If I asked you to picture a computer programmer, you’d probably conjure up a pretty specific image. He—yes, he—grew up playing video games in the basement, went to an elite university, and breezed through to a job in Silicon Valley.
Over the past few years, we’ve been talking a lot about the need for more women in computing and why fulfilling that need would be better for both women and computing. But real diversity in computer science means more than just changing the gender of the stereotype we have in our heads. It means replacing that stereotype with a much more expansive image of who computer programmers are, where they come from, and what they want.
This was brought home to me recently during a conversation I had with University of Washington computer science students living in TUNE House. Sponsored by TUNE, a mobile marketing company based in Seattle, the program is a fascinating experiment in supporting women coders: a house where eight women in computer-related fields live rent-free and get access to mentors, workshops, and networking opportunities.