Software Development
DEI / Women in tech

This dev thinks Facebook’s diversity chief got it all wrong

No women or people of color in the software development pipeline? That's “total bull,” said JPMorgan developer Jocelyn Harper.

Jocelyn Harper and Elizabeth Cottrell hosted a workshop at NET/WORK DE 2017. (Photo by Joey Davidson)

At last week’s NET/WORK tech jobs fair, Archer Group Front End Developer Elizabeth Cottrell and JPMorgan Chase Software Developer Jocelyn Harper hosted a workshop all about transitioning into a tech career. Harper had some choice words for the audience of around 25 people.
The notion that “there are no people of color,” Harper rhetorically set up, “and no women in development or the pipeline? That’s total bull.” Harper told the room that she knows plenty of professionals in development who meet both qualities and that there are people of color and women on her team and in the pipeline.
We caught up with Harper after the workshop to speak with her about the moment. When we approached her, she quickly offered up the impetus for her frustration. It stems from Facebook.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg recently fielded a question from students at A&T State University at North Carolina. When one asked what minority students should do to stand out in an industry currently dominated by white males, he explained that students should focus on being the best they can be while companies do more. It’s a fair response, and Zuckerberg puts the onus on the companies to be better.
His own Facebook, though, is predominantly white and male. As of its most recent report in 2016, 33 percent of its workforce is female globally. In the U.S., 4 percent of Facebook employees are Latino and 2 percent are Black. After that report, Facebook diversity chief Maxine Williams cited a lack of minorities in the development pipeline for their demographics.
Which, according to Harper, is complete BS.

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