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NickyBones
213d

I'm in a few women in tech groups. A woman, who is a highly experienced developer, shared that she had a conversation with her male friend, who is a startup founder. He said that his criteria for recruitment are high levels of math and physics since high school and early interest in programming (e.g. age of 10). She said his criteria made her sad and excluded.

A fellow woman developer commented that it's reasonable to feel sad when you learn your good friend is an idiot. I snorted some Monster out of my nose reading this and I'm still coughing and chuckling.

To be honest, the founder's requirements do sound super ridiculous, and I imagine his startup is made up of clones of the same guy type, wearing different shades of gray t shirts and sandals with socks.

Comments
  • 12
    I know about 10 people from high school who fit that requirement, some of them are assholes, some of them are nice people. Some are creative and interesting, some are incapable of individual thought. Most of them are men, but two are women, they're considerably nicer company (emotionally mature, cultured, have diverse hobbies) than the median. All but one of them now study at world-class universities.

    Anyway, my point is that this kind of requirement isn't a terrible idea because these would be terrible people. It's a terrible idea because they're so rare that a startup founder like that has very little room left to filter based on personality.
  • 12
    The number one thing an employer should look for in a developer is their ability to develop code.

    If they can't do it, don't hire them.

    If they can do it with help, they're a jr.

    If they can do it on their own with design criteria? They're a sr.

    If they can design it and be responsible for getting all the design criteria out of the stake holders, their an architect.

    You can find this out by having them do these tasks live in an interview. But that would require them to prepare good interviewing material...
  • 7
    @lungdart I would say it's the ability to develop code collaboratively. I have yet to work in a company where you had 1-person projects that required no interpersonal relationships skills at all.
  • 3
    @NickyBones yeah that's been a pain point for sure. So many devs falter when they join a team.
  • 4
    @lungdart @NickyBones

    Yep. Be human.

    With the right conditions and a good team anyone can become better at a job.

    A lone wolf which is an expert is useless.

    Trying to filter so selectively has another downside....

    The few must carry the mismanagement.

    Burn out / frustration / people leaving is preprogrammed.
  • 3
    i was really lucky to have my mom as a role model in technology and as a working woman in general. girls are not driven towards STEM, videogames are still considered a boy thing (i got my own console at age 15, until then i got hand me downs from my brother) and my family still expected women to marry and have kids, not to work.

    even with that role model, i still wanted to study biology, and i only changed my mind in high school when i saw programming for the first time. most girls i met at college came from different areas and changed course after realizing they wanted something different, and they were the best of our class. it's very easy to exclude women with that rule, that guy is an idiot
  • 6
    from all the male devs I know only very few can say they had a super young interest in coding and even those don't mention 10 as the age, what the hell is that kind of demand?

    Many first have proper contact with the topic when they enter univsersity.

    And like, once someone has a few years of experience, what does it matter that they wrote shitty scripts in gmod??
  • 4
    @darksideofyay This resonates with me. My mom is a doctor, and she started teaching me math when I was like 3, and by the time I was 6 I could do high school math. She later taught me basic physics, chemistry and biology. But tech was completely foreign to both my parents so I was really averse to anything related to computers until I was 24. I tried to avoid programming all through my EE bachelor. I also did not get my own console (but my brother did...).

    My mom actually wanted to be an engineer, but her dad told her it was not a good profession for women, so she became a doctor. When I was entertaining the idea of going to STEM, she fully supported me and I think she was happy and relieved and it sort of healed her own wounds and gave her a good closure.
  • 3
    @LotsOfCaffeine Well it's a universally known truth that the formula quantifying the brilliance of a developer, is the summation of how many coding years he had before the age of 16 and how many hairs he has on his balls.
  • 2
    @LotsOfCaffeine I started old, at 23 just a month before turning 24. I literally wrote my first hello world code when I was that age
  • 1
    @NickyBones at 6 I learned about the plus sign lol
  • 7
    "your criteria make someone feel excluded!"

    yes. that's the point of criteria. to exclude everyone except those who fit the criteria.

