o the graduating women of computer science: First, even though you’ve heard it a lot lately, I want to say it, too: Congratulations!
I know that getting here required many hours writing algorithms, studying computer architectures, learning new languages, fighting your way through problem sets, and holding your breath to see if your code compiles with no errors (and hopefully only a couple of warnings). It has been, I imagine, alternately frustrating, fascinating, stressful and—most of all—endlessly satisfying. It’s also probably involved a lot of coffee. Now, it’s time to share your new skills with the world.
For me, the end of school meant the beginning of my dream job at Microsoft. I still have the note from my mom saying that Microsoft had called to offer me the position. My hopes for this job couldn’t have been higher—and remarkably, for the most part, it actually lived up to them. I got to work with truly brilliant people and felt like I was putting my fingerprints on the future. I loved it.
The reason I mention this is that I don’t think young women hear stories like it enough. Instead, you hear about the stubborn gender gap in tech and the challenges of being the only woman in a room full of “brogrammers.” You hear that tech companies still struggle to attract and retain talented women and that venture capital funds still underinvest in their ideas. After years of studying these issues, unfortunately, I know that this part of the story is true, too.