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Crowdsourced career mentorship for female developers

I was inspired by Selena Deckelmann's list of Career Resources for Women (, but couldn't think of much to contribute. So I thought maybe those of us already in the field and in a position to mentor could work on creating more. Please fork or comment and add your own!

Also: there is a wealth of info online and elsewhere dating back to the first time it occurred to our species to exchange labor for currency on these topics in general. What I hope we can provide here is our take as individuals. What we would say to someone if we were sitting across from her acting as a mentor. I don't think we should worry about being objectively "right", or about duplicating topics. I add this bit of anti-editorializing in hopes that women will contribute without feeling pressured to be experts, which I worry might prevent them from doing so. TY. :)

Applying for jobs


Professional behavior


Conflict resolution


Long-term goals

Anar commented Aug 14, 2012

For applying for jobs

  1. Use google docs resume template
  2. Keep it short - best advice I got - must be less than 2 pages - even for my 15 years.
  3. Resume should have your value proposition along with your skills. Someone I trust told me I undersell myself.
  4. Linked-in profile - connect, and ask people for recommendations. Makes it look better.
  5. Show interest - if you don't have a job right now - go to user groups, start something with friends, try a hackathon, keep learning. Sitting at home sending in resumes all day long shows lack of interest in coding.
    During Interview
  6. You will get out of sorts questions to trip you. Just think through what you are thinking through. Talk. Interviewers are looking for logical thought processes. Not just the final answer.
  7. Bring in samples of your work - screenshots, code samples of things you have built. I bring in mobile apps I've built. And server addresses for even simple webapps I built. It's only a few bucks to host an app you can show.
  8. Engineers will hire other engineers who build stuff on their own time very fast.
  9. Dress is formal - whatever that means to you.

barn commented Aug 15, 2012 is a fantastic piece on salary negotiations.

joliss commented Aug 15, 2012

Applying for jobs: at 16:27 - Felix Dominguez - Why you don't get hired - on applying and writing resumes

(I don't think it's easy to merge back gist forks, is it?) (And isn't all of this actually career advice for people of any gender?)

dealing with conflict - your problem or my problem:


garann commented Aug 15, 2012

@joliss - No, it isn't easy to merge the forks. I was thinking this would be a temporary home while we see whether we have enough content to actually continue working on this. To answer your other question, my hope was that women working as developers would answer these questions with a mind toward what they've experienced in their own careers. It may apply to all genders, but ideally it comes from the perspective of women.

As for the video! Is there a version somewhere that's just the one talk? Or slides or a blog post?

Anar commented Aug 15, 2012

Warning signs for women in an interview, or about a company -

  1. The interviewer is looking you up and down while smacking his lips - this actually happened to me - just walk away from this workplace.
  2. There is not a single interviewer that's a woman - not a PM, not a Tester, nothing - again happened with a small company. Even in a small company, this implies a frat-boy culture.
  3. No women are in any sort of responsible role. They are low-level techs. Most of my career... women propelled it forward. If there aren't any women in a position to guide you, your career probably won't be going anywhere in this place.
  4. They are offering you pay that is less than the market. They already don't respect you. It isn't going to change after you join. If you have to take the job, then focus on learning and growing yourself.
  5. There is a woman interviewer, but, when you ask her what she does, it is the legacy maintenance work. Women are often the ones left holding the bag, when men move on to new and exciting projects. It is the worst thing for your career at an early stage.

Anar commented Aug 15, 2012

What happens to my career when I want to have kids?

I have been getting this question from a lot of women reaching mid-career recently. I am a mother of 2 kids, and I have been through that phase. My kids are young, husband works full time and I am still working through balancing life.

What am I doing?

I took 6 months+ off with each kid. I wanted to have that time with them. For me that meant establishing myself as a contractor long before having kids. I contracted on and off after kids - the most important thing being to keep up with my skill set. When off contract, I built websites with my own ideas. Lot of it failed. But, I'd demo it to user groups, that would lead to software contracts. 6 months to max 1 year off continously is ok. Beyond that makes things harder. Recently, one of my projects that I built when off, is doing well, and I am building on that. Now, I plan to take off for longer. But, I will have more to show. I also started teaching at a university. It doesn't pay as well, but again, keeps me in the game. It also increases my creds for when I do want to work for someone else. When the kids are a little older, maybe I want to go back to climbing the ladder - as someone put it. I keep that option open.

A friend of mine went the route of dropping out completely for 5 years. She wants to get back now. I am helping her learn mobile programming, and build projects with me she will get credit for. I can't pay her though. So after that, it's upto her - if she wants to continue working with me for equity, or find a job. I will help and support her either way.

Some women have very supportive workplaces - that will make adjustments for them - though that's rarer. You will need to work on your passions, sometimes alone, or find another way to keep up. That's the only way to get back to tech after a break.


garann commented Aug 15, 2012

@Anar - Do you have a place where you can collect these notes into a blog post, gist, or similar, so I can add a link to your advice under the appropriate headings above? Wordpress, Tumblr, or anywhere you can group them by topic would be awesome. That way they have a permanent home, if this gist eventually gets converted to something more flexible.

Anar commented Aug 15, 2012

Not exactly. I was hoping to just transfer and format them when you have a wordpress or other type of site. I can create it if you want? Do you have a name in mind?


garann commented Aug 16, 2012

@Anar - I'll probably begin working on it this weekend. I'll just let you move your content over as you see fit, then. Thanks!

@garann What do you think about something like this: I have at least one recruiter who is willing to answer questions posed. :)

mejarc commented Aug 17, 2012

From my experience as a front-end Web developer:

Warning signs about a company when you're interviewing

  • none of the developers you talk to has much of an online presence--no blogs, no personal Web sites, not even active GitHub accounts. Yes, we all have other interests outside work, but people with so little passion about development it's exhausted by their day jobs are uninspiring to work with.
  • hideous, noisy workspaces. If this company stuffs its developers into drab cubicles with harsh overhead lighting, next to the sales department or call center, it's an indication developers aren't held in much regard and their work process poorly understood.

At your onsite interview, insist on getting out of that conference room to see where the developers sit. If they won't show you, that's another warning sign.

  • they phone-screen you on a speaker phone, but don't reveal who is listening until the conversation is well underway. Phone screens are a great way for you and this company to determine if you're compatible. Speaker phones are a good way to conduct a phone screen with multiple people. However, some companies misinterpret the phone screen as an occasion for a power trip. If they treat you this poorly as a candidate, they'll be twice as arrogant when you're their employee.

mejarc commented Aug 18, 2012

Re: handling forks--will you incorporating changes on any schedule, or waiting for us to notify you when our forks are ready for merge?


garann commented Aug 18, 2012

@selenamarie - Awesome! I think tumblr's perfect for this.

@mejarc - No, no schedule. It looks like @selenamarie has a nice permanent home, though, so perhaps that can become a moot point, since tumblr so easily allows submissions. :)


ghost commented Aug 21, 2012

@garann - great/interesting article on startup salary negoriation trended on HN today. Can't send pull request, so here you go:

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