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Programming Education

Programmer Privilege 353

An anonymous reader writes "Philip Guo, an Asst. Professor of Computer Science at the University of Rochester, has written a thoughtful article on his education in programming. Guo explains that he was no particular coding wizard while growing up, but when he jumped into a CS major when he went to college at MIT, he received all sorts of passive and active encouragement — simply because he 'looked the part.' He says, 'Instead of facing implicit bias or stereotype threat, I had the privilege of implicit endorsement. For instance, whenever I attended technical meetings, people would assume that I knew what I was doing (regardless of whether I did or not) and treat me accordingly. If I stared at someone in silence and nodded as they were talking, they would usually assume that I understood, not that I was clueless. Nobody ever talked down to me, and I always got the benefit of the doubt in technical settings.' Guo compares this to the struggles faced by other minority groups and women to succeed in a field that is often more skeptical of their abilities. 'I want those people to experience what I was privileged enough to have gotten in college and beyond – unimpeded opportunities to develop expertise in something that they find beautiful, practical, and fulfilling.'"
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Programmer Privilege

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  • by Eskarel ( 565631 ) on Thursday January 16, 2014 @02:14AM (#45973443)

    Bullshit artists are the result of having people in charge who don't actually understand what their employees are doing. It's not unique to government, nor is it unique to programming. It's worse when you have larger organisations which have more separation between you and the decision makers and much better in small organisations where your actual job is part of the core business of the company. Basically it boils down to the fact that the bullshit artist has really good communication skills and you either don't possess or don't utilise those skills.

    I know it's fun to hate on government, but large scale private enterprise is in nearly all respects actually worse than government. They are just as crippled by process, just as risk averse, just as hidebound, and just as likely to award mediocrity. The only real difference is that private enterprise will be profit motivated so they will make all of the above mistakes for even worse reasons than the government.

Nothing is finished until the paperwork is done.