    "if makes me sad that i'm excluded by your criteria!"

    tough luck. grow up.
  • 5
    @Midnight-shcode yeah, I have to agree. Exclusivity was never a bad thing. Theres probably tens of thousands of jobs Im parmanently excluded from by default. I mean hell, women-only companies exist now so Im disqualified by gender in some. But for every such company there's hundreds more I can join and plenty of those are most likely a better and more fun fit for me anyway. No point being upset over this.

    I actually interviewed for a company that had high phyz/math requirements and failed that Interview. I mean the company and people looked nice but they are a different level entirely. They built that environment by being very picky about their employees and I can't blame them, it worked. The company was clearly doing well for themselves, so can't argue with results
  • 2
    @Hazarth if the job requires math and physics i don't see the issue with that, but saying you'll only hire if they code from age 10 is an easy way to gatekeep certain classes of people. it's like @NickyBones said, it's a narrow group of privileged people, usually boys, with a family that can afford that stuff. i know people that didn't even use a computer until high school. that's not a reason to disqualify someone, they could still be very competent
  • 0
    Why does a monster live inside your nose?
  • 2
    @darksideofyay The thing is, it's not up to you to say what is and what isn't a good reason to disquality someone. Maybe that's the class of people they are specifically looking for, and is it really that bad to look for people that have early experience with programming? Maybe the owner of the company started like that and he's looking for people that are like him, and that is absolutely his right to do if he wants. Truth is he's only limiting himself and no one else, but also since the company is still functioning it's clearly also working out for them
  • 2
    @Midnight-shcode The point of criteria is to filter out the people that are not fit to do the a certain job. If you filter by unreasonable or unjustified criteria you are simply discriminating. With your mindset, you are basically saying racism is totally fine because if someone has a criteria for only employing blue-eyes blonde programmers it's totally ok, and all the black/Asian/Latin/not-white-enough programmers need to grow up. Right.
  • 0
  • 1
  • 1
    @Hazarth It's fine to have requirements for physics, it's stupid to have requirements for high school physics for people that took university level physics courses. No high school in our country teaches a higher level of physics than the courses you take in an engineering degree.

    The purpose of this requirement is solely to keep the company as a nerdy boys club. Which he can certainly do, but I think it's professionally stupid and downright excluding.
  • 2
    @NickyBones as said already, exclusivity is the point of criteria. More importantly: 1. I don't see why keeping a company as a nerdy boys club is bad, they probably have fun with it and 2. It's not a nerdy boys club if women can fit the criteria, which they can. Even if fitting the criteria is difficult and more likely to be fit by specific class of people, that's not necessarily a problem. There's rich people's clubs everywhere and there always will be, no point in even bothering with that.
  • 0
    @Hazarth In my view, in an environment like tech, it is important to have people from different backgrounds because it usually results in people having different approaches to problem solving. Even people that all studied in the same university seem to produce similar solutions, and I think that it's always good to have several possible options and then discuss and decide on the best one.

    When you are a smaller team, and developers have more contact with clients (even just in designing the product), you are able to target a larger market with developers that have different preferences or issues.
  • 2
    @NickyBones that's a popular argument but I don't think that necessary applies how you'd think it does. You can have a diverse group of people that all studied in uni, because people are all unique. A pair of two identical twins can be more diverse in though than two completely different people from different sides of the earth. The diversity argument falls short imo if you want to maintain that all people are unique, which they are, they have to be by definition. Even clones wouldn't do and know the same things. MatFyz background only proves that those people really have high BS school tollerance imo. I couldn't handle it xD
  • 2
    Every business owner has the right to establish a criteria for what people they’re looking to hire. Hiring process is a two way street and employees are also choosing the company they want to work for. I wouldn’t want to work for a company like this and also I am happy that they’re putting their criteria upfront like that. There is plenty of other fish in the sea. I got my first computer when I was around that age, my computer didn’t have a hard drive but only a floppy disk, it was running on DOS and had a monochrome monitor. I was also trying to draw things on screen and make the computer play a sound, but I sucked at physics 🤷‍♂️
  • 1
    @PappyHans some criterias are deemed illegal, though.
  • 2
    @iiii agree with that, it’s never a pleasant experience when you get excluded by any criteria. For example I wanted to be an electrician or possibly a pilot when I was a teenager, but when I went for an eye test I found out I was color blind and because of this I couldn’t qualify for any of the professions I wanted back then. I know this isn’t comparable but was a criteria that excluded a huge amount of the population.
  • 3
    Filtering for what people did / knew in the past is ridiculous. You filter for someone's experience and knowledge *now*.

