Is it really so hard to find female programmers??

Posted on May 2, 2011

I am currently hiring a few students for a summer internship. About 40% of the applicants were women and about half my interviews are with women. How’d I do it? It was common sense really.

First, I did what anyone else would do: I posted the job on college recruiting sites. Which colleges did I choose? I choose the colleges in New York (where the company is) AND I posted it at women’s colleges – Smith, Mt Holyoke, and Barnard. Since I went to Smith for a couple years, this was a no-brainer. If I wanted a diverse applicant pool, then I need to up my odds. I may do some more postings and I’ll likely include some historically black schools as well.

Now I realize that the above is really limited to attracting interns or recent graduates. However, the general impetus behind it is sound. If you want women and minorities, find out where they are.

In addition to posting on college recruiting sites, I also posted on Systers, a mailing list for women in computer science. It’s true that it’s a closed list, but you can always try to contact the mod and see if they’ll pass along the information. Another list is Dev Chix. These lists would be a great supplement to a ruby list (or Java or whatever).

I’m starting interviews today, but right now, I’m generally super happy with the applicants I’m getting. Depending on how things go, I may not need to post anywhere else.

See? That wasn’t so hard.


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