups.

I always figured this was because boys grow up "playing with computers" and already have interest in programming, while equally-capable women get into computer science later and, with less already-established interest in programming, get excited about theory.

Bad idea (3, Insightful)

soft_guy (534437) | more than 7 years ago | (#18767531)

I think dumbing the program down to attract women is ultimately a bad idea.

Re:Bad idea (3, Insightful)

eln (21727) | more than 7 years ago | (#18767647)

It's not only a bad idea, it's insulting. They think that dumbing down the programming component is necessary to attract women? What does that say about the women that are already in CS? Are they to be applauded for working so hard to overcome the inherent deficiencies of their sex? Are women in CS just talking dogs (no one cares if they're good at what they do, people are just amazed they can do it at all)?

If some people find CS too hard to do, then fine. Let them either do something else or, if they're passionate enough, work harder at it. Dumbing down the curriculum is not the answer to anything. The only thing this will accomplish will to put even more ill-qualified people out in the workforce and further accelerate the USA's decline in technological leadership.
 

Re:Bad idea (3, Interesting)

Nightlily (140378) | more than 7 years ago | (#18767985)

I agree it is insulting. I think programming is essential to a good computer science education. I think maybe the approach should be (and this would help all students) is show that writing code is just part of the process. I'm a programmer and yes I write a lot of code. However I read a lot of design specs, spend a lot time in design meetings, spend time talking to potential users, spend time talking to testers, debugging, etc...

The very idea that somehow I overcome some inherent deficiency to become a programmer is horrible.

For example, I was helping my parents clean out their basement. My parents kept all my report cards, progress reports, etc... I found a progress report from my junior high school programming teacher. The person commented that I was picking up programming faster than the other students and suggested my parents encourage me to go a computer camp or learn a more complex language. My parents dismissed the very idea of me being a programmer. There was no deficiency on my part.

Re:Bad idea (4, Insightful)

nSignIfikaNt (732122) | more than 7 years ago | (#18768245)

This is America. If you can't measure up to the standards then we lower the standards so no one's feelings get hurt.

Re:Bad idea (1)

akheron01 (637033) | more than 7 years ago | (#18767725)

Seriously, what's next? Affirmative action to get more whites and asians into being olympic sprinters and basketball players? People of different genders/races/make-ups are good at different things IN GENERAL (although anyone can do whatever they WISH to) so why force things to work differently?

Re:Bad idea (1)

mdm-adph (1030332) | more than 7 years ago | (#18767743)

Well, it worked for fixing the problem with low scoring from certain demographics on aptitude tests, didn't it?

Didn't it...?

Re:Bad idea (5, Insightful)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 7 years ago | (#18767793)

They aren't dumbing down the program. RTFA.

Moving emphasis away from programming proficiency was a key to the success of programs Dr. Blum and her colleagues at Carnegie Mellon instituted to draw more women into computer science. At one time, she said, admission to the program depended on high overall achievement and programming experience. The criteria now, she said, are high overall achievement and broad interests, diverse perspectives and whether applicants seem to have potential to be future leaders.
They are talking about admissions criteria, in the context of high school computing backgrounds. Attracting talent that may or may not have extensive programming experience, rather than focusing just on the people who enter college with a lot of programming under their belt -- those people are overwhelmingly male.

Might they have some catching up to do? Sure. But at least they won't have bad programming habits to unlearn, which can be just as bad as inexperience.

Re:Bad idea (1)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 7 years ago | (#18768063)

Upon entering my Software Engineering program, I had almost 0 programming experience. Some HTML and some QBasic. That was it. I don't think I was any worse off than most of the other students. I know students who had a lot more programming experience than I did, and who were much worse programmers in the end, or even after the first semester.

Re:Bad idea (2, Insightful)

Bluesman (104513) | more than 7 years ago | (#18768157)

broad interests, diverse perspectives and whether applicants seem to have potential to be future leaders

You can't measure this, which means it's shorthand for "whoever we feel like picking."

Which means they'll take a woman with no programming experience over someone with a history of interest in computers specifically, just because she's a woman.

More power to them. The competition in the field just got that much easier for those of us who had a real education.

As much as I hate political correctness, I sure as hell can't escape the realization that policies like these only benefit me personally. No, I'm not a minority woman.

Thank you, closet bigots!

I can't find that in the article. (1)

khasim (1285) | more than 7 years ago | (#18767831)

They claim that it is NOT dumbing it down.

But I cannot find a comparison between their graduates and the graduates of any other school.

Who really cares how many X you graduate if they're the lowest scoring graduates in the industry?

