Being a Girl Programmer

I’ve been ask a couple of times recently what it’s like being a female developer, and it’s one of those questions that I’m probably going to be asked as long as I code. I feel like earlier in my career it was a drawback. I’m pretty shy and I’ve lacked confidence in a lot of areas of life, and I think the combination of these two things and my gender made me seem less smart to some of my coworkers in the past. A couple of years ago, when I was working on my first Rails project, I had a coworker tell me (while drunk at an after work dinner) how he had assumed that I had no skills whatsoever and how surprised he was at how good some code I had written was. Besides that, I’ve had more cases of people assuming that I was more junior than I really am. I don’t think that my gender was the only reason for that, but I think that it’s been part of the problem.

As I’ve gotten older, I’ve realized that I can overcome people’s assumptions or keep them from making them in the first place by both being able to talk about things I know and writing good code. I’m still learning how to express myself better and I feel like I’ve failed a couple times to explain something as well as I wanted, but I’ll get better the more I do it. I don’t think I’ll ever be loud and highly opinionated, but I think that’s a good thing.

Also, I’ve been confused with every other female developer/qa/intern/admin that I’ve ever worked with. Maybe t-shirts with names on them would help with this?