I genuinely do not understand why so few people decide to become software engineers. The barriers to entry are pretty low, the pay and perks are good, the job high status and fun, and one can learn enough to get a job, by themselves, in ~3-6 months.
We often assume that the percentage of women graduating from computer science programs tracks the percentage of women entering the industry overall. As in, if 25% of CS grads are women, then 25% of the engineers entering the market that year are women.
The problem is, it’s never been true. There has always been another way into the industry besides through a CS program. Before code schools, that way was mostly self-study & open source, which is presumably the “low barrier to entry” that the original tweet refers to.
That barrier to entry is certainly low when compared to a four-year computer science or engineering degree. But historically, that avenue has only been open to white men, or to people willing to conceal their identity enough to be mistaken for white men.
So even before code schools, the CS grad numbers didn’t tell the whole story. If anything, they _overestimated_ the proportion of women in the industry, since almost all the people entering it via informal paths were not women.
Like many women, I created that handle because when I tried to contribute using my real name, my patches were ignored, downplayed, or nitpicked to death. I never got one actually accepted under my name.
Trouble is, I needed to make sure nobody ever connected real-me to that contributor - because if they did, it would be back to the defending & arguing & gatekeeping & nitpicking. So I couldn’t put that experience on my resume, or discuss it in interviews.