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Debugging Diversity

posted Jul 19, 2016, 4:01 PM by Anjuan Simmons   [ updated Jan 3, 2017, 10:58 AM ]

Despite the media attention given to the diversity in tech problem, many technology practitioners don't see how a lack of diversity affects their daily lives. So, it is not surprising that they neither understand the magnitude of the problem nor how they can help fix it. However, the skills needed to debug software are directly applicable to making technology companies more inclusive and diverse.

However, the principles and language of debugging, something technology practitioners understand well, can be used to help them understand diversity and their role in solving the problem. So, technologists already have a set of terms that they can use to tackle diversity. They just need to know how to apply those terms in order to effect positive change. These terms are expected behavior, tracing, refactoring, and sample code.

San Diego, CA
Debugging Diversity

Strange Loop
St. Louis, MO
Debugging Diversity

Detroit, MI
Debugging Diversity

GitHub's CodeConf
Nashville, TN
Debugging Diversity


@anjuan thank you so much. Your #DebuggingDiversity presentation was prepared, professional, and refreshing. #selfconf 

One of my favorite speakers was Anjuan Simmons, who gave a talk named “Debugging Diversity”. Like the title suggests, the main point of the talk was to discuss the issues that follow the “white male” stigma that envelops the tech field. Anjuan is an advocate in creating a safe and comfortable environment for everyone in the field. Being a young female in the field, I really connected with what Anjuan was talking about. There have been a few times that I have built a report or program, and when it comes time to discuss I have become overshadowed by my male co-workers. They have explained what I have done and why, without giving me much room to talk about it. I have never given it much thought before, and a big reason behind that is probably because I am very new to the professional workflow. However, after hearing talks like Anjuan’s I have recognized this issue at a very early time in my career and now know to look out for it and to address it.

There are a lot of other great talks, such as Atom keynote or Facebook and Microsoft’s talk on large scale open sourcing. Yet, I’d like to highlight one more talk here – Debugging Diversity given by Anjuan Simmons. In fact, this is not really like a technical talk. Instead, Anjuan focused on the “Diversity” or “Equality” in the community. In my opinion, people who involved in open source projects are somehow more important than the projects themselves. Human is the core, and it is all about how we interact with others. Anjuan did a great job on this topic, and it was this talk that made me feel CodeConf is one level higher than the other conferences I attended in Taiwan. Code and projects are interesting, but sometimes we should pay more attentions on people around the projects. Also, we should give more respect to everyone no matter who they are or what they do. Truly, this talk is awesome!