That guy really hit my hot button…

01 Nov

It’s rare that I get mad. But I do have one hot button. And I personally believe this is one of the reasons why there are so few women in computer science.

What got my goat was a disrespectful, foreign developer who does not have my skill set.

As part of the new project, they asked me to take over a project that was previously assigned to a foreign developer (Pakistan). This happened to be a Wordpress installation. I looked a the server and immediately asked for what all seasoned developers ask for first – memory cap increases on the php.ini file to resolve all Nginx errors related to memory and memory increases on the wp-config file. Usually, I set up the dedicated server and I would just go make the changes.

But Mr. Control Freak sitting in another country wanted everything to go through him. Then he proceeds to try to talk down to me and tell me that I don’t need what I need. I decided to be nice and try to explain why we have to have these things, and then it became obvious that he knows very little about how Wordpress actually works. I also thought it was ridiculous that he had been assigned a site that I would have done in a week and he’s taken forever and he built no backend so there was no functionality and now we have to finish the site for him. That’s totally unacceptable anyway. If it were me, he would be getting half of the contract because he finished half of the site. I would have given him a hard and fast deadline because this was an easy site. As a developer, you don’t enter into a contract to complete work if you don’t have the skillset to do it.

Then ontop of the insulting way he talked to me, I log into the site and I see the mess. He’s used Elementor to build this site. That tool set is so old and so outdated compared to modern tools it’s ridiculous. It would take you 4 times as long to build a site with those tools as the tools that I use. Time is money. The tools matter and they matter a lot. Then I’m looking to change some basic stuff and I see in his CSS that he lables the green headline as purple-38. There’s a bunch of stuff wrong with his work.

Why this is a hot button for women is this – I’ve worked 30 years. I have a very, very strong skillset. There is nothing more offensive than someone who doesn’t even know you trying to make an assumption that I couldn’t possible know as much or more than they do about the subject. And it comes off as the other person looking down on me. And I know exactly what the truth is and he’s about to make an ass out of you and me with his assumption that a woman wouldn’t know more than he does.

As I said, it’s a hot button for me. The New York Times has reported that it will take 100 years to close the gender gap in computer science. Being one of the few females in the field, if I don’t raise the issue that this kind of behavior is totally unacceptable it will take longer than 100 years to solve this problem.

The bottom line is that in the future, we will not be farming this kind of site out of house because I can finish a site like this in 4 days. I don’t need or want these people on this project.

So if you’re one of those guys with the attitude that “she couldn’t possibly have enough experience,” just know that sooner or later your attitude will cost you business.

My advice to men is that when you encounter a woman who’s worked 30 years, run her own companies, was a professor in the area and has credentials, show some respect. I bring a lot to the table for any project and not just for the computer science. I bring the design, the marketing and the business background. I don’t use outdated tools. I don’t make unfinished sites.

When I ask a contractor to do something, they should just do it. I know one of the frustrations of this new project is that I’m not going to get a new dedicated server at Godaddy. My team at managed services is respectful. They’re nice to work with and they are accurate. I have always appreciated them. I have put server after server on their racks. Unfortunately, this project is an elastic system on Amazon. It’s the same kind of setup that we had for the Staffing Online project. This is not my favorite setup because unless you really have that kind of load, it’s man power and more expensive proposition because of the employee time that has to go into it. Like I said, time is money.

When I setup and deploy a new server at Godaddy (dedicated, not shared hosting), no one ever has to think about the server. I then have time to focus on the efforts that actually drive business.

And women in this field should have a zero tolerance for this kind of behavior. I’ve been dealing this my entire career.

I certainly don’t speak for all women here but here’s how I really feel about it. I don’t care about the sexual harassment. I really don’t. What makes me mad is being talked down to and an assumption that I wouldn’t know my stuff. I think I’m the expert on telling people what I know and what I don’t know. I don’t need someone who’s not inside my head to tell me what’s in there.

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