Podcast #54 - The One With All The Anachronisms

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Welcome to Stack Exchange Podcast #54, with special guest Sara J. Chipps! Joining us today also is CFO Michael Pryor. Your hosts as usual are Jay Hanlon, David Fullerton, and Joel Spolsky. Today's episode is brought to you by /r/husky!

  • We'll start out with Site Milestones. We have one: Ham Radio will be in public beta by the time this podcast goes live. Turns out there are tons of ham radio enthusiasts even today. Ham!
  • New Features
    • The big thing we're currently working on is the new topbar. It hasn't changed in years... until now! David walks us through the new features on the upcoming new version. You can see our mockups on MSO.
    • We finally released our open source status dashboard, Opserver. It's got all sorts of awesome stuff, and you can check it out.
    • We're still working on our mobile apps for Android and iOS. The Android alpha is out, and you can sign up - it's great. The iOS alpha is coming soon(ish), so keep an eye out for signups.
  • Let's talk to our guest, Sara J. Chipps! (She's impressed with the legitimacy and professionalism of our podcast setup.) She's a cofounder of Girl Develop It, a system of low-cost software development classes geared toward women (but guys are welcome too). It's judgement-free, for total beginners who want to take their first few steps into the world of software development.
  • Sara recently left her role as CTO of Levo League to focus on getting Girl Develop It's board and 501(c)(3) status together (Levo League is a professional community for Generation Y women, and it is awesome).
  • This fall has been the Sara Chipps world tour - she's been traveling all around to talk about hacking hardware with JavaScript. Check out NodeBots and Johnny-five. Sara, David, and Michael are all big nerds about hacking hardware. Check out Dorby the DoorBot (github) and the Christmas sweater that talks to the internet.
  • Moving on: let's talk about women in technology. In 1984, 37% of CS degrees went to women. In 1998, it was 34%. In 2010-11, it was 12%. Sara walks us through some of the stuff she's working on that will make technology visible and appealing to girls and young women (and wearable technology that isn't ugly).
  • Practically, what can we as humans be doing now to help the situation better for women developers?
    • Getting involved in projects that are already happening is a great way to start.Girls Who Code and Black Girls Code are good resources
    • JSConf EU has started reaching out to women to find speakers and had a 50/50 conference.
    • Sara says another important aspect of workplace diversity is keeping them on your team: praise them publicly, and redirect them privately.
    • And get rid of the Well, Actually culture.
  • How can Stack Overflow specifically help the situation?
    • We currently do an okay job of creating a safe space for everyone and putting our emphasis on the content of a post instead of the person who posted it.
    • The "over-moderation" we're often criticized accidentally helps a lot with these issues, too - it makes us focus only on merit.
    • Sara says we should consider hiring beginner developers and training them ourselves if we aren't getting enough applications from female senior-level developers.

Thanks for listening to the Stack Exchange Podcast with special guest Sara J. Chipps, along with Stack Exchange CFO Michael Pryor, brought to you by /r/husky.

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