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Developer advocates for more women in STEM, top-level tech jobs

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It's high time to break the tech glass ceiling, says Telerik's Jen Looper. She describes tactics for getting more women in STEM jobs and C-level tech positions in this podcast.

Glass ceilings certainly exist in U.S. politics, and they are very real in the IT industry, too, according to Jen Looper, a 15-year software developer and advocate for getting more women in STEM jobs. Noting women make up less than 25% of the tech workforce today and hold few C-level positions, she called for the IT industry to fess up and get real about equal opportunities for women.

Jen LooperJen Looper

In this podcast, Looper described the worsening tech job and promotion situation for women in STEM today and suggested ways to turn that around. Looper is a developer advocate for Progress, an application development software provider. She has been an IT educator for many years. In 2016, she gave over a dozen how-to presentations at conferences, including O'Reilly Fluent, NativeScript Developer Day, AngularConnect and others.

One reason only 25% of tech workers are women today is that tech companies are hiring "carbon copies" of the current male developer force, Looper said. She pointed to studies showing gender bias in tech hiring by comparing results when resumes were submitted with and without names and other gender identifiers. Women were chosen for interviews as much as 10 times more often when gender-blind auditions were held, according to studies by Skidmore University, recruiting firm Speak with a Geek, and others.

We need to make sure that there's no glass ceiling [in tech]. and that mid-career women [can] advance to senior levels.
Jen Looperdeveloper advocate, Telerik

"If we have to resort to tricks like [blind auditions], then, by all means, let's try," Looper said. "Maybe [we'll] get some different patterns of hiring."

Looper encouraged IT pros to work within their own companies to promote hiring more women in STEM positions and promoting female IT veterans to top positions. "We need to make sure that there's no glass ceiling, and that mid-career women [can] advance to senior levels and influence the culture," she said.

Check out this interview with Jen Looper to get more advice on hiring and educational practices that can boost your IT company's roster of women technologists.

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