Did You Know: Hacking at Etsy, Recruiting with Big Data, Retention at Intel

Did You Know: Hacking at Etsy
We reported earlier this summer on a collaborative effort to recruit more women to a programming workshop undertaken by startups in New York City working with online marketplace Etsy and Hacker School; but did you know that one reason for its success may allude to Sapna Cheryan’s research? As blogger Lauren Bacon observes, the effort’s success -- nearly half of this summer’s class is female and 600+ women applied, a 100-fold increase from previous classes -- is due to several reasons. One is funding; the participating startups chipped in to support scholarships for many of the women. However, another reason she identifies is that the classes are being held at Etsy’s headquarters, which is decorated with objects sold on the Etsy marketplace, which is estimated to be at least 75% women:
 
"A lot of ‘get more women into tech’ efforts have not succeeded. This one has, and I think it’s because rather than inviting women into a tech space, Etsy invited techies into space that was already established as woman-friendly (and arguably women-dominant).”
 
Find out more about NCWIT member Sapna Cheryan's research on the influence of physical spaces on women's perception of computing.
UPDATE: Etsy and Hacker School are offering an additional $70,000 in grants to women for this fall's class!
 
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Did You Know: Would You MOOC?
If you’ve been following the explosion of Massive Online Open Courses (MOOCs) being offered lately, perhaps you’ve noticed that there are many computing courses among them. But did you know why some professors choose to teach a MOOC?
 
In case you missed it, the University of Virginia’s David Evans, who’s teaching courses through Udacity on “Introduction to Computer Science” and “Applied Cryptography: Science of Secrets”, shares some of his reasons with The Chronicle for Higher Ed and talks about what it’s been like for him. 
 
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Did You Know: New Research on the Wage Gap
Did you know that, according to new findings on the gender wage gap, experienced managers allocate more funds to raises for male employees than for females? Much previous research on this gap has led to speculation that women don’t negotiate higher salaries as effectively as men, but this study isolates perceptions of female employees as the mitigating factor. 
 
The study’s experiment simulated a scenario in which real managers either were given an excuse (the company’s fiscal woes) or had no reasoning for a company’s funding pool, and had to allocate raises to both men and women employees with similar work histories. When managers had no company-provided reason for their raise amounts, they gave equal raises to men and women. But when managers had the excuse of limited funds, they paid women less than men, and presumed that this excuse would be more “acceptable” to women. 
 
For some quick tips on how make sure your company knows your value, check out NCWIT’s Top 10 Ways Successful Technical Women Increase Their Visibility.
 
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Did You Know: Recruiting with Big Data
If you think finding the right talent for your startup is like hunting for a needle in a haystack, did you know that big data might make the haystack a little smaller? Several companies on the market now use powerful algorithms to search through resumes and other bits of data about applicants, and then match those data to a company’s job and culture descriptions. "The current system is using a tank when you really need a sniper," says Gild CEO Sheeroy Desai. 
 
One of the potential cautions of these algorithms is that search terms, like job descriptions, can contain gendered language. Although gendered language in the hiring process is often subtle and unconscious, it can have a measurable impact when it comes to attracting women. Check out Dr. Aaron Kay’s talk on this topic from the 2012 NCWIT Summit to learn more.  
 
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Did You Know: Geek Squad Summer Academy is 6 Years Old
Did you know that Best Buy’s Geek Squad Summer Academy, now in its sixth year, serves nearly 10,000 boys and girls in 20 states? Though not a profit-turning endeavor for Best Buy, the summer camp program has flourished because it engages on multiple levels: with local organizations, with Best Buy employees, with kids, and even with their parents. (Learn more about designing a successful summer camp program, here.)
 
Senior manager of the Academy and K-12 Alliance member Moira Hardek recently was interviewed for a profile in Network World, where she remarked that the Academy is designed to encourage more young people to engage in technology innovation. "... what happens if more of our innovators are women? Or come from economically disadvantaged areas? The tech field as a whole definitely needs a different point of view, it needs new innovators.” 
 
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Did You Know: How Intel Attracts Women into Engineering
Did you know that Intel’s education manager for Europe has just returned from a “generous” paternity leave? Intel encourages its employees of both genders to take advantage of flexible work arrangements -- like working from home a few days a week, working atypical hours, and taking leave time -- to juggle their career and family responsibilities. A recent report from the Institute for Engineering and Technology estimated that just 6 percent of UK engineers are women, a number that’s hardly moved in 25 years; meanwhile, half of companies surveyed said they were struggling to find skilled engineers. By focusing on output rather than input and making some flexible policies an informal part of the company’s culture, Intel is hoping to increase its retention, not just its recruitment, of women. Check out our Top 10 Ways Managers Can Retain Technical Women for more ideas. 
 
Did You Know? is a brief round-up of information and news that crossed NCWIT's radar this week that we think might be of interest to you. Practices or content of the news presented are not vetted or endorsed by NCWIT.