    I know a lot of people who started coding early, and I wouldn't hire some of them for free...
  • 0
    @Hazarth I have worked in enough corporate companies to see that "types" exist and they lead to the same narrow-minded approaches and mediocre products.

    I was a borderline diversity hire - the requiting lady called me for an interview because all the candidates so far were guys, but I was grilled hard in the process and got in for my merit. The rest of the team (12 people) were white men, good socioeconomic background, ages 35-40, married with kids.

    I was the only one to push for UI/UX changes - I initiated an overseas user study that confirmed our current GUI is trash. I was the only one that understood early on we would need a computer graphics person and I tried to fill that niche so the team can continue with their computer vision work.

    I had an eye for different things, I had a slightly different skill set, and it complemented what the regular "type" could do.

    Theoretically, you can have diversity in a group of clones, but in practice, it is mostly not like that.
  • 0
    @AlmondSauce "now" is tightly tied to the past.
  • 0
    @iiii It's tied to general experience in the past, not a specific point in the past.

    Saying "I want someone with 5 years experience in X" or "I want someone who's previously worked with Y", fine. Saying "I want someone who's been coding since they were 10 and chose those options at school", ridiculous.

    It's not just a gender or upbringing issue, it's an age issue too. Not too many decades ago the price of electronics made it cost prohibitive for nearly anyone to start coding before adulthood.
  • 2
    @NickyBones

    No matter what recruitment.

    With these wo/men topics lately,
    you sound ever more toxic.

    Who cares what statup entrepreneurs got what delusional expectations of neckbeards of any gender.
  • 1
    I agree that it's biased, I kept hovering on the verge of failure in physics and chemistry throughout high school because my school had a disproportionately high standard in these subjects. No one expects high school grades to be significant after university and subverting expectations like this usually entails lots of noise and obscure biases.
  • 0
    @AlmondSauce Yeah, I was actually surprised by all the talk about how poorer families wouldn't get computers for their kids or for the girls, when I come from a lower middle class family in a particularly cheap country and I got my first hand-me-down laptop at the age of 9, with my sister getting hers at 8. Then I remembered that was in 2010.
  • 2
    @lbfalvy Yeah, if you were a lower income family growing up in the 80s (heck, or even the early 90s really) then there was just no way that could happen.
  • 1
    @AlmondSauce another thing is age. some people on the active are still from a time before computers
  • 1
  • 2
    @NickyBones The dude is objectively ridiculous, independent of whether the role is supposed to be for men or women.
    Women tend to underestimate their abilities, which sadly amplifies this STEM circlejerking...
    My previous boss had a similar attitude towards new interns. Fuck 'em. Most of the jobs adbertised on such high requirements usually just require you fulfill a quarter of it.
    These people "wish" they had the best, but can't give them approptiate work.
  • 2
    @scor What are you talking about? My posts are mostly about robotics. And this post is not even about gender-bias, it's way more broad than that.

    If this is not interesting to you, you don't need to read it or to comment on it.
  • 3
    @AlmondSauce It's a also about awareness. I think my parents could maybe afford a computer when I was young, but it did not even cross their minds that I would need one.

    For them computers were for people who did accounting and used Excel. I think it's dumb to disqualify people because their parents were not educated on tech. It's not like at the age of 10 I could make any decisions.
  • 2
    @NickyBones Yup, it's dumb all around.

    Even these days, many parents don't let 10 year olds have access to that sort of thing because they don't like too much screen time. It's just a stupid metric.
  • 1
    @NickyBones
    You're welcome
  • 3
    @PonySlaystation Yeah, it happened to get posted in a women's group, but that idiot excluded like 98% of the developers.

