Weird to see guys new to my corner of tech coming in with cheerful questions like "Hey, I don't know this thing! Can you explain x"

When I started I was much more apologetic. Felt like every question reflected on how little I knew in general.

I wonder how much of that was attributable to my own self-doubt, and how much was due to people actually writing me off as non-technical.

It's harder to "fake it til you make it" when people aren't giving you the benefit of the doubt.

Now I'm confident that I've done a lot, and am capable of learning new things with enough application of time and effort.

But I still get comments occasionally that reveal some people assume a woman in a mostly male tech space doesn't know anything. I laugh it off now, bc I know that's on them, not me. But it's the type of thing that would have sent me into an existential crisis a few years ago.

At a conference recently, I went over to a table of guys around a computer.

Asked "Whatcha working on, can I join?"
One of them says "It's very complex stuff," with dismissive body language.
Guy I know says "jay can handle it" and makes room for me to sit down.

Yeah, I facilitated multiple sessions at the conference on this, and just spent weeks implementing a related feature.

One rude person doesn't ruin my day anymore, but this type of thing beats down beginners.

At the same conference, I was talking to a woman who was enthusiastically describing her company's tech. I asked, "are you a founder, developer?" She was a founder.

Always assume people are experts, even if they don't "look like" your conception of an expert.

You'll either be right, or if you're wrong, it'll still be a respectful assumption. And it'll probably be a relief to people constantly needing to justify why they belong in a space.


@arcalinea That's honestly such good advice!

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