When Women Stopped Coding is a (mostly) non-depressing look at what was happening in the 80’s and 90’s to contribute to the plummeting number of women in computer science. In particular, I hadn’t thought deeply about the emergence of computing have and have nots.
My parents didn’t buy a computer for the home. Luckily I had access to computers at my friend’s homes and was on the Internet pretty darn early via Tallahassee Freenet & BBSes in 1995. I went to nicer middle and high schools that had technology classes (though not programming, just typing). I often frequented the library to get online. I loved finally having 24-hour access to the computer lab in my dorm during my first year of college (1998).
I pieced together my first desktop computer in 2000 from my friend’s discarded computer parts for $150 (they upgraded for faster LAN party gaming). I was at 20, in college, and this was *after* I took my first programming course!
That programming course, BTW, was an off-hand recommendation from the boyfriend at the time. He thought the way I played minesweeper was systematic and suggested I had a mind for programming. Having no idea what I wanted to major in (only knowing that I loved math and learning new things), I took a C course and loved it!
I almost disappeared from computer science (CS) all together when I dropped out of college in 2001. I took a full time job to get the finances stable and the next year was back in school part time. I never forgot that C course and when I returned to school full time in 2004, I majored in CS. I graduated in 2006 with my BA and started my masters in 2007. I met my future boss later that year at my first Grace Hopper Conference and got an offer I couldn’t refuse from Cisco. The rest is history!