I know this is just some copywriter writing this, but this seems the height of Silicon Valley bubble thinking. Plenty of people do just fine in their lives barely interacting with computers at all.
Sure, it's helpful to be able to use email and a web browser, but "being an educated citizen requires an understanding of the fundamentals of computer science"? Come on.
* can have an informed opinion about the NSA's definition of "collecting" information .
* when told "we need to make sure that this list of 100,000 URLs are all valid websites", doesn't respond "wow, we'll need to hire a big team".
* can reason about data-driven classification of documents (e.g. Facebook's news feed, Google search).
* have an informed opinion on current Emission standards
* be able to change oil on their own car
* could describe how a 4-stroke engine works
Replace the computer with a car and you will see that what you consider basic knowledge is not basic to most people. They rely on experts for advice, opinion, and guidance.
Education of the masses was believed to be instrumental to avoiding tyranny of the majority which was a very real concern (especially since so many Founding Fathers came to America escaping religious prosecution as the minority faith). It's my personal belief that the difficulty in achieving "sufficient" widespread education ultimately shaped the decision to model America's self-governance after a Republic with non-elected checks and balances (included non-elected ones e.g. Judicial) rather than a more direct/representative democracy.
The pseudo-perversion of the Electoral College leading to highly correlated Executive Branch elections with the popular vote I think undermines this system and heightens the education requirement of the average citizen.
Also, on a side note, the lack of perfect information has significant effects on Economic systems leading to market externalities.
Of the 145 people who, according to https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Founding_Fathers_of_the_United... were signatories of the Continental Association, Declaration of Independence, Articles of Confederation, or US constitution, 14 were born outside of the British-American Colonies. Of these, 6 seem to have clearly immigrated for reasons (business, military or education) other than religious persecution. I only see evidence of one (Daniel Roberdeau, whose father was a Huguenot living in the West Indies) having had religious persecution as a recent proximal cause of immigration to the Americas. The rest are unclear, although it seems that a few of the Presbyterian Scots might have had religious reasons for immigrating.
So, short answer, if anybody else cares, virtually none (1-5%) of America's founding fathers immigrated due to persecution as a minority faith.
> Many of the British North American colonies that eventually formed the United States of America were settled in the seventeenth century by men and women, who, in the face of European persecution, refused to compromise passionately held religious convictions and fled Europe.
Even from the article you link quotes a wide range of religious beliefs:
> Of the 55 delegates to the 1787 Constitutional Convention, 28 were Church of England (or Episcopalian, after the American Revolutionary War was won), 21 were Protestants, and two were Roman Catholics (D. Carroll, and Fitzsimons). Among the Protestant delegates to the Constitutional Convention, eight were Presbyterians, seven were Congregationalists, two were Lutherans, two were Dutch Reformed, and two were Methodists.
And of special note most of the prominent Founding Fathers most Americans would recognize were either anti-clerical Christians or not specifically Christian or Deists:
> A few prominent Founding Fathers were anti-clerical Christians such as Thomas Jefferson, who constructed the Jefferson Bible, and Benjamin Franklin.
> Historian Gregg L. Frazer argues that the leading Founders (Adams, Jefferson, Franklin, Wilson, Morris, Madison, Hamilton, and Washington) were neither Christians nor Deists, but rather supporters of a hybrid "theistic rationalism".
So it may have been poor wording on my part, but I don't think it unfair to consider religious freedom an important consideration for the Founding Fathers.
For sure, and I didn't mean to be correcting you, I was just pondering what seemed like a sort of historical elision of "move to the new world to practice religion freely" and "founding fathers creating the USA" when the former predated the latter by more than a century.
I like to try to grapple with timescales as a way to understand history, so finding conclusions like "the vast majority of the founders and framers were born in the colonies" (and, in many cases, from prominent families that had been in the colonies for generations) are interesting to me.
I think an educated citizen should know how to, if they so desired, have an informed opinion on anything, whether it's current emission standards or the NSA's definition of collecting information. That citizen should be able to research and learn how to change the oil on their car, or to learn how a 4-stroke engine works.
Failing that, we end up with lot of crazy beliefs about the world that people wouldn't have if they hadn't forgotten 99% of stuff they spent learning in high school.
I'm not saying you shouldn't be using third-party services - professional specialization is another linchpin of our civilization. All I'm saying is that people should understand these things, in order to have a chance of comprehending the world they live in.
An educated driver may not be able to explain in technical detail how an engine works, but they can explain the basic rules of the road and understand that a car needs oil, gas and basic maintenance. They likely have a basic understanding of what a modern combustion engine is (it takes in oil and gas to produce rotational energy) and understand that emission standards exist and that they have to follow them to some extent (they can't dump oil in their backyard).
And too close a following to the "educated" leads to the rise of your special interests; if it wasn't possible to turn the minds of many by using only a few, there wouldn't be anything worth intercepting
The trouble, i think, is that we assume the educated are educated, when they are not, and the educated are sincere, when they are not, and the educated are made of higher moral fiber, when they most certainly are not.
Take a step back.
All of the following are vital to our modern lives yet most people will only be able to check 2 or 3 of them.
- cars mechanics
- electronics / electricity
- radio / telecommunications
- food processing
- medicine & first aid
You will have advanced knowledge of very few of those. The rest you will barely interact with. Barely interacting with computers in the reality of a lot of people.
We're talking basic literacy.
You should at least know how to learn more about most of those subjects as they're needed, or know who to talk to when specialist knowledge may be required.