Now, if they can increase enrollment (and graduation) while maintaining scores that are at least average for all the other schools, that's good.

I don't see how focusing on getting more X into the field would result in that, though.

Re:Bad idea (1)

Mike1024 (184871) | more than 7 years ago | (#18768003)

I think dumbing the program down to attract women is ultimately a bad idea.

Isn't it possible changes could be made that did not constitute 'dumbing down'?

For example, 2003 was the first year that female medical school applicants [aamc.org] outnumbered male. This doesn't implicitly mean medical courses have been dumbed down for women; it could mean opinions in society have been changed, and/or courses have been modified to appeal to both genders instead of just one.

Perhaps similar modifications could be made to computer science courses. For example, if computer science courses over-emphasise a 'hacker culture' of all-night programming sessions and cold pizza eating, that might not appeal to women. But you could discard such culture without harming the academic integrity of the course.

Re:Bad idea (1)

soft_guy (534437) | more than 7 years ago | (#18768127)

For example, if computer science courses over-emphasise a 'hacker culture' of all-night programming sessions and cold pizza eating
If you can't stay up all night hacking and eating cold pizza, why would I want to hire you - especially fresh out of school??

My own CMU story (5, Funny)

bconway (63464) | more than 7 years ago | (#18767547)

This past year, I was accepted into Carnegie Mellon's [cmu.edu] School of Computer Science [cmu.edu] . It has been a remarkable experience that I would like to share with the community. Here's an account of my experience.

Week 1, Sunday: I moved in today. My roommate, a sophomore CS student, had already moved in two days before me. The floor is already completely covered with garbage. He also smells. I think he might be gay too. He's already asked me if I like the color he painted his toenails. This should be interesting. I am almost completely settled in. Techno music is playing in every room in every floor of my dorm. There are computers and other types of trash out in the common areas. What a mess. Tomorrow, I am going to go sign up to get my network connection.

Week 1, Monday: I got hooked up to the CMU network today! I jacked into the network, only to find that the hostname and address assigned to me were colliding with another system. I'll just increment the network numbers a few times. I am really eager to get on.

Week 1, Tuesday: I am still looking for a free IP address. Can't anybody here properly configure their systems?

Week 1, Friday: I finally found a free IP! It's mine! You sons of bitches can't have it, I found it, I keep it, it's mine! To hell with all of you! Head hurts really bad. I've slowly been developing a headache since I first arrived. Everywhere I look there are these Lucent Technologies wireless access points. I wonder if that's the problem.

Week 1, Saturday: I sat down at my computer today. My desktop wall paper is now the goatse.cx guy. Pleasant. Scattered over every directory on my C: drive are thousands, possibly millions, of files titled "J00AR30WN3DBITCH-phj33r-" and then some random hacker's name. Don't these people have lives? Maybe they need laid or something. It'd take days to clean this out. I mentioned to my roommate that I needed to reinstall Windows, and immediately he jumped up and shouted: "NO! Do NOT use Windows!" Suddenly, two dozen other guys (all of them possibly homosexuals) appeared at the door, each touting an operating system called Linux. Half of them got into a fight over which was better, Debian, RedHat, Slackware, and a bunch of others I couldn't recognize. Some kid who appeared to not have showered since he was born was touting "Linux From Scratch," saying that only losers used pre-made distros. A crowd of people in the back kept quiet about how I'd be sorry if I used Linux instead of BSD on the network. Who the fuck are these people? Classes start next week. Hope I have my computer working so I can do my assignments.

Week 3, Friday: People are still trying to get Linux to work on my system. They keep telling my that my hardware sucks. We go through about four or five distributions a day. Every now and then, I notice a little devil on my screen. Stickers for every of these distributions have been plastered on my case. Suddenly, my room stinks a lot more with these people in here. I ask them why they never shower, and the usual response is something along the lines of "showering is like rebooting" and "I don't want to lose my uptime."

Week 3, Saturday: There's a troop of men running naked in a circle around McGill Hall. I am not even going to ask.

Week 4, Wednesday: Linux is FINALLY working on my computer! I have a pretty slick desktop too. I think I might like this. I can finally work in my room instead of the labs, although considering the every increasing layer of garbage on the floor...

Week 4, Thursday: My computer flashes messages about how I am "0WNX0RED" and how I should "PHJ33R" whoever and how "L4MEX0R" I am for having an insecure box. A kid suggests we reinstall Linux after discovering about 17 rootkits.

Week 5, Friday: Someone got BSD working on my computer. I wonder if this will last. The stress has been building and I forgot to take a shower this morning.

