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Will the Real Technical People
Please Stand Up?@lhawthorn - Eurucamp 2015
mikecogh
$PERSON
isn’t
TECHNICAL
My Parents*
* Not Drawn to Scale
thedailyenglishshow
Unix Programmer
Learned to use the
ATM when I was 14
© D. Taranik
used with permission
What does
$PERSON isn’t TECHNICAL
even mean?
see also its ugly relatives: “not very technical” and “not technical enough” ...
Does It Mean ….
• Doesn’t have a university degree in Computer
Science or Engineering of some sort?
• Doesn’t write code? ...
$PERSON isn’t TECHNICAL
implies some kind of
immutable binary
hape_gera
This phrase is toxic.
This phrase is code for…
• “I don’t have to challenge my own biases”
• “The work $PERSON performs is much less
valueable t...
This phrase prevents us from …
• Having better educated and more empowered
colleagues
• Fully respecting the value of our ...
Why would I stay in an industry
that defines me by what I can’t do
instead of all the things I can do?
Read awesome things ...
86979666@N00
Thank You!
Further Reading & Legal Bits
• Fantastic related article:
The Myth of the Non-Technical Startup Employee (http://
bit.ly/M...
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Will the Real Technical People Please Stand Up?

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Presented at Eurucamp 2015 in Potsdam, Germany. Video to follow. This PDF includes slides only, with speaker notes at http://www.slideshare.net/lhawthorn/will-the-real-technical-people-please-stand-up

Talk abstract:
How often have you heard – or said – the phrase “$PERSON just isn’t technical”?

If you’re our speaker, you’ve heard it plenty of times over the past 15 years, and frequently applied it to yourself and other colleagues who didn’t quite fit into well understood “technologist” categories.

But what does technical actually mean? What makes someone technical? What makes them not technical?

In this talk, the speaker will explore how “not technical” is a dangerous phrase we use to ensure that we need never question our hidden biases about others and their aptitudes. She will demonstrate how this phrase not only encourages a lack of collaboration, but leads to stagnation in the growth of your orgnization by actively discouraging your peers from learning new skills.

She will conclude with concrete steps attendees can take to better understand the capabilities of everyone on their team – coders or not – so their projects, company or teams can be most successful.

Published in: Technology
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Will the Real Technical People Please Stand Up?

  1. 1. Will the Real Technical People Please Stand Up?@lhawthorn - Eurucamp 2015 mikecogh
  2. 2. $PERSON isn’t TECHNICAL
  3. 3. My Parents* * Not Drawn to Scale thedailyenglishshow Unix Programmer Learned to use the ATM when I was 14
  4. 4. © D. Taranik used with permission
  5. 5. What does $PERSON isn’t TECHNICAL even mean? see also its ugly relatives: “not very technical” and “not technical enough” and “not as technical as $SOMEONE_JUST_LIKE_ME”
  6. 6. Does It Mean …. • Doesn’t have a university degree in Computer Science or Engineering of some sort? • Doesn’t write code? (Or doesn’t do it for their career?) • Can’t solder and has no idea what thermal compound is?
  7. 7. $PERSON isn’t TECHNICAL implies some kind of immutable binary
  8. 8. hape_gera This phrase is toxic.
  9. 9. This phrase is code for… • “I don’t have to challenge my own biases” • “The work $PERSON performs is much less valueable than my own work” • “$PERSON is a woman / person of color / not enough like me to ‘fit in’”
  10. 10. This phrase prevents us from … • Having better educated and more empowered colleagues • Fully respecting the value of our team mates • Having more effective collaboration throughout our organizations and projects
  11. 11. Why would I stay in an industry that defines me by what I can’t do instead of all the things I can do? Read awesome things by Kara: http://bit.ly/AlcoholAndInclusivity Kara’s Twitter bio pic used with permission
  12. 12. 86979666@N00 Thank You!
  13. 13. Further Reading & Legal Bits • Fantastic related article: The Myth of the Non-Technical Startup Employee (http:// bit.ly/MythNon-TechEmployee • All images in this presentation are copyright their respective owners and are used with their written permission, including via Creative Commons licensing. • This presentation is licensed CC BY-SA 4.0 (http:// creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0/). Please reuse, remix and share widely!

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