I am saying this because this channel changed my life, literally. I do live in third world country, I went to local college, where you will learn nothing after 4 year (not even writing a simple hello world, TBH). But after watching and learning from this channel and MIT opencourseware, right now I am working on internal of linux kernel (just think about not being able to write hello world after 4 year, and compare it with hacking linux kernel to get a feeling about how far I came) as hobby project, and I came this far only by watching various (from OS class to compiler, algorithm, etc) class and solving their assignments and writing their projects. I came this far by my own (only, without any help other than free material in resource I mentioned). I am 100% sure I will go further and further, because this is my thing, I may not be that smart, but I am resilient.
So I am perfect/live example of how free educational material can change people lives, and I do live in very small city (indeed very small, which most people are not familiar with computer until 3,4 years ago).
I did have 40kb connection, sometimes I spent a whole day waiting for downloading a lecture, to watch it, considering I had to use VPN, you can understand how hard it was to download a whole class from youtube. Right now I have better connection.
 : https://www.youtube.com/user/UCBerkeley/videos
Lectures up to 2015 are still there though? Do you consider their materials obsolete or something?
*Edit: Specifically, the Attorney General was threatening to file a lawsuit pursuant to the ADA, and damages were ordered to be paid (I don't know if they actually were). Follow the link above to find the Department of Justice letter; the interesting bits are on the last two pages.
Damn, that's just.. I'm struggling to refrain from saying a word that'd get me in trouble.
PS: I'm not a minority.
The "group average" of a persons designated (prescribed?) demographic is irrelevant on the level of comparing individuals and their interactions.
> only previously it was done the other way.
Given it was different individuals, this is only true if you define groupings specifically to, say, match a racist white and a non-racist white, from different generations, simply because they are both white; Hence mistreatment of some innocent, random modern white can be interpreted as 'comeuppance'..
There is a merit in the lawsuit here. This is how discrimination starts. Over a reasonable period of time, the horse has left the barn and then will scramble over quick fix solutions to stem the rot.
Further more, the right to run a business, and participate in a particular economy, is regulated in many ways - these videos were given away for free to everyone, possibly at cost.
I don't think a free educational resource should have to meet this burden.
What the f#$k? Suing because their videos are not "disabled-friendly"? What does that even mean? God, the lawsuit trigger-happiness of some people...
Sorry, bad wording on my part (had other things on my mind and wasn't Englishing properly). Meant to say the content was not accessible; see edit.
I'd say lawsuits such these would be far fewer if people were at least aware of the existence of disabled people, and spend a modicum of attention on how to enable their participation in society.
"video" being latin for "to see" may provide a clue as to the type of disability that could have trouble accessing this content.
I'm not familiar enough with the subtleties of this case to know if subtitles, which IMHO could have been created rather cheaply or through volunteers, would have been enough to make them accessible, or there would have been problems with, for example, visual content such as diagrams and photos. In any way, I suspect the project was on weak footing within Berkeley anyway, and whatever support it may have had within the administration couldn't overcome the legal risks.
It's rare to find an example where the outcome, in strictly utilitarian terms, is as clearly negative as it is in this case. However, the ADA and similar legislation will always be a net negative if you're evaluating it in those terms.
To use the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act which has recently been in the news: guaranteeing disabled students equal access to public education is a losing proposition in terms of total utility. There will always be cases where a school needs to spend, say, $30,000 to make the new library accessible to people in wheelchairs, or may even decide not to build that library in the first place, because it doesn't have those $30,000. Without a doubt, spending the $30,000 on more books for that library would create more "total learning", even if means the few students in wheelchairs never even see a real book in their lifetime. There will even be cases where all this happens at school that don't even have any students in wheelchairs.
The reasoning, therefore, has to be different than purely utilitarian. Laws for disability access are a collective decision to break with purely economic rationality in an effort that emphasises a limited core of rights to be guaranteed for everyone much stronger than the broad welfare of society as a whole. That's not an unusual tradeoff. It's the same that's at play when we don't torture drug dealers to get them to give up their suppliers.
Note that there lots of reasonable exceptions on the books. Nobody is saying that your paragliding school needs to make accommodations for people in a persistent vegetative state. In this case, I'd argue that remote learning is an opportunity almost tailor-made for people with disabilities, and that whoever made this ill-fated decision at Berkeley – knowing how it will become a talking point against disability access – made a grave mistake.
I'd say people would be much more tolerant towards people with disabilities if there weren't such crazy laws and lawsuits.
You just need your utilitarianism to either maximize the the minimum welfare (ie help the least well-off member of society first); or use something like the sum of logarithms of welfares (similar idea).
but which collective?
> It's the same that's at play when we don't torture drug dealers to get them to give up their suppliers.
I disagree a similar situation is at play.
The legal instruments that caused this are to blame, not Berkeley. It's not Berkeley's job to manage public opinion wrt disability access when it regards the action of third parties.
Really? I thought it was a subtitles thing.
What I do is find a university and look at their course public page where often in the calendar/schedule you can find lecture notes, slides and sometimes the lectures. If you find the lectures immediately grab them with some browser plugin to archive because they tend to disappear.
TU/e in NL has a lot of open english taught courses I've found, like this one with lecture videos http://www.hyperelliptic.org/tanja/teaching/crypto16/
I do the same. I downloaded your link and will look at TU more carefully from now on.
P.S. It is always this way, every time I find a new lectures, I get way too excited.
That book you can get the global 3rd version from Abe Books for $20something since you aren't in Can/USA
There's other courses in there, like this awesome math/compsci course https://scs.hosted.panopto.com/Panopto/Pages/Sessions/List.a... (click on the RSS(Subscribe) logo in the upper right, can download them). They also have some fully open courses like this db course with lectures on youtube http://15721.courses.cs.cmu.edu/spring2016/
That was a few years ago, so we can see that there are still maybe millions of people with very slow Internet connection out there.
after 10 years and a couple of startups, i wanna say that went particularly well :)
I was pretty excited at first, thinking this was something like a Google-sponsored version of EdX or OpenCourseware that was laser focused on CS.
Edit: Or AU/NZ, missed that one.
Why in the age of a _World_ Wide Web and "post-discrimination" are large companies such as Google deliberately targeting specific groups? What will be in the girls-only code program that might be inappropriate for boys?
Large companies are judged by the diversity of their employees. They want to hire more women. In order to hire more women, there needs to be more qualified women applying for jobs. In order for there to be more qualified women applying for jobs, there needs to be more qualified women. In order for there to be more qualified women we need to be teaching more girls how to program.
> What will be in the girls-only code program that might be inappropriate for boys?
It's more about what won't be in those classes, specifically: inappropriate boys.
One school of thought about why there are less girls in computer science classes is that the environment/culture? of the currently self-selected students can sometimes (seem) abrasive and uninviting.
Maybe that is just a stereotype, but offering classes specifically for underrepresented demographics is at least a method to test that theory.
And here is the problem - diversity has become a goal rather than a natural consequence of everyone having equal chances.
It's not the lack of diversity that those companies should focus on - much more important is an elimination of any kind of discrimination based on gender/race/religion etc.
In a world where boys and girls are given the same opportunities at (even) younger ages, you wouldn't need something like this.
As it stands right now, it is intimidating for a girl to sign up for her first computer science class knowing that it will be full of boys that have been encouraged to do computer sciencey things from an earlier age. There is the perception that the girl will come in at a disadvantage.
Allowing a them to sign up for a class with the perception that they all have equal footing/previous knowledge could give them the confidence they need to join the classes with boys that are perceived to have more experience.
When the time comes that girls are signing up for computer science classes at the same rate as boys, then classes like this would no longer be necessary.
That being said, public schools cannot create X-only classes. There is no discrimination in which students can signup for my computer science classes and I have unfortunately low female enrollment.
So you tolerate that a complete sex shall be punished for former sins. Clearly not my sense of justice.
> In a world where boys and girls are given the same opportunities at (even) younger ages, you wouldn't need something like this.
Everybody can use the internet to learn coding. But at least to me it seems that mostly boys (with few exceptions) seem to love doing this - in particular from young age on.
This is not a zero-sum game. Creating a new opportunity for girls does not remove an existing opportunity for a boy.
> But at least to me it seems that mostly boys (with few exceptions) seem to love doing this - in particular from young age on
Maybe you should try talking to more girls and asking them what they are interested in.
> This is not a zero-sum game. Creating a new opportunity for girls does not remove an existing opportunity for a boy.
Not when quotas are involved. In Germany, where I live, every few years serious attempts to introduce women quota for companies are attempted to pass as a law (which typically are only prevented in the last moment because of massive protests of business associations).
Since Januar 2016 gender quotas for the supervisory council of the 106 largest market-listed companies were introduced. For restaffing in the supervisory council there is a quota of 30% for both gender (or the position has to be left vacant).
Here a Reuters article about the topic:
Here an "official" article by the Federal Minestry for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth ["Federal Minestry for everybody except men" ;-) ]:
Head count is orthogonal to gender make up of the company
You are not inoculated from the past sins of gender discrimination. So simply because you did not discriminate does not mean you did not benefit from past discrimination. While this fact should not be used to hold you accountable, it should be used to pursue policies that offset that advantage.
A company offering a program for girls is not punishing boys. It's giving girls a boost that was given to boys of previous generations.
Simply giving equal opportunity after decades (longer, really) of inequality is not truly equal. As an analogy, imagine if a government gave extremely preferential treatment to one company over another for an extended period of time (lower taxes, looser regulation, etc.) and all of the sudden started treating the two companies the same. Would you expect them to have an equal chance of success? Surely the accumulated benefits of the one company would still provide a significant advantage that would have to be remedied before the companies have an equal chance of success.
Edit: I realize I assumed you are male, which your comment does not state. Mea culpa. Read this comment as directed at any male who opposes policies that promote gender equality in STEM education.
YMMW but IIRC my experience has been a bit different :-/
Edit: added IIRC
That hasn't been proven or quantified. If you're going to use sexism to fix perceived sexism, you should quantify and prove the original sexism first.
And here is the problem - people think diversity is a goal per se, while it is actually a competitive advantage.
A competitive advantage would be gained through diversity of thought. Making gender, skin color or any other superficial characteristic into a numbers game in order to look diverse is in no way a competitive advantage.
Well, not really. I mean, not at all. I appreciate you took your time to tell me I'm wrong, but you might want to support it with something more solid. Diversity of thought is not just what happens when you get two people together. If those people have a very similar upbringing, chances are they think in a similar way. They might reach different conclusions and one of them might reach the right one, but they might be missing points of view that could increase their accuracy when making decisions.
Your upbringing shapes how you think, what you fear, what you wish. Of course even inside the same communities very similar people might have completely different trains of thought, but what you call "superficial characteristics" as gender or skin colour it is (unfortunately) not superficial in many places. Many men can't even imagine the things a woman has to endure at the workplace, or your skin colour when you're a minority.
Even things like being a native speaker of a foreign tongue shapes how you think. The culture of your hometown, province, region, country defines you, too.
