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Brogrammers: “Want 2 bro down & crush some code?”


As a kid growing up, there were always stereotypes and cliques that everyone fell into a school… while I like to think that I got along with most of my class mates, it was obvious that ‘the cool kids’ and ‘the nerds’ didn’t mix together to well. I remember one lunch time some poor kid who fell into the ‘nerd’ category was on the receiving end of some nasty bullying the schoolyard bully. After some pushing and name calling, the fracas ended when a teacher broke up the commotion; Mr whoever-it-was gave the schoolyard bully a stern talking to while someone in the crowd that had gathered shouted “don’t bully the nerdy kids; they’ll end up being your boss one day!” – Well maybe he should have said “don’t bully the cool kids either; they’ll end up being your boss one day!”

While tech companies are formidable financial forces in the modern day economy, the likes of Steve Wozniak, Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg all sit on top of their fortunes ruling the technology world. These billