I love what I do. Technology makes me happy. Solving problems, making lives better are all worthy goals. Recently in the news there have been talk about diversity in technology. I am against diversity for diversity sake. People should want to do technology because they love it not to meet a quota. On the flip side I hate seeing barriers to diversity. When developers attack other developers because they are new, female, some ethnicity other than yours or some other reason, they stifle innovation. They create an environment that makes the atypical developer not want to participate, stifling diversity.
A while back I started following Iris Classon on twitter. She was new to development and was pretty much self taught. She devoted time to really learn her craft. She sought out mentors and worked hard to mentor new developers. She is a good role model for anyone who wants to get into technology. I had the chance to meet her a Microsoft Build Conference a while. You could feel the enthusiasm she had and she wasn’t afraid to share it. She had (I say had, more on that in a minute) a blog that asked the “stupid” questions that new developers have and she sought to answer those questions. She was an active member of the community.
Because she is different, when I met her she had bright pink hair (how many developers have pink hair), she drew attention to herself. A lot good but some bad. The twitter trolls out there started harassing her. “Experienced” developers, who forgot that they had to start somewhere, gave her a hard for the work that she did. Remember I said that she wasn’t afraid to share and ask for help. The community is great place to learn, to innovate and when it turns on one of its own it is sad. Because of these public stress and the stresses of everyday life (I am guessing), she has decided to withdraw from the community. Deleting her Facebook page, removing her blog and pretty soon her twitter feed will be silenced. Very sad. I enjoy her contributions and now……
I am not really close to her, I only met her once and did not interact with that much (although her arm wrestling match at Build was enjoyable). I do feel that I should say something. So Iris, here is my advice to you (or anyone for that matter). First do what you love. Don’t let anyone discourage you from doing that. Next ignore the negative but not the constructive criticism (that is how you grow). Take a step back from the community for a while. Rejuvenate yourself. If you feel you need to contribute in the future do (I would look forward to it). Remember Twitter Troll don’t define you and what you do, that is up to you to do. But above all else do give up!!!!!
The sad truth is that there will always be people, in the world, who discriminate. If you let them rule who you are then they win. If you can overcome, you win! Ignore the negative and strive for the positive. You will be missed!