Google, Tech, and Dinner

Last week I attended the It’s Never Too Late: Careers in Computer Science gabfest at Google’s main campus organized by the newly renamed Anita Borg Institute for Women and Technology (aka Systers). Google was in high-paranoia mode, given their pending IPO, but I wasn’t there to hear about the rightness of Dutch auctions or the Securities Act of 1933. I was there to hear about women in technology and sample their famous conference snacks – not in that order.

“According to the U.S. Department of Labor Women’s Bureau” stated the introduction to the event, “high-paying occupations for computer workers and IT specialists are projected to have some of the steepest gains over the next several years.” This shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone – tech always needs to innovate. However, they go on to say that “Despite the doom and gloom headlines about outsourcing, prospects for meaningful jobs in these fields is bright.”

“Doom and gloom” is right – it sure doesn’t look good for tech people right now. Karl Schoenberger wrote about a steep decline in CS majors several months back in the Merc, and I wrote a lead business page article last year for the San Francisco Chronicle while attending Anita Borg’s memorial service, Paving the Way for ‘Systers’, which explored the declining numbers of women in technology, especially at the managerial level. “The numbers from Berkeley of the 1980s indicate that our technology workforce should have a considerable number of women in management and CTO positions by now” I wrote in September of 2003. “Where have all the women in technology gone?”

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