I’ve been coding since I was ~13. I can understand why people who haven’t might have valid reasons to wish they’d started earlier. I’d just say: beware self-fulfilling prophecies and selection bias. Lots of really excellent software people I’ve worked with got late starts. Lots of people who started early coasted or are still coasting. In the 25 years I’ve been coding, only a few years worth of that time really grew me as a developer, so what you work on has just as much impact as how long you’ve been working on it.
Work with a bunch of different enterprise L.O.B. developers to get a sense of what I’m saying here. The average age of a backoffice developer is higher, meaning they have more experience. Hiring in enterprises is regimented, meaning that they tend to come from CS backgrounds. Are they uniformly high quality developers? No. In fact: there’s a stigma attached to coming from a long stint in enterprise development.
As a lever for getting more women engaged with startups, the idea that an early start is important makes even less sense. Much of the day-to-day work that happens even at companies with difficult problem domains is rote and uncomplicated. A few years experience is more than enough to lead a typical web project, and, more importantly, to have a sense for whether a dev team is firing on all cylinders and to authoritatively manage it.
Obvious subtext/bias here: I do not believe that starting women in software development earlier is going to resolve the gender gap. By all means, start early; there’s nothing wrong with that. It’s just probably not the root of the problem.
Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.