Week 6, Tuesday: Seems I have been "0WNX0R3D" again. Took longer this time. Minutes later, someone comes in with a "Bastile Linux" install CD. He gets started installing. I am feeling very suspicious of these guys.

Week 6, Thursday: Everyone seems to know more about my system than I do. It's a bit unnerving. I guess anyone could feel upset from this sort of treatment. They hack my box, trash it, then reinstall everything. I guess they think they're being funny. My dirty clothes are piling up and I am out of clean ones. I don't have time to do laundry, I'll have to wear something out of the pile.

Week 6, Friday: I got up this morning, sat at my machine, and stared at it blankly. An icon appeared on my desktop for Quake III. I suppose it couldn't hurt to play some. I have been very stressed lately.

Week 6, Sunday: I lost track of time! I started playing Quake III on the network with some other CMU students (who killed me hundreds of times in the course of 10 minutes) and completely lost myself. There's a bag of chips that has been sitting here for a few weeks. I think I'll finish those off for breakfast and then go to sleep.

Week 7, Wednesday: I masturbate every day now. Not a single girl comes near me. This is so depressing. Do I really smell? Oh well, I have the task of learning how to secure my Linux box to keep me busy. Who has time for the opposite sex after all?

Week 8, Tuesday: I got into a fight with this little shit who kept telling me RedHat was great. What a fucking moron! Anybody who knows Linux knows that Debian kicks its sorry little ass. I'll be getting my judiciary papers for the incident in the mail. Doesn't this school get it? I can't let someone go around converting people to RedHat! WtF!?

Week 8, Friday: My roommate squeezed my ass today! At first I was shocked and appalled, and I told him off for it. Thinking about it later though, there was just something that seemed too strong about my reaction. I'll talk to him later and appologize for getting so upset, it wasn't really so bad.

Re:My own CMU story (0)

prichardson (603676) | more than 7 years ago | (#18768077)

Right right... we get it: geeks don't shower, spend too much time with linux and computers in general, etc.

However, the homophobic streak in your post is pretty disturbing. What's the deal?

As an aside, I also see a lot of thinly veiled misogyny in this discussion. Maybe that's why no women are in CS?

Moving away from proficiency (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18767563)

Soooo let me get this straigth, to attract women they actually need to reduce proficiency? Is their job teaching or meeting quota?

Why does this matter (3, Insightful)

Neil Watson (60859) | more than 7 years ago | (#18767571)

Why should it matter who is getting comp-sci degrees. Shouldn't we care that the candidates are good and not what colour, race or sex they are?

Re:Why does this matter (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18768161)

for the same reason it matters when every top-level executive is a white male. it's not that others are less qualified, it's that they are made to feel (inappropriately) different by those in the field. you don't need to be a pasty white nerd to be a good compsci student. but you'll feel more comfortable because those are your professors and the role models in the field, regardless of ability or dedication or whatever other words people like to pat themselves on the back with.

WTF? (1)

yammosk (861527) | more than 7 years ago | (#18767575)

To attract women students to the CS field, 'Moving emphasis away from programming proficiency was a key to the success...'
Huh? I know there is more to CS than programming, but isn't this like saying "Let's move away from Calculus to attract more Physics majors"?

Re:WTF? (1)

MontyApollo (849862) | more than 7 years ago | (#18767803)

Physics - talk about a lack of females...Maybe 3-4% in upper level classes.

Slipping standards are not a solution... (3, Insightful)

Digitalia (127982) | more than 7 years ago | (#18767579)

They intend to attract more CS students by eliminating the need for programming skills? I have heard time and time again from recruiters that more and more CS graduates are completely incapable of programming, so why exacerbate the problem by graduating even more students who are unable to perform adequately?

CS is more than just programming, but a CS student incapable of programming is about as useful as a physicist who cannot do math. To suggest that the standards of a program should be relaxed to achieve parity between the genders is ridiculous. What are we to do in other fields, where the number of women exceeds that of men? In the field of education, are we supposed to graduate students who don't know how to teach? Are art majors supposed to leave school without learning any technique?

cs without programming proficiency? (1)

krnpimpsta (906084) | more than 7 years ago | (#18767587)

To attract women students to the CS field, 'Moving emphasis away from programming proficiency was a key to the success of programs


Wait, so what's the point?

Re:cs without programming proficiency? (1)

CaptainPatent (1087643) | more than 7 years ago | (#18767807)

To attract women students to the CS field, 'Moving emphasis away from programming proficiency was a key to the success of programs

This sounds like Microsoft's policy:

Who needs proficiency anyways? Besides... those buffers will never overflow!

