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So a female programmer walks into a bar…

This post was originally published on Gosia's personal blog and made our hearts melt. We've decided to share it here as well.

I will be honest – I am a bit scared to write this post as I know this can be a very sensitive topic that produces very extreme reactions. But I honestly feel like I need to say something because of what I experienced working at Netguru.

So let’s start with the root of the problem and the inspiration behind this wall of text you can see below – the seemingly very irrelevant thing that is my gender (I can hear your groans, but bear with me here).

The cause is simple – I’ve received a comment doubting my general competence as a programmer simply because someone went through my post history and found out I’m not a man. I did not misread the cause – hell, I’ve asked what exactly was wrong with what I wrote and I got a very clear response of “you’re a chick, leave this crap to REAL developers”. This is the Internet, this is very common that everybody gets hated on no matter who they are or what they do. But it opened up a certain gate that I had tightly sealed for more than two years now simply because it hasn’t happened to me for a long time now. And it’s very mainly thanks to the people I work with that I forgot things like that were even a problem – this post is here to publicly thank them for being awesome folks.

So let me just write for a bit about my experience working here. It can be summed up in this one sentence: my gender was NEVER an issue at ANY time of me working here. Ever since day one I was treated like a rightful member of the team – no snide remarks, no weird stares, no any special treatment just because my bits are a bit less dangly than the rest of the team’s. I got assigned to a project with faith that I would not screw anything up (majorly), went through my first peer code review with all the issues a newbie can expect (I had strong habits that came from programming in C# and Java that were simply unnecessary when working in Rails) and got treated like a human being that came to work a little green but with a strong belief that I could be good at what I’m doing soon. My ideas or opinions are being taken seriously, I get asked for help or to give opinions all the time.

If I screw up – I get called out on it, if I say dumb shit – I get called out on it, if I say something smart – it gets acknowledged.

I can’t say with 100% certainty that it was always this way – Netguru is what… 6 year old now? And I’ve been here for 1/4th of that and there were two female devs working here before me – one for a very long time and one came in 2 months before me. So maybe they had to learn it the hard way – but to be honest? I don’t think so. Because that one dev that was working here for so long would’ve kicked their asses to the curb and then left, and she’s still here. Because they’re crazy sometimes but they’re not assholes. Because we have a motto that says “you’re not your code” that all of us stick to and it works in many ways. Because if they ever heard someone even insinuate I’m not good enough for a job not because I’m incompetent but just because I’m a woman there would be a hell to pay – I am sure of it.

And I was so scared too – naturally in my 5 years of studying Computer Science I heard a lot of horror stories. That companies don’t want to hire women because they’re a distraction, or because male employees have a problem with women doing a “man’s work”, or they simply believe women to be inferior, or the clients believe so and they don’t want to “lose credibility”. I had female colleagues tell me they couldn’t find work in the field or had to “settle” for a project management position instead (their words, I love project managers – they do work I could never do: dealing with people, and I have a tremendous respect for what they do).

And when I got hired? Bam! Awesome people everywhere (a bit looney in the head when it comes to Apple products and they often leave a mess in the kitchen but I can forgive that), awesome bosses that have your back, awesome code review that strives to make you better and not to put you down. No babysitting or hand-holding – I remember the first day ending in a massive headache because there was so much info dumped on me at once and I left very nearly frightened… but next day, after a good night of sleep, I managed to close a bug ticket and none of my commits somehow got rejected and all was well again. And it’s been a blast ever since.

So ladies, if you are by any chance reading this because you googled Netguru as a potential future workplace and if you ever had any thoughts similar to mine – fear not. You will have a problem with deadlines, you will have a problem with the code not working as expected, there will be bugs, failures and retrospectives but your gender will never ever be an issue.

On 29.05.2014 in Our Way