Got any advice?

I was interviewing an potential summer intern yesterday (hey college students, apply to be an intern at 10gen!) and at the end she asked me, “I’ve never been interviewed by a female programmer before. Do you have any advice for me, being a female in a computer science?”

I had no idea what to tell her. Other than specific, non-gendered stuff like “learn how to use Linux” and general platitudes like “don’t let the bastards grind you down,” I couldn’t think of anything to say. So, what advice would you give a female CS student?

The most memorable piece of advice I got in college from a female engineer was, “You will cry at work. Try to make it to the bathroom before you start bawling,” which wasn’t terribly helpful. (And I haven’t yet, HA!)

  • Sunnysusan
  • kristina1

    That’s some great advice (and some not-so-great advice… Jill Smith seems to have a chip on her shoulder).

  • jenna

    Make a point to find awesome female role models (like you). Definitely makes it easier to survive in a male-dominated work environment 🙂

  • kristina1

    D’aww 🙂

  • Venk Tatineni

    Dont acknowledge and try to address gender differences. Its a waste of time. Let the engineer in you shine and spend your energy on solving the right problems, that are worth the effort.

  • Tiberra

    What an odd thing to ask.  As a female in IT, I don’t think I ever felt the need to highlight gender differences.   In fact, the few degrading comments that I got,  came out of non-IT folks.    

    Many women cry easily, many like to shop for clothes and shoes, so what? Many can code to the best of anyone. 

  • kristina1

    I think it’s pretty natural to wonder what the working world will be like, and wonder what the experience of people similar to you (e.g., from the same school, of the same gender, or interested in the same subjects) is like.  Besides, I think many women have heard  about other women having problems or experienced discrimination first-hand, so they want to know what to expect.  It’s great you haven’t.  Not sure what your point is about clothes and shopping.

kristina chodorow's blog