Re:cs without programming proficiency? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18767871)


To attract women students to the CS field, 'Moving emphasis away from programming proficiency was a key to the success of programs

Wait, so what's the point?


It depends on what they are really doing. A lot of CS majors are my-dick-is-longer-than-yours programmers who think that they are the hottest thing on earth because they can write code that no one else can understand.

These folks aren't really suited to CS anyway, and are destined to be code-monkeys all their lives, so discouraging this element would be a good thing for its own sake.

OTOH, if they are just turning CS into some sort of "Computer Studies" program then this is a horrible move that is insulting to everyone, and will destroy the program.

Great idea! (5, Insightful)

cabalamat3 (1089523) | more than 7 years ago | (#18767589)

Moving emphasis away from programming proficiency was a key to the success of programs

This is a good idea and I think it could equally be applied to boosting the numbers of under-represented groups in other areas. For example, proficiency at flying should no longer be a requirement for airline pilots. And surgeons shouldn't have to be good at doing operations. To say otherwise is elitist and divisive.

Erm (1)

ilovegeorgebush (923173) | more than 7 years ago | (#18767593)

Did anyone stop to think that perhaps women just aren't interested in Computers courses at college?

Certainly not a bad thing getting more Women in to Computing though. Right now, there's one female member of the development team where I work as a programmer (and I didn't do a CS course FYI).

If you want more women in CS... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18767595)

...try shifting the emphasis toward corn muffins and lobster bisque! Seriously, the program directors should focus on producing top-level, competitive people regardless of their demographic.

Computer Science WITHOUT programming ? (1)

unity100 (970058) | more than 7 years ago | (#18767599)

Or even reduced ?

are these missing the point that even the smallest piece of crap that operates in anything computer related has programming involved in it ?

are they giving a computer science education, or running a matchmaker service ?

What?!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18767607)

"Moving emphasis away from programming proficiency was a key to the success of programs..."

Isn't that like changing an auto-mechanics class so that it has "less emphasis on repairing mechanical problems" ?!?!?! It's a "success" that they attracted more women, but they "succeed" in graduating women who can code?!

Work at home Moms? (2, Interesting)

LoverOfJoy (820058) | more than 7 years ago | (#18767613)

When I went to BYU around the start of the dot com boom, there was a lot of talk about how the women graduates were in demand and (from our school at least) they made more on average than their male counterparts. A big recruiting bullet point was the possibility that women could have kids and work from home. From what I'd heard, that didn't pan out as well as hoped and while at-home jobs ARE possible they are still far from a given and most still need to go into the office regularly. Has the ability to work from home improved significantly since those days?

Does this sound wrong to anybody else? (3, Insightful)

grasshoppa (657393) | more than 7 years ago | (#18767621)

Shouldn't CS programs be changing to adapt to business needs ( like a real networking degree )? Or how about a CS program that changes to better educate the students?

Seems somehow wrong to be cattering to a gender.

Re:Does this sound wrong to anybody else? (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18767821)

>Seems somehow wrong to be cattering to a gender.

You can't escape the doggerel.

Is it a good idea to change the curriculum? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18767623)

As a current Computer Science major at Georgia Tech I agree there aren't enough women in CS, but should they really change the requirements? Shouldn't the degree program be setup in the best way to train students to work in the industry. Programming is a very vital part of computer science. If you can't program, you should look into another field of study.

CS for Bitches (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18767625)

'Moving emphasis away from programming proficiency was a key to the success of programs

Maybe they should try nursing.. if they can handle sticking people.

Don't get it (2, Insightful)

ObiWanStevobi (1030352) | more than 7 years ago | (#18767627)

"The nerd factor is huge," Dr. Cuny said. According to a 2005 report by the National Center for Women and Information Technology, an academic-industry collaborative formed to address the issue, when high school girls think of computer scientists they think of geeks, pocket protectors, isolated cubicles and a lifetime of staring into a screen writing computer code.

Well, the pocket protectors, and I'd imagine think black glasses with white tape on them, are obviously not true, the rest of it is pretty accurate.

"They think of it as programming," Dr. Cuny said. "They don't think of it as revolutionizing the way we are going to do medicine or create synthetic molecules or study our impact on the climate of the earth."

Yeah, doing all sorts of cools stuff, through programming.

Maybe the problem isn't with computer science being nerdy or writing code, just maybe the problem is with assholes spouting off to media trying to make being nerdy into a negative stereotype, and trying to make sound as if writing code is somehow uninteresting.

