Recently I posted a very simple job ad for an open junior developer contract. The demographics of the applicants were diverse-- diverse in terms of educational background, economic status, gender, race, sexual orientation, and more. The people who responded were also impressive and totally qualified.
It made me wonder what was wrong with most companies complaining about a lack of qualified, diverse candidates.
I don't have a special diversity program in place. I didn't do any complicated outreach. I spent under 5 minutes writing the job description, I just wrote something that I thought sounded friendly and informative. I didn't do any outreach other than one tweet.
I mean, we're a two-person team, and both full time programmers! We don't have much extra time for recruiting.
I don't have clear answers on why I see so much diversity in programming and others don't. There are others much more qualified than myself that can help you analyze this. But I did get requests to write about it, so here goes.
What work do I do outside of that?
- I attend as many local events as I can and try to get to know everyone. I'm vocal in some online communities. I'm careful to bring in lots of voices into them and welcome all kinds of backgrounds. I love feeling like I'm a part of a community. I love making friends.
- I keep in touch with a lot of people, see how they're doing, and try to help them out whenever I can. It's not about me when keeping in touch. I think a community is about giving back much more than getting.
- I do a lot of mentoring for people who are junior or new to my field, which can look really similar to just being friends and keeping in touch. I do a whole lot of this. I don't discriminate in who I mentor, but I am always highly aware of whether or not the person would have this guidance if it wasn't for me, and if the answer is no I try to do an extra good job.
- I try to set a good example, with all of the above and in the work I do. I don't work a lot-- I make space for living life, and I encourage others to do the same. I work from home, on a flexible schedule. When I do work with people, I try to pay them as much as I can. I try to pick really cool problems to solve, partially to show that all of the above can be possible while also doing awesome and innovative work.
- I try to read all I can on how to make the tech industry better. There are so many good pieces and thought leaders on this. A great place to start is http://www.modelviewculture.com . Put the same critical thinking power you give to technical problems to this topic!
- I talk to people about how to make a better culture in games, a lot. And whenever possible, I try to write little public pieces or statements on how I'd like the world to be.
Do you have problems with diversity in your company? If so, do you try all of the above?