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Jennifer Ritzinger - Reflecting on Microsoft internships


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The Channel 9 team is amused because when you do a synonym search on the word intern you get terms such as imprison, confine, and hold in custody but being an intern at Microsoft is nothing like being incarcerated, we swear!  J  Hear from two women interns at Microsoft who talk about their jobs (yes, they do get to work on meaty projects) and what their fellow students and professors back at school think of their interships with Microsoft.  Charles Torre and Jennifer Ritzinger continue their journey of featuring more successful female geeks on our WM_IN in technology series.


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  • ik technology majors... The future managers ... Do Microsoft have code monkey interns?

    So they are suggesting it is a circular problem in so much that there aren't enough girls to feel comfortable, and girls won't want to take CS to begin with because there aren't enough girls... Thus there won't be enough girls.

    Which begs the question how do you fix this problem? I'd agree that there is a stereotype here in the UK too... Girls go for psychology, English, science (biology, chemistry, not physics), art and thus everyone expects them to continue to do so.

    Recruiters/advisers assume those are the areas girls would mostly consider and thus would suggest it first. However a guy of the same age/grades might get CS/IT as a first suggestion. Could do something in that area... But there are no short-term quick-fix solution. Just long-term changing attitudes.

  • MinhMinh WOOH!  WOOH!
    Regarding women in CompSci -- sounds like things haven't changed in 15 years. Depressing.
  • Minh wrote:
    Regarding women in CompSci -- sounds like things haven't changed in 15 years. Depressing.

    Actually I think they've became worse... Indeed depressing.

    PS - Charles et al, next time you do one of these interviews can you politely ask them how good their grade are... Just for my curiosities sake.
  • tsilbSlackmasterK This Space ​Intentional​ly Left Blank
    How many times does Scoble have to tell you?  Look at the interviewer, not the camera! 

    (caught at least once, at 3:04)
  • SlackmasterK wrote:
    How many times does Scoble have to tell you?  Look at the interviewer, not the camera! 

    (caught at least once, at 3:04)

    They are frigging interns not professional marketers; try and remember that before you criticise them...
  • Let's just say that you don't usually get to interview with Microsoft if you don't have a GPA of 3.0 or above.
  • antoxicionantoxicion Hmmmza!

    Being an MIS major with a CS minor, i do agree with the girls how the classes are 90% male, and how most of the "better" programmers do tend to keep to themselves. I think in my java class there were over 50 students, 5 which were girls, and only 2 actually stayed in the class.

    Another problem in my school is the foreign teachers. I don't mind that their foreign but the fact that that one teacher is the only teacher teaching that class and it is really difficult to understand him. He is from Iran, and in java he only made it harder on us to try and understand and keep up. So while trying to understand him more than to understand the work he's doing is, or could be another issue other schools are facing.

  • I see one of the biggest reasons, and the reason that I left computer science was the arrogance and hostility of the professors. I went to a top 15 CS program and stayed in for a year and a half. There seemed to be a culture of who could make the class the hardest among the faculty. Exams were amazingly difficult and grades seem to correlate very little with programming ability. I admit that after being told that I know nothing about coding, despite the fact that I worked as a developer through high school and know how to ship software, by people who could not even write a project spec I threw in the towel. I still develop although now I do mostly design and oversee programmers overseas that do the actual development.

    If you want more girls make it less of a dick swinging contest. This is the same reason that you don't find many girls working on the trading floors of wall street firms.


    Just my experiance.

    Merry Christmas,

  • There are two main problems that come to my mind:

    1. Most girls never make it to the computer science field, they are moved away from the field through many reasons, including:

      • subconcious expectations from those around them
      • the school systems (how they are taught
      • misconceptions of what the field is
      • limited knowledge about the jobs resulting from the field

    2. Those that do make it into the computer science field (in college) then struggle to learn, interact, and grow in the field. Some reasons for this include:

      • weed-out courses that discourage those who may not have the technical savvy walking in
      • cold instructors who are not willing to help, and TAs that are foriegn and harder to understand that the technical jargon
      • language jumping (starting in one language, next class in another, next in another, etc) which makes those who understand the theory but are not practiced in 9 different syntaxes have difficulty

    While it seems that there is "no solution" to this circle, there are many small things that could begin to improve it today. Professors that invest in students would be one. Teaching high school or younger girls about the types of jobs they can get from technology fields is another. Teaching the career councelors to work with students and not stear them away from fields due to stereotypes could also help. While a long term investment will make the biggest difference, it has to start somewhere and that somewhere should be today.

  • rasxrasx Emperor of String.Empty
    I made this far in the world of IT because of being anti-social through college and high school. Where I come from, being "social" can literally get you killed---frequently by the police. I still refuse to pretend that these facts of my life did not exist in order to "fit in"---you have to be a pretty impressive clique in order to get me to fake it. So far no clique fits the bill.

    I have found very few females who were anti-social such that they can develop technical skills. I have found very few people in general(that I have been actively looking for) who were anti-social such that they can develop technical skills.

    Why do I connect anti-social behavior with technical skills? Its because the United States is not known for a pop culture based on technical discipline. "We" Americans still believe more in magic than in technique. This is no accident. It is easier to sell products to magical people than technical people.[C]
  • Fact: Men and Women are different Women have babies, men don't. It's not neccessarily barriers, social expectations or social programming. Conversely how may "straight" men are hairdressers, are we "up in arms" that nothing is being done to redress the balance and make sure we have somehow filled an imaginary straight male hair dresser quota? No we aren't, so why do we feel we have to with coding? Maybe someday women will scratch their crotch, belch, guzzle beer and watch sports instead of doing the dishes, but until then I think we just have to accept that us guys n gals are different. And actually, I like it that they smell nice Smiley
  • Anando [MVP]Anando [MVP] Anando [MVP]
    Arctic_Cat wrote:
    Let's just say that you don't usually get to interview with Microsoft if you don't have a GPA of 3.0 or above.

    Speaking from past personal experiences, I would say that is incorrect.

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