Inspiring Change

This editorial was originally published on Nov 5, 2009. It is being re-run as Steve is on vacation.

I attended the Women in Technology luncheon for the first time at the PASS Summit on Wednesday. My plan was to put in a short appearance and then head to meet some of the Microsoft manageability team to give them feedback on SQL Server. There are times where you realize that something is happening that would be hard to recreate later. I ended up staying at the luncheon.

There seems to be a decline in engineering, science, and technology degrees and interest in the US in general. The Women in Technology group is concerned with finding ways to interest, excite, and grow the number of women in technology. The panel had a number of women active in technology, sharing their stories and trying to inspire others. It’s a message that I think bears repeating, and gives you the opportunity to break down the stereotypes that exist with women in technology.

I heard someone say that no young girl wants to be Dilbert. Young men seem to be able to handle that stereotype better than others, and I’m not sure why. Maybe because it’s more socially acceptable for men to be geeks?

The power of role models is undeniable.  We see that all the time with movie stars, athletes and more. However many of us are inspired by others closer to us. Authors and speakers we meet at the PASS Summit. Technologists that create and sell a company let us dream that we might do the same. Each of us that enjoys our job, and makes a good living, could inspire a young person to consider a career in this field. Just sharing your vision of what’s exciting to you might change their mind.

I thought the women in technology luncheon was a great event, and I look forward to it next year. I’d encourage the rest of you to give it a try and see if you can inspire a young girl, a minority, or a child you know to consider a career in technology.

Steve Jones

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