Sexist (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18767635)

One of the largest barriers to recruiting women to the field is the nerd factor. To attract women students to the CS field, 'Moving emphasis away from programming proficiency was a key to the success of programs Dr. Blum and her colleagues at Carnegie Mellon instituted to draw more women into computer science.'

Hey, why don't you drop the computer bits altogether and replace it with knitting?

Seriously, if women aren't attracted to things like programming, then they shouldn't be taking computer science. Of course, we all know that there are women who like programming, even if they are a minority, the real issue is whether or not those women get a fair shot at it, not the absolute numbers. Mollycoddling students by partially skipping programming is only going to produce even more clueless graduates than usual, at which point people will be asking "How come fewer female graduates are employable? Let's make their jobs easier by skipping the programming there too!"

Pity. (1, Interesting)

Just Some Guy (3352) | more than 7 years ago | (#18767655)

Too bad. CMU had been a well-respected university. Are there any other schools that are also likely to be dropping off the map in the near future because of similar schemes?

The problem will fix itself (1)

lonechicken (1046406) | more than 7 years ago | (#18767669)

I went to highschool and college with a girl who was in most of my CS classes. She was a hotty, cool as hell, and a college athlete. Not nerdy in any sense. I think she went into teaching afterwards. Her father is/was a college CS prof, so I think that's where that came from. If that's true that she's teaching, I'm not sure if it's good or a waste.

Unrelated. Man, there are tons of Chinese women programmers at the new company I work at. Seems like a pretty good pool of talent to draw from.

Okay, I didn't know what to put in the subject line.

Re:The problem will fix itself (1)

Uzuri (906298) | more than 7 years ago | (#18768101)

Might not be a waste when you think about it.

When I was in college, the CS and Math department professors were overwhelmingly male. That can be a bit discouraging to young women entering the field, so having some female teachers is a good thing.

Of course, none of that ever bothered me. I've always been the sort to do whatever the hell I felt like doing, norms be damned.

offensive and really quite strange (2, Interesting)

andy314159pi (787550) | more than 7 years ago | (#18767675)

' One of the largest barriers to recruiting women to the field is the nerd factor. To attract women students to the CS field, 'Moving emphasis away from programming proficiency was a key to the success of programs Dr. Blum and her colleagues at Carnegie Mellon instituted to draw more women into computer science.'
Does she not see how this might be considered offensive to male students (i.e. 'guys in CS are nerds') and women (i.e. 'we have to dumb down the curriculum.') What are these people thinking?

Re:offensive and really quite strange (2, Insightful)

Billosaur (927319) | more than 7 years ago | (#18767843)

Indeed. If they want to attract women to CS, it needs to start not at the college level, but at the junior high school and high school level, where girls are discouraged from becoming proficient at math and science by mainly male teachers.

False advertising (1)

PatriceVignon (957563) | more than 7 years ago | (#18767681)

The article says that the reason the numbers are so low is: "when high school girls think of computer scientists they think of geeks [...] and a lifetime of [...] writing computer code." Instead the universities would prefer to see CS as "the intellectual challenge of applying the study of cognition and the tools of computation to medicine, ecology, law, chemistry -- virtually any kind of human endeavor."
In order to make computer science more attractive (especially to women) some universities have dropped programming experience as an admission criterion. Isn't this misleading advertising, since you will never be able to get around the programming requirements in the actual CS program? And if you are only interested in CS because of its applications in, e.g., medicine, wouldn't you be better off studying that and taking additional CS courses during your studies? In that way you will even be able to convince some women that CS is attractive to them, because they see what they can use it for. And maybe they will switch to CS or do another degree in it later.

WTF (1)

ddimas (629883) | more than 7 years ago | (#18767689)

So now you don't have to program in order to be a computer scientist, Cool! Does that mean that I don't need to learn about all those chemicals to be a chemist?

Paging Larry Summers.... (1)

MikeRT (947531) | more than 7 years ago | (#18767691)

To attract women students to the CS field, 'Moving emphasis away from programming proficiency was a key to the success of programs

You mean that there might have been something to what Larry Summers said about women in science and engineering, that resulted in feminists getting the vapors? At my alma mater, we had some professors who were great on the "science" of Computer Science, and light on the actual application through programming, and guess what? They were the most useless professors we had at teaching. Our hardware expert couldn't code in any language or even write ASM to illustrate what he was explaining.

So, to make CS safe for women, we'll make it a degree factory. I'm sure my fiancee, who graduated as a programmer, not a "theorist" will be thrilled to know that CS programs are catering to the women who, unlike her, in our classes couldn't program their way out of a paper bag with the top lifted up.