If you've lived a different life because of your gender, ethnicity, passport, disability, country of birth or even family wealth chances are you can bring quite different points of view than people with different gender, ethnicity, passport, disability, country of birth or even family wealth.
There are studies that show correlation between higher diversity and better performance (Forbes, McKinsey).
P.S.: I suspect you're the one that downvoted me (just above 500 karma, only reply to my comment). I appreciate you followed up with a comment, but downvotes are not "I disagree" signals. Please learn to be a bit more tolerant with people that does not think like you, instead of trying to shut their voice down.
As the one judging the ones doing the judging, it's fun to imagine that the judgement is what motivates the corporation's actions. I don't think that's actually what happens though.
The motivation I've actually seen corporations act upon, is that diversity in employees has direct benefits to the company's bottom line. For example, googling "facebook diversity" gets me this paragraph:
>"Facebook’s mission is to give people the power to share and make the world more open and connected. In order to achieve that mission, we need an employee base that reflects a broad range of experiences, backgrounds, races, ethnicities, genders, sexual orientations, abilities and many other characteristics."
You can assume that they're all lying to virtue signal if you want, it's impossible to stop anyone from assuming such things. But if you're proposing an alternative to their stated motivations, you should probably explain why that motivation isn't actually true.
Well that's just discriminating against nerds
This is exactly the problem. You've assumed that 'nerds' -- people who are skilled and passionate about tech things -- are male. It's that kind of assumption which enforces a massive mental barrier for women to be able to consider themselves legitimately passionate and skilled about tech, and also for men to recognise them as such too.
Until the association of nerds with masculinity is broken up, boys and men will dominate tech at the expense of others. And until that that point, programs like Google's which foster different ('minoritean') associations with being passionate and skilled with tech will be needed.
I don't even.
exactly. I dont agree with you that women have "never been" discriminated against, but I do agree that vocational fields are not homogeneously populated (and that is not the result of discrimination).
* I dont see very many women police officers
* (this was mentioned on HN last week) not very many oil-rig workers are women
* I dont see many heterosexual men working as hair dressers
or bridal shop/wedding planners/fashion designers/makeup artists ("this is clearly a glass door organized by the Gay Male Establishment to prevent heterosexual men from breaking into this field. Such abuse of privilege" /s).
* I don't see many women working as bouncers at night clubs
* I don't see many women working as commercial pilots.
But you know, for all the "I don't see"'s , when I do see one that defies the norm, I dont think much of it. They're people just like anyone else, free to pursue whatever they want. But it's not automatically discrimination when groups of people gravitate to certain fields.
Unfortunately, a lot of tech companies these days consider "positive discrimination" as a good thing.
The above are my assumptions and may be wrong.
As for your girls-only code program comment, I have taught kids to create things using visual scripting tools. There is a difference in what the girls want to make and what the boys want to make. This was my first hand experience and is a limited insight into a small world.
Because the gender ratio in STEM fields skews heavily towards men.
>What will be in the girls-only code program that might be inappropriate for boys?
I can't imagine there would be anything that was 'inappropriate', though there may be some boys less excited about making a dress light up. Google is using existing gender roles to introduce girls to code and get them excited about STEM, something that may be far more difficult once they grow older.
Girls are free to study what they want. If they don't want to study STEM fields - their problem, which I don't feel having to care for.
How do you define discrimination? I think there isn't a clear line, and we have to use our evolving best judgment depending on the context.
How else can we attempt to more quickly resolve unfortunate and unfair dynamics the past has brought us?
Lastly, I think it's a mistake to assume all discrimination is zero sum. We will all reap benefits from previously disadvantaged groups receiving more opportunity.
Using any other criterion than ability for e.g. staffing jobs/university places/... In this sense every forced quota on gender/skin color/race/... is discrimination. Women only programs are, too (as "men only", "white only" or "black only").
> How do you feel about Spanish language programming courses?
Living in Germany I openly don't understand what you want to imply with this question.
If your complaint is mainly about quotas, I don't have as much to say about those. My intuition is that strict quotas are overly heavy handed and also treating the symptom not the cause. I would guess that programs that seek to help certain groups closer to the source (e.g. in the education and training phase) are more effective.
A clear line has been drawn in the form of protected classes. Primary language spoken and income are not protected classes. Gender is.
Of course, but when the disparity is so large we should at least question why that is. Are girls biologically less inclined to find any appeal in STEM, or is it due to upbringing? This course appears to be following the latter, and either challenging any social bias that may dissuade girls, or balancing out any extra persuasion of boys
you're using gender stereotypes ("girls like dresses", and implied its corollary, "boys like machines") in an argument against gender exclusion.
It's not easy to break down cultural barriers, and doing so in one fell swoop is near impossible. Employing these stereotypes in order to bring an end to them is not necessarily a bad thing
In regards to targeting young women, they're making an effort to redress the obvious gender imbalances and male dominance of the tech world. Why is that a problem?
It could be that they are just virtue signaling and trying to appease the easily offended bloggers and tech "journalists"
Problem: We have invested loads of money into our Irish, Indian, Australian/NZ offices, but we could increase our pool of workers from those countries.
Solution: Make a website which specifically encourages kids from those countries to start their journey into CS and tech.
What is the problem?
Now I am fully aware that I have certain advantages ("privileges") as well but as I said: when you are young this can be extremely frustrating.
Sure, they're frustrated too i'm sure - i'm not denying that or putting anyone down, to be clear. It has always just seemed like the wrong approach to a problem, or possibly projection of a problem where a problem doesn't exist.