    And about the job requirements, yupp....
  • 1
    All things aside, how does one verify that employee was interested in programming since 10 years old? I wrote my first "code" at 13 but I couldn't prove it even if I wanted to.
  • 0
    @PAKA Github commits or it didn't happen.
  • 1
    @NickyBones I'm too old for GitHub.

    :(
  • 1
    @NickyBones that predates GitHub creation by about 2 years, and if you told 13 years old me who just wrote script to fish in browser game that he needs to learn complicated collaboration system just so he can prove it in 16 years I doubt he would listen
  • 0
    @darksideofyay "i know people who haven't used a computer until high school. that's not a reason to disqualify someone"

    why wouldn't it be? that's not your decision to make, that's a decision for the person who will be employing the people to make.

    for example, i wouldn't employ anyone who learned working with computers in school, as in, that was their primary contact with, and source of knowledge about, computers.

    why?
    because i have lots of experience with how people like that approach IT and learning new stuff in the area, and i don't want to deal with that.

    it's basically the same reason why for a position of a translator, you would very much prioritize people who are native speakers of the target language you are translating into.

    that goes for any knowledge/area. there's a limited maximum age, up to which stuff that you learn becomes "native knowledge/skill" to you.
  • 0
    @darksideofyay
    that goes for any knowledge/area. there's a limited maximum age, up to which stuff that you learn becomes "native knowledge/skill" to you.

    for that same reason, i will never be a potential race car driver or a great pilot, or thousands of other things i haven't started doing when I was young enough.

    should i cry and declare unfair gatekeeping? no.
    and even if i did, would anyone take me seriously?
    of course not, because i'm not a woman, so instead, people would just explain the obvious reality of reality to me, just as i have explained it now.
  • 0
    @NickyBones
    "i had an eye for different things"

    ...because you're a woman, or because you're you?

    i would argue (and hope you would agree) it's the latter.

    in which case it's not a valid argument for diversity hires and all that sexist and racist "representation" bullshit.
  • 0
    @Midnight-shcode Because I am me, but it also includes being a girl and not learning to program at 10 :) I was deeply into Lego and Knex :)
  • 2
    @Midnight-shcode "that's a decision for the person who will be employing the people to make."

    Sure, but that doesn't provide immunity from judgement. You can choose to exclude someone from a dev hiring process because they enjoy sewing if you want, it doesn't mean it makes any sense to do so.

    "there's a limited maximum age, up to which stuff that you learn becomes "native knowledge"

    Maybe, but this age is *well* above 10 for almost everything, including most of the examples you mention. We're not talking about someone changing careers in their 40's here.

    "for example, i wouldn't employ anyone who learned working with computers in school"

    That's asinine. Someone could be a stand-out contributor in their field, brilliant at what they do, be the leading expert etc. but you wouldn't hire them on the basis they first learnt about computers at school?! Come on.
  • 0
    @AlmondSauce ok, correction: i would have a default prejudice of "i am most likely not going to hire this person" about anyone who learned their computer skills in school, and on the interview, they would have to do a lot of extra proving themselves to remove this prejudice.

    because, as i said, i have lots of experience with the level and depth of skill and knowledge, and the (non-existing) way most of these people learn new topics. and it's not a good experience.

    one example anecdote: i learned java in two weeks by being paid to code in those two weeks an end-semester project for a university student who's been "learning" java in that university for two years.
  • 2
    That’s some bullshit right there.
  • 1
    Our field might be more inclusive nowadays, but it's still a fight against inertia. I told my mother that I bought a programmable Lego kit for my 7yo tween girls to allow for an interest in STEM and she almost slapped me.
    Between nonsense classical "boy thing / girl thing" and homophobia, she barfed that "they will be the only girls in a sea of boys! they will suffer violence!"
    Fucking homefront.
  • 1
    @JsonBoa My dad sent me to learn martial arts when I was 4 years old, just to prepare for the "suffer violence" scenario :)

    I agree that our profession can be quite lonely for girls and women, and in my experience can also affect their lives outside of work (e.g. guys not wanting to date women who out-earn them. Yupp, still happens).

    My parents were pretty honest with me about what I should expect, and I think that's the right thing to do. It's important to encourage girls to follow their passions, but make sure they are not blind-sided.
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