Recruiters (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18767699)

So, how many of you are going to volunteer to go to Carnegie Mellon now to scope out future talent for your corporation?

Reduce Standards! It's the only way. (1)

onkelonkel (560274) | more than 7 years ago | (#18767701)

Moving emphasis away from Patient Care proficiency will draw more men into Nursing! We must address the gender imbalance in nursing!

Re:Reduce Standards! It's the only way. (1)

Dominare (856385) | more than 7 years ago | (#18767879)

Hah, yes. I showed my wife (who is competent in C++ and is currently learning Java) this story and her reaction wasn't pretty. I've never really agreed with the so-called 'affirmative action' movement. There should be no consideration given to a person's race, gender, hair color or favorite cheese - the only thing that matters is their ability and enthusiasm for the course.

Hopefully, someday these people will realize that saying "OMGWTF there's not enough women/blacks/OAPs/russians/mexicans/space invaders doing X!" is almost as bigoted as denying them the right to do X in the first place.

I, for one, welcome... (0, Offtopic)

mdm-adph (1030332) | more than 7 years ago | (#18767703)

...our new busty, scantily-clad programming overlords.

20 Years Too Late (5, Funny)

lbmouse (473316) | more than 7 years ago | (#18767707)

Why couldn't they have done this when I was in school? It was a regular sausage fest in my FORTRAN 77 class.

Is the increase in female CS students at CMU (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18767713)

because they are attracting more qualified female applicants? Or could it possibly be that they are just admitting more females(could be both as well). Carnegie Mellon is an elite school, if they decided they were going to accept more female students, then odds are they would find no shortage of applicants. However, more likely than not those applicants are people who are obviously passionate about CS and would have probably ended up at another program if they were not accepted by CMU. So does this really increase the number of females studying CS overall? Or just at a particular university?

baeh... CS.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18767727)

These days CS is entirely about repeating buzzwords and getting a job as consultant with a wage that entirely depends on your buzzword vocabulary (Look at the Articles passed by Zonk and you know what I'm talking about).

If you don't like that, then stop studying CS and start working for your own instead. Work on your own projects. Learn PHP. Earn some money by adding adsense to your projects and be happy with the greates of all hobbies.

Don't let the IT business ruin that for you.

It took me a year to get the bitterness and buzzwords out of my head. The IT business is made for people who want to earn money the easiest way possible (With buzzwords). IT business can kill the motivation in people who like to tinker and create things.

This is hardly new (2, Interesting)

jandrese (485) | more than 7 years ago | (#18767747)

I went to college between 1995 and 2000 (co-oped for a couple of semesters) and this was already a big issue with our local administrators, especially the only female professor on the staff. She was always going on trips to high schools around the area trying to get women interested in computer science. She organized (with the help of the ACM) computer science events that were marketed towards girls (especially in high school) to try to convince them to enter the field. They most certainly did not reduce the math, programming, and other "nerdy" parts of the curriculum to try to attract more girls.

On the other hand, all of that work was apparently for naught because my graduating class of around 50 students had exactly 1 female graduate (who was already married). While our year was especially bad, the numbers for the other years weren't much better. We did start with considerably more girls freshman year, but almost all of them dropped out when they realized that the large amount of homework and projects would cut into their evenings and weekends a lot, and when they realized they were literally one class away from a Math minor.

male CS students flunk out of school (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18767795)

If they do this all my fellow male CS students won't be paying attention to the lectures anymore. Have you ever seen nerds around women?

Re:male CS students flunk out of school (1)

mdm-adph (1030332) | more than 7 years ago | (#18767845)

Yeah -- a bunch of dudes generally looking at their feet, stumbling over words, and actually being fairly respectful compared to the reactions that women get from most other men.

Your point?

Forget it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18767797)

Let's just issue more H1Bs so we can outsource the whole mess.
There's no reason for American to futz with this stuff, we're just not competitive in computers anymore.
India can do it cheaper so why bother? Americans can sell real-estate or be venture capitalists.

Why not call it Math? (1)

mechsoph (716782) | more than 7 years ago | (#18767849)

CS without programming is just a math degree, right? Why not call it that and be done?

Also, 28%?! It's more like 8% here.

Wierd People (1)

pembo13 (770295) | more than 7 years ago | (#18767855)

So it is sexist to let women naturally enter into a field. But it is _not_ sexist to dumb down a field with the intention of drawing in women?

