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What is your Label? Male, Female or IT Professional?

Sat 05 Jun 2010

This morning I work up this morning thinking that today was going to be a really good day. The sun was shining and it was really warm. The thoughts going through my head was "I need coffee then check my emails then phone my friend Chris and see if he wants to cycle over to the Isle of Purbeck today"

I did all of those things quite successfully and then thought, lets have a look at what is happening on twitter. This was both a good idea and a bad idea. It was a good idea as I got to see what was happening in the world. The bad idea part was I saw battle of the sexs happening between Lanette Cream and James Bach about diversity in the industry.

This appears to have upset a number of people as their were some negative thoughts from both parties. The main crux of the argument was one was saying we need to encourage diversity and the other saying thats not true.

For me I think we need to encourage individuality. I grew up in South Africa and have seen the aftermath of Apartheid and have been victim to affirmative action. Affirmative Action was the main reason why I decided to move to the UK after university. Filling positions to meet quotas is always going to do more harm than good. There were stories, don't know how true, of secretaries becoming directors of companies in South Africa so that the "balance" was corrected.

This idea makes me mad! Everyone should get to somewhere on their own merits and driving forward this idea that we need to get more woman into IT is going to do more harm. We need to get more people in general into the industry. This shouldn't matter if they are male, female, pink, green or indifferent. Over the last decade there has been a drop in graduates for maths and science degrees. There are fewer Computer Scientists, engineers and mathematicians. We should be driving that forward and hopefully that will organically get people from diverse backgrounds into our industry.

I had a brief discussion over twitter with Michael Bolton where we seemed to agree that we need to have different perspectives on applications when we test. This does comes from hiring different sexs and races but that doesn't guarantee anything. People who go to similar schools will have similar perspectives on things. Being from South Africa I had people of different races and ethnicities in my classes but we all have similar perspectives. This alone makes me hate the diversity argument on sex/race.

I am an IT professional so treat me like one!

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