This article originally appeared on re/code.
I’m an engineer at Asana, but I wasn’t always interested in this career path. I fought through a lot of myths to recognize that I could enjoy working in an industry filled with stereotypes so different from how I self-identify (female, queer). Not only did I not know software engineering could be creative, compelling work, but I also didn’t recognize there was room for someone like me.
There have been a lot of articles written about the lack of diversity in tech, and in our professional circles, it’s something we talk about regularly. But how can tech actually do better? To start, we can do a better job conveying that we’ve got room. From conferences like this week’s Lesbians Who Tech Summit (which I’ll be attending), that help increase visibility in and participation from underrepresented communities, to looking inward at internal company dynamics, we need to do more than just say we’re interested in diversity. We need to point out the range of ways technology jobs are interesting to people who wouldn’t otherwise consider them, and how we think a diverse workplace will actually outperform one that’s not. There’s a place in tech for different ethnicities, for women, for parents, for people of all ages, for those who don’t have a top CS school degree, and for newcomers to CS. But we’re going to have to do the work to make tech more accessible to people from a variety of backgrounds — we can’t just talk the talk, we have to walk the walk.
Why seek out diversity now
Solving our collective lack of diversity is going to be an uphill battle: we have foundational problems ranging from education and our interview processes, all the way through the day-to-day management of our companies. Even more challenging is the fact that there are no perfect role models, companies who have paved the way and really figured out a long-term, effective solution to address all these complex issues. And even if there were models we could emulate, solutions would still be nuanced and tailored to the individual company.
Despite the difficulties we know we’ll face, there are reasons our diversity problem is worth solving now. At a high level, diversity can help a company — your company — thrive. Countless studies show that diverse groups actually perform better together; my current favorite…