Asinine answer to asinine statment (1)

lonechicken (1046406) | more than 7 years ago | (#18767865)

"...some women love applications and some men love applications."
Isn't that what the "Information Technology" discipline/sub-degree is for, that some colleges offer in their business schools? And if it's more than just business apps, well go use your scientific apps, or become those management types that act as "the client" who works with lead developers to flesh out specs and look-and-feel and all that other crap.

Not everyone needs to go into CS. Just enough, regardless of sex or the ability to attract a mate.

38% in 1985 is highly misleading, foreign vs US (1)

AHumbleOpinion (546848) | more than 7 years ago | (#18767873)

Women received about 38 percent of the computer science bachelor's degrees awarded in the United States in 1985, the peak year, but in 2003, the figure was only about 28 percent, according to the National Science Foundation.

I graduated in the late 80s from the University of California, I expect my class offers some insights into that 38%. 38% in 1985 is highly misleading. While I recall 30'something percent nearly all were foreign students, only a handful were US citizens. Before we start trying to address American cultural issues and American perceptions, we need a breakdown of those 1985 and 2003 figures showing foreign and US numbers.

Java (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18767877)

No wonder they are pushing Java so much...

Er...umm... (1)

NewbieProgrammerMan (558327) | more than 7 years ago | (#18767885)

What?

'Moving emphasis away from programming proficiency was a key to the success of programs Dr. Blum and her colleagues at Carnegie Mellon instituted to draw more women into computer science.'
Given that the computer "science" program at many colleges (at least the ones I've been exposed to) is mostly just a vocational technology program for programmers, how is it going to help anybody to turn out graduates that are even less proficient at programming?

"They think of it as programming," Dr. Cuny said. "They don't think of it as revolutionizing the way we are going to do medicine or create synthetic molecules or study our impact on the climate of the earth."

Maybe I'm just a big meanie, but if you can't cut the programming aspect of CS, I doubt you'll really be all that useful when it comes to using computers to "revolutionize" solving those big, complex medical/physics/climate problems. If you're good at working on those problems in their domain, but suck at programming, maybe you're in the wrong degree program.

I'm all for coming up with new ways to get people interested in CS, so long as it doesn't involve trying to convince them that it's not all about the "hard" stuff that's kinda central to the field.

FEMALE students... (2, Insightful)

KenAndCorey (581410) | more than 7 years ago | (#18767949)

Not WOMEN students! I don't know why the media has started using WOMEN as an adjective. You don't see them using the word MEN instead of MALE (e.g., "CS Programs Changing to Attract Men Students").

Sorry... just a pet peeve of mine.

More talent, no wait (1)

Chyldes (463583) | more than 7 years ago | (#18767971)

Direct quotes from the article:

"but the truth is when companies offshore they are more or less doing it for access to talent."

Others accuse her and her colleagues of lowering standards. "Well, we would not have success if we did," she said.

So Companies are going overseas because they need access to talent and we are lowering the standards to provide more people with less talent?!?!?

Growing Pains (2, Interesting)

Bluesman (104513) | more than 7 years ago | (#18768069)

This is all part of the growing pains of a relatively new, hot field. This too shall pass.

If you can't handle the political correctness, you guys should hop on over to the Electrical Engineering department. There's absolutely no effort to dumb things down to recruit girls here -- the math is about 20 dB more difficult, and there's no way around that.

Besides that, if you do encounter a girl, odds are about 2 to 1 she doesn't even speak English.

So come on over to EE. Nobody cares how socially inept you are here. The nerd factor has been converted to the frequency domain, where it's just lost in the noise.

as a woman programmer... (4, Interesting)

butterflysrage (1066514) | more than 7 years ago | (#18768073)

let me say this... you can change up the university degree all you want and you will not radically change the gender makeup of the student body as that is not where the problem is... it's in the highschools.

The number of girls that are presured by friends, family and even teachers to get out of maths and into the arts and social sciences is crazy. "Math just isn't a good choice for you... how about law? or history?", if this was just from other girls it wouldnt be as bad, but that quote was from my algebra teacher (a course which I got a 90% in dispite his dislike of me). Young girls are actively presured by teachers and adminsistration to avoid maths and science.

If you really want to get more girls into comp sci, stop highschool teachers from telling us what we can and can not do.

Things have changed (1)

rumblin'rabbit (711865) | more than 7 years ago | (#18768145)

When I took Computer Science in the mid to late 1970's, there were almost as many females as males. Of course, the perception of programmers as nurds wasn't as fully developed then - indeed I don't recall that term even being used.

It suggests to me that public perception, even when it's sort of funny and not intended to be mean spirited, can be damaging.