It is frustrating because for many young men the disadvantages often seems to outweigh the advantages.
It is frustrating because as a kid/young adult some of the the countermeasures are so broad that they are hard to understand as anything but pushing one gender ahead at all cost: try to make sense of the fact that for years there was extra study points for women in higher education, including studies where female students were overrepresented like chemistry and nurse studies. (Yes, now it has been adjusted somewhat from what I see.)
Edit: and it is frustrating because it seems unfair. It seems almost like we have a built in "fairness" scale which is miscalibrated so by default it only detects unfairness against me: like when a kid go and have a really great time and come home and are angry their siblings got a candy while they were away :-/
Furthermore I was answering a direct question: "What is the problem?"
Also I put the "privileged" word in quotes for a reason: while being male gives me a number of advantages it also gives me a number of disadvantages.
Furthermore there is all the rest: coming from a low socioeconomic background should account for a lot as well (buying a pc was a huge deal - I think I was 15 when my dad finally managed to get hold of one, going abroad for holiday was never an option, working unpaid at my dads business was pretty much expected and I started working as a farm hand with other farms when I was 15. )
As I said I don't care much but I think I can explain why for a lot of young men the idea of male "privilege" feels like a reality they don't experience as for them any male privilege seems to be overshadowed by a number of other factors.
All I want from people I work with is that they are good so we can move projects forward and that they don't bully or otherwise negatively affect lives of people around them.
Class > Identity politics
It has been justified for centuries with all manner of reasoned arguments. Hopefully we will eventually learn discrimination is a Bad Idea.
... including discrimination against boys/men - which quota regulation and "women only" programs are (imagine the outcry if one would replace "women only" by "white people only").
If we had a CS field dominated almost entirely by women then the "women only" programs would be undesirable.
This is a man in a boat protesting that a drowning woman is being helped out of the water but he is receiving no such equivalent assistance.
I live in Germany - and there the situation is IMHO different.
The problem isn't about access to courses. It's that existing programmes don't appeal to women, and it's dumb to ignore half of the population when you need more qualified people. That's why we need to make getting into computer science more attractive to women. Acknowledging that the current system just doesn't work for them is a necessary first step towards making it work for everyone.
The laws for women quota: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=13551798
Nobody forces women to study a non-STEM subject - they decide it themselves. So doing promotional programs for women has the implicit implication "women are too stupid to get on their own what they should study (while men are smart enough to find this out on their own)" - something I would never ever claim.
The reason for outreach programmes is that what's currently offered seems to appeal to men but not nearly as much to women, and that we should fix that. There's nothing patronising about admitting a problem and attempting to alleviate it. Some attempts might be misguided or based on incorrect assumptions, but that shouldn't discredit the entire endeavour.
(Since we're talking about computer science education, I'll disregard the entirely unrelated comment about quotas in businesses.)
There are also (more implicit) women quota in the university laws (Landeshochschulgesetzen) of Germany's federate states e.g. for casting professors.
There are multiple ways to answer the question:
1. I often don't fit in - and don't consider this as a problem.
2. I have yet to see a woman studying a STEM subject who is very skilled at it and made such complaint.
3. Saying one does not study, say, computer science because one does not fit in means that "fitting in" is more important to you than the things you learn in computer science. In other words: You don't consider CS as something really important to you. This is clearly not the inner urge for the subject that I expect from people studying it.
Seriously, you should actually talk to some of these women about their experiences.
> Seriously, you should actually talk to some of these women about their experiences.
Yes, being an actual liberal in SV and not just a Dem apologist...
My peers in undergrad computer science were as you described, except I would estimate 60-70% Americans, 95% male 5% female.
I now work for a small-ish company with ~25 developers on a few different teams. All men.
I understand that this is anecdotal, though not uncommon.
So it's a problem in CS but not in education or healthcare, where women are the majority?
Solution: introduce programs promoting the field to women and girls.
Problem: women have a huge advantage due to the programs.
In what part of CS women are systematically impeded from involvement?
Whilst we're on the topic, lets also add that non-white men and women and transgendered people have it even worse.
Doing nothing isn't a better idea.
Also, care to name one thinker from history who doesn't advocate discrimination of some sort? Seriously. Who is your model?
Problem is, no one can agree when X happens (or has happened).
"Only when we're safe will it make sense to no longer spy on all our citizens."
"Only when our enemies are defeated will it make sense to no longer have Emperor Caesar."
It's basically a call for equity instead of equality, except it is limited equity which automatically assume some do not need equitable help. It is also limited in how it's applied.
Find the actual problems causing any modern day biases and fix those. Personally I work with some kids to help them love math. In my (admittingly anecdotal experience) there is a bias noticeable in middle school for all kids to not like math that evolves into a gender bias but to some extent hurts both genders' ability and desire to learn. Identifying and remedying the cause of this would do more to help both girls and boys than targeted aid in high-school or college.
For those who didn't look there is a very short list of programmes mentioned which discriminate on sex, age, ethnicity.
5 is a short list, no.
I assume it's the start of what may later become a directory of offerings.
There are masses of MOOCs that aren't discriminating though.
Now, don't get me wrong. I understand these are international firms and it's good to see CS education targeting other communities and certain imbalances in the system but...
Their are large swaths of communities right here in the US that could use the support of American companies investing right here in their home-base. As a result, I see these efforts by US firms as a marketing gimmick to help them further their interests in entering new markets and appealing to certain political alliances.
If so, would you mind sharing a more specific link? I'd be particularly interested in a Systems and Networking course.
Google itself is not very diverse by most metrics. Maybe they should practice what they preach?
How would the people filing the lawsuit know whether Google didn't hire them due to their age or for other reasons? I see posts all the time about people complaining they didn't get into company X because of some silly reason but frankly, unless you are the interviewer you likely will never know the reason. Shouldn't we wait to see the outcome of the case?
Indeed Google itself is not as diverse as we would like to be, but that's actually the reason we have these outreach programs: to try to get a more diverse applicant pool, which hopefully will translate to a more diverse workforce.
The average age being 29 doesn't surprise me because there are many more young applicants than there are older ones, since CS is getting more and more popular. Not only that but typically a larger company will have more junior developers than senior ones, and most junior developers are also more junior in age.
I don't know whether Google discriminates by age since I don't have the numbers, but I will say that Google takes diversity and inclusivity extremely seriously. I don't think a day goes by that I don't see a post asking for volunteers for some activity to promote diversity. That being the case, it would surprise me if we discriminate in a systemic way. For some individuals to do so unconsciously wouldn't surprise me just because it's human nature to be biased, although we do our best to unlearn that behavior.
Why are people so interested in screwing up something that obviously works, and works so amazingly well in pursuit of absurd ideologies?
Google may have been 'mind blowing' but there is a bucket-load of things they simply seem unable to do (such as have a clear overall strategy, leading to the mess that is their approach to messaging), and in addition while they have clearly been hugely profitable, they may not give the best experience for some of their users (I've heard the phrase 'regularly cut off [their] own limbs' used). Whether this would be changed if their workforce was more diverse in terms of age (and therefore more experienced) we will never know, but I have my suspicions.
For example, http://www.forbes.com/sites/ekaterinawalter/2014/01/14/reapi...
There have been specific times as well that being in our little bubble has hurt product decisions as well, although I don't think I'm supposed to go into those.
Everything else other than advertising has failed or is held up by that ad revenue. They may want to play world leaders, but they're an ad company.
Now - back to your point about absurd ideologies, it's against the US law to discriminate based on age. This ad company needs to play by the rules, regardless of how many ads it has sold.
I didn't mean to be an apologist for them, but this is one area I have personal knowledge of. It's probably true that they aren't going out of their way to hire old programmers like me. I don't think they pay for old white guy devs who cost more in salary than a new grad (but we have more experience! :-)) to go to a special conference and try to hire them. Instead I had to pass the usual interview bar. It was really hard and I admit to being proud I passed it.
I certainly can see how there could be some injustice in the gap between men and women in the industry. And I could certainly see how the lack of perspective from women causes decisions that are suboptimal in some contexts. There are probably some companies in some subindustries that would benefit from hiring women programmers.
But every company being desperate to hire women? I don't see how most companies benefit from hiring a woman vs. a man.
To clarify, I'm saying that it seems that hiring a woman vs. a man has roughly the same value to most, but not all, companies. Thoughts?
My automatic reaction to this was "lol what"...
I don't really think most companies are desperate to hire women. I can see companies paying more attention to women (for better or for worse), but desperate is absolutely not the word I'd use. You're still going through the same interview process as everyone else, and having interacted with various people who were applying to the same companies as myself, everything looked exactly the same and acceptance/rejection rates were very similar. It's not like being a woman waves a magic wand to get rid of the many troublesome parts of an interview process that affect men and women all the same.
I don't know if I'd want to work for a company that was desperate to hire a specific subgroup of people, anyway...
I'd take a referral over being female any day.
Not criticizing, just want citations for my interesting fact/study results.
But this data suggests otherwise https://datausa.io/profile/cip/110701/#workforce_age
And this as well https://nces.ed.gov/programs/digest/d12/tables/dt12_349.asp
Assuming that the average age is 25 for Bachelor's, 27 for Master's and 32 for a PhD I get an average age of 47.
Am I missing something?
If you count average is 29, then that means there is a whole bunch of 25 - 35 in the range, all over the world. Typically CS students graduate from undergraduate around 22, 23 years old. Google and FB are very popular in the new graduate community and they needed a lot of fresh blood every year to fill in the gaps. Not every position at Google is going to be exciting. The job description is catchy but the your responsibility and assignment may be dull. A lot of older folks may find dissatisfying and because of their seniority they can find similar pay at other companies. There is also a network effect. Sure, younger folks tend to connect with other young folks.
Like other comments said, one can't prove age discrimination easily. Google has a very rigorous hiring process. One ex-Google said one time the hiring committing sat in a room and rejected all applicants. The recruitment team came in and said those profiles were the committee members themselves when they applied to Google.
This assumes that the hiring market for Google is representative of the entire US workforce, which I think is a big stretch. I think if you looked at any tech company average you'd see it far below the national average.
Correlation does not imply causation.
I then went back to school as an "older student" at 25 and holy cow is it hard! Most Unis don't want you (literally), getting any kind of scholarship beyond a loan is out of the question, most of these "opportunities" are usually offered for people in high school or just starting college...
I mean, it's great for them. However, just thinking about the US' current economic problems where automation and trade are shutting down blue-collar jobs and these people don't have any other skills but would like to maybe try something in tech but can't...it's no wonder shit's hitting the fan right now.
Tribal community colleges and some of the regional universities are aware of this lifecycle and make adjustments. UND at one point had a program that was "basic training" for college with a structured set of classes that were general requirements and support around them.
I commend you for putting in the effort, but our colleges are not helpful to older students and that actually makes life difficult for certain minority groups. I find their lack of inclusion a bit hypocritical.
My experience is that Google things a Computer Science degree is worthless. It can't get your foot in the door to speak to them, you have to be a race or gender they are looking for.
At least that was the case before I got Amazon on my resume. Now it feels like every company on the planet wants to recruit me, including Google. I know a lot of people at Amazon who didn't have connections and didn't have a degree from an elite school (or a degree in CS at all in some cases) and they were still great. I'm sure google would never give them the time of day.
The one person I do know who works at Google is awful to be around (he is the "wrong" gender and race btw and went to the same school as me, but got referred). Google is all he talks about. I invited him to a party once and he actually started working on his laptop mid-party and snapped at me when I came over and asked him what he was up to ("It's confidential!" he said as he closed the screen and left).
So feeling rejected sucks, but maybe you dodged a bullet there.
Admittedly we have left our course list dormant for a while but we will be pushing an update in a few weeks.
I've just started, but I can say that some courses (from this particular degree) are not available in a MOOC version, like "Functional Programming with Haskell" (1st semester) and "Computational Logic" (1st semester). But for CSCI particularly, I'm sure there are more MOOC courses available.
In the "Math Segment" of your path, I would include "Linear Algebra". There is a good MOOC version in edX called "Linear Algebra Foundations to Frontiers" from U. of Austin TX.
That being said there are courses that might be required that we don't have in our requirements. Later we may add a public section were users can add in suggestions for courses to include in a learning path.
We also need a major update in courses listings. That is coming.
The goal of this system is for a user to be able to directly compare courses that cover similar material (liner algebra) , not just aggregate courses of same general subject (math). We only list courses that are roughly equivalent to a course that might be found on campus. We don't list say a 1 week on say Photoshop. While that material might be valuable it isn't a traditional university course.
When creating the degree path we looked at dozens of US universities' CS and management degrees and their requirements. We tried mirror what they required using our classification system. For example you have to take intro to computer science (we list as CS 101), Algorithms (we list as CS 295), etc.
All the courses we had previously classified as falling under say CS 101 then can be used in the degree path since we said CS 101 is a degree path requirement. The goal being a path that is provider neutral so one can pick and choose without having to be tied to only Coursera, edX, etc.
It is in no way a perfect system. While courses grouped under a classification should cover roughly the same material they are not perfect substitutes. We encourage users to use their best judgement.
As for keeping it up to date that is a huge challenge. If we were doing basic aggregation it would be a matter of just posting up new courses as they became available. But then users would have to take the time to sort through say all the math courses. With our classification systems they don't have to waste their time doing that.
The problem with having a much better organization of courses than anyone else is it is harder to maintain. At the moment we are behind in listing new material and thats why in my first post I gave the disclaimer.
That said, the thing that bugs me about them is how they may be perceived by a potential employer?
Granted, anyone can put on their resume/cv that they went to school x/y/z and gained a BA or MA; most employers probably don't even look at it. But a few probably do investigate further; and there is always the chance that a new employer might look into your stated background and find that, "No, you didn't graduate from XYZ, and oh, btw, you're fired."
Having that piece of documentation from an accredited school means something. Furthermore, if you have a certificate or something from another place that isn't recognized, it might be looked upon as a "diploma mill" certificate, not worth the paper it is printed on, so to speak.
This is why I support companies like Udacity and Coursera, because they might lend an air of legitimacy to their certificates (much like the various Microsoft and Cisco certs), to help prove to potential employers that you are the "real deal". That's not to say that Course Buffet can't do the same (and honestly, there's a lot still needed to be done to communicate to employers that these MOOC offering do have merit) - but right now, outside of having an extensive project portfolio and some other measures of demonstrating to the employer, there isn't many ways to convey to them that "Yes, I have a level of knowledge equivalent to a BA in CompSci."
Ultimately, as always and regardless of your degree (or not), it all comes down to how you sell yourself to the employer. Still - if it comes down to two people who have convinced the employer to consider them for hiring, it might just come down to who has the "actual" degree - the guy with a known institution on that piece of paper, or the guy with a random PDF certificate (or 20) from random online sites?
This is an unfortunate bias in our educational and employment system, and it is going to be a difficult one for MOOCs to overcome - but I do hope it happens, because frankly, college education, despite its certain advantages, is very expensive (and some would say overpriced). Not to mention its structure and student-body makeup, being naturally skewed toward a younger student population, tends to turn away an older population who may want to seek a degree in their later years, but don't want to feel out of place.
MOOCs can fill that role, but there are a lot of prejudices and assumptions that need to be overcome in the meantime to get employers to understand their value.
If one can go to a top or mid-tier school then one should go. But that is not a reality for some people. There are also a lot of people who went to a university but after a few years wished they had studied something else.
We wanted to give people a dead simple way to replicate a degree/minor path if going to a "real university" was not available or to inconvenient.
Why is everything related to education always targeted at young people? My ability to synthesize new knowledge has increased substantially after I was already out of college for a few years. But once you are in that age range, educational resources suddenly dissipate. Well, it's not the only thing that dissipates...
But, seriously, the amount of resources that were thrown at me while I was younger was ridiculous. Interestingly enough, I could hardly keep up with it.
A bit odd that everyone acts as if they think that there's no chance of developing people further after the age of 25 or so. Do they really have a much higher demand for fresh grads, as opposed to people with experience? Is it that much harder to get a shallow understanding of computer science as opposed to a deep one?
At least they're acknowledging the importance of education.
I honestly don't feel like my exposure to CS has changed my life in any way outside of my career. If I imagine some future where I am retired, it is not obvious to me where I will use anything I have learned or how it will shape me into being a better person.
It certainly has been useful to me in finding gainful employment, but if that is the only thing it brings to the table, one could argue that Google is only doing this in their self-serving interests. It is clear to see what benefits they would gain in having a larger labour pool available.
Ummm... isn't that a pretty major effect? Doesn't that have some impressive side effects?
I watch my so many of my non-CS friends cycle through jobs (and debt) with limited ability to add long-term stability. If information sciences are having an impact on every industry, and encouraging students to explore those options gives them better access to jobs, and thus improve their life, that seems like a noble goal.
But success is rarely duplicated! The cure for high prices, after all, is high prices. With the push for more and more to get into CS, there will undoubtedly be more and more looking for careers in CS-based professions in the future. The added competition will leave these jobs in the same state that your friends have found themselves dealing with in mature careers who have already gone through the same dilution of people. If I'm wrong and these people do not pursue careers that are related to CS, what have they really gained?
To put simply: Value lies in scarcity. If CS is no longer scarce, it will no longer be valuable.
It's as much part of who I am as bitter cynicism and an inordinate love of fried rice.
How are you touching on some part of your CS education each day in an important way? I may not even realize how I use it in my own situation, outside of the obvious practical application of writing software.
I look to my family and friends, many of whom know nothing about CS, and they have quite meaningful and fulfilling lives. It still doesn't seem all that important in the grand scheme of things.
Meanwhile, the population only goes up.
Assuming those two statements are true in a given economy, then this is going to become a major problem for society as the number of people drastically outmatches the number of (skilled?) jobs that need performed.
At a certain point we're going to have to find a new paradigm to replace our "compete for a job and you can earn a living" system or else find ourselves in a situation where the employer has all the power and the vast majority of people who can even find work endure terrible conditions.
> Meanwhile, the population only goes up.
That's why one should consider people who produce children as "evil-minded". There are few things that are similar as cruel as producing children who will have no place in society. Antinatalism for the win.
On the other hand, on a national or global scale having children is not optional.
If you want your species to continue, some people have to have children.
That said, I agree in that I believe contraception should be essentially free to anyone who wants it. There's simply no logical reason for society to bring unwanted and superfluous children into the world.
But only as many as society really needs (currently we have to many) and and only if there exist people that are willing to bail if the child will be unemployed (a risk that will increase with even more automatization).
If you don't want humanity to die, then it is far too simplistic and it would actually be wrong to not value people having children -- at least to some degree -- since as far as we know it is the only way for humanity to continue.
In reality, as with most things, there is a lot of grey area and difference of circumstance that factor into the morality of such a decision.
We have tons of websites dedicated to teaching our trade, most of them for free. We actively encourage everybody to learn to code, and tell them how easy it is, and how it makes you a better person. We say schools should teach everybody how to code.
Do you imagine medics, attorneys, engineers, etc doing the same things about their own professions/skills? "Yes I'm an architect... yeah but you should learn the same skillset, this thing I do is super easy! Everybody could be an architect easily!"
Of course corporations like this: more coders! Cheaper labour! For example I found this video disgusting while everybody else applauded the effort:
Do you really think your (our) skillset is worth 0?
Is this a fair statement of your views, or am I misinterpreting you?
And it's true, you definitely don't see doctors, lawyers, accountants etc. acting in the same way. I'm not suggesting a grand conspiracy on their part, but the certifications (difficult to obtain), years of schooling etc do have the effect (intended or not) of limiting competition.
It's hard to argue for better wages and treatment from employers on one hand, while simultaneously propagating the view that "anyone can do this". Well, if anyone can, then why should you get paid $150k/yr or more?
I can't imagine any other industry doing this. I don't go on to the website of 3M, for example, and see stuff teaching me how to make my own glue. When I speak to a lawyer they don't try to teach me how to be a lawyer. Why do so many programmers feel the need to do this?
Because they like what they do and sharing knowledge helps you learn and network. Go on youtube and look for tons of drawing tutorials, music creation, sculpting, etc. pretty much anything creative and accessible will have people who will give away knowledge for free, sharing what they discovered or w/e.
There's also selection bias, programmers create digital content so it's bound to be over-represented on the internet.
Many of my hardest problems involve people in decision-making positions that don't have any idea about how computers or programs work. Getting the rest of the world to be more conversant in programming will allow for more meaningful work. For example, we know what an EKG and an APB are, but people don't know what a compiler is.
In the view of those promoting programming education it is a skill that everyone should have the opportunity to learn -- more akin to reading or writing than specialized skills like making glue or regulated subjects like law.
There is also a lot of room for creativity in programming, which means it probably has a higher chance of being adopted just for fun.
Here is my thoughts: spreading knowledge and making it accessible is not a bad thing, of course. But, isn't it true that the current education system (form k-12 to academia) is built to produce a workforce for the industry(2.0)? Here is a quote from a recent HN thread: "Our current system is designed to produce factory workers for the industrial economy, which was adapted to produce knowledge workers for the information economy. But we are moving towards full automation of most of those jobs.
We will need to prepare people to be adaptable in a fast changing automated world: more entrepreneurial type skills are needed." [https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=13533759]
Education for the sake of knowledge/science ended after Industry 2.0. Maybe that's why the world doesn't have great innovators & scientists and giant scientific leaps as got once until late 19th to early 20th century.
So, it's true that all the current frantic efforts (bootcamps, online degrees, nanodegrees etc.) to teach youth to code are about pouring easy-accessible workforce into the market - towards the final phase of Industry 3.0. After the Industry 4.0 is arrived, millions of workforce will be left out, IMO.