On The Hunt For A Unicorn: The Talented Female Developer
February 2, 2016
Recently, I was asked why we didn’t have any female developers on our team and what were we doing to change that. I won’t lie to you – we haven’t figured this out.
We are an Atlanta-based mobile app development company with a team of entirely male developers. We do have women in other departments within our company – operations, marketing, sales – but none of the women are developers. Sure we can hack some CSS together when needed, but the skills we bring to the table are vastly different from the skills a female developer would bring to our company.
That being said, each woman at stable|kernel understands how software works, and we know how our team approaches development. We also know that our best practices make it very appealing for developers to work at stable|kernel – and some of those practices are those that matter most to women in the workplace including collaboration, mentorship, training and recognition programs.
Last spring I wrote a blog piece about women in technology that hammered the point that diversity fosters success. It accelerates creativity. A company with a team of diverse members benefits from having many different perspectives when solving problems and developing creative approaches.
It isn’t just that ensuring diversity as part of one’s hiring model is the right thing; it’s the smart thing! Data proves again and again that diverse teams are more successful and more creative. When women move into leadership roles, companies become more profitable.
On the Hunt for our Unicorn: The Talented Female Developer
While our company is diverse, our development team is less so. And we want to change that. But as anyone even remotely involved with software in Atlanta knows – talented senior developers are hard to come by, especially for talented, senior female developers. So how do we attract them?
The truth is, often, men and women both want the same things out of a job – a challenging career, potential for growth and a company that values work-life balance. Drilling down a little deeper, every employee wants to be recognized for their outstanding work and for going above and beyond the call of duty when necessary. Most employees want the opportunity to learn from a more senior team member or in the case of the senior team member, the opportunity to share their expertise.
Ultimately, building a company culture that is good for all employees, not just women, is our goal. By hiring the right people to become part of our family, the environment should organically be open and welcoming to any potential employee who should walk through our door. But here are some of the things about stable|kernel that I hope will attract more female employees across all departments, especially in engineering.
Forty percent of our leadership team is made up of women –VP of Operations and Director of Business Development. While we are always on the hunt for our unicorn – the talented female developer – we are building a company that is very inclusive of women, and we make sure that our values and goals reflect that. Currently, our marketing and business development team is made up mostly of women who understand the value of software, the complexity of designing and developing products and the fierce competition for talent in our market.
Women often feel like leadership roles are out of reach for them, especially in technology companies. stable|kernel offers a level playing field in terms of title and compensation, and we are committed to providing each employee with speaking engagements, mentorship opportunities, project leadership and client visibility. Each team member can own small projects and work their way up to bigger projects.
All employees can contribute to our company blog, newsletter, staff meeting presentations and media placements when a topic is relevant to their passions and areas of expertise. We are building a brand as a company, but the value we provide relies on having exceptional talent – so it’s important for us to help individuals build their brands as well. The contribution of each individual is what makes our company great – and we demand respect for and from each other at every step.
Work-life balance is important to all employees, not just women. But as women grow in their careers, and put years of experience behind them, having children will often become a priority. Not only does our flexible work environment provide the freedom for moms and dads to leave early for a child’s school event or work remotely so that they can spend time with their families, we provide three months paid maternity leave (and complementing paternity leave program) with a flexible phase back program.
Even though we are doing all of these things, I’m not sure what it takes to attract the right female developer. Competition is fierce for experienced, senior level talent in our space. Our hope is that talented developers of all backgrounds will discover us, get excited about the amazing work our team is doing, and feel at home when they walk through our front doors.