In other news (1)

rbanffy (584143) | more than 7 years ago | (#18768165)

The head of the CS department demands, as is "his right as a man", to be called "Loretta".

He also demands the right to have babies.

Two Words (0, Troll)

EveryNickIsTaken (1054794) | more than 7 years ago | (#18768183)

Pink iBooks.

Slashdot culture part of the problem (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18768205)

Read the comments above and weep. Who would want to study, let alone work, in an environment with a bunch of sexist men (boys?) like these.

The article isn't talking about removing programming from computer science, but removing programming as a entry requirement for computer science. Just as OB-GYNs aren't required to have given birth before applying to medical school.

Not sure how to think about this. (1)

ErichTheRed (39327) | more than 7 years ago | (#18768225)

I think the gender gap in computer-related employment might be partially self-selected. Admittedly, there is evidence that earlier education may be part of it too. Lots of women report being encouraged to take on "softer" career choices like marketing, design, etc. My wife, a very smart woman in her own right, was often passed over to answer questions in her math and science classes growing up. She wound up doing fine for herself, but I wonder how many other women just gave up early on.

But, you have to admit that the field isn't all that attractive on the outside to women.

Pros of a career in computing:
  • Relatively high wages (outsourcing aside, it still pays well for the amount of actual work put in.)
  • If you play your cards right, your success isn't determined solely by office politics like it would be in a management or marketing position
  • You never quit learning if you're doing it right. Perfect for education junkies.

Cons that might make this unappealing:
  • Long hours -- most places expect on-call work. If you're truly good, you can expect to be asked for advice all the time.
  • Not the most conducive to child care -- if you take a year or two off in a non-computing career track, you can get back in pretty quickly. Not so for our chosen field, unless you've kept sharp!
  • The nerd factor -- Deserving or not, our field has the stereotype of being introvert and nerd central. Women are social creatures and very few would rather spend their time solving difficult problems.
  • Being employed in what is perceived as a misogynistic culture also isn't a big draw. Take a poll; how many of your colleagues are porn addicts, use crude humor in the workplace, etc? Women just don't stand for that. There's a reason why companies make us go to sexual harassment training, and some of us really need to listen!

I'm all for diversity, but let nature take its course. We should be more focused on getting domestic students interested in the field at all, regardless of gender. For those of us who love it, it's been a tough 5 years or so. Outsourcing is on everyone's mind...the truth is that working for ultra-big companies is going to be less of an option in another 5 years or so. It's going to be the medium-sized companies employing IT people domestically.

Also, we should focus on quality of graduates. I love my work, and really try my best every day to make sure anything I do is done right. Many others are _still_ here for the money, even after the dotcom mess. I just want people to work with who can correctly troubleshoot a problem, and apply logic instead of randomly changing things until they work. Developers who produce optimized code wouldn't hurt either...I'm sick of tiny apps requiring 512 MB of RAM to run correctly (and that's not Java either!!)

Sad for CS (1)

N3WBI3 (595976) | more than 7 years ago | (#18768237)

Obviously Women are capable of being good programmers so to chage CS programs by not focusing on the task 90% of CS majors will be doing in the workplace does a disservice to all of them and their male counterparts.

As a female CS major... (5, Interesting)

zelphie (678912) | more than 7 years ago | (#18768261)

I'd be overjoyed to see the percentage of women in my courses get above 10%. But I don't think that changing course content should be the answer, since I don't think it's the problem. Instead, I'd blame:

1.) Lack of any experience of CS in high school. Even in schools that offer AP CS (which mine didn't), isn't it usually an elective that could just as well be filled with a language or second science course or music, etc? Since it's not a required class like math or chemistry, it's pretty easy to graduate from high school without ever even realizing computer science exists... or that you're good at it or like it.
2.) And when you get to college, who wants to have all their courses with just guys? Especially when everyone knows that CS majors are nerds? So why bother seeing if you like it? If everyone there already is a guy, then they must be better at or it something, right? Why else would it be so unbalanced?
3.) Bad advising. When I told mine I wanted to take intro to CS, because I was planning on majoring in chem and thought it might be useful, she told me I should take a humanities course instead, because I'd probably get a better grade. Luckily I decided to take it anyway and liked it enough to change my major.

And now when I try to convince friends to take the intro course (because I thought it was fun... and it could be good to know anyway), my guy friends tend to say that it sounds interesting, while my girl friends usually say something about how they'd probably fail. I think until the perception of who can take CS classes and do well in them changes, changing the curriculum or appearance of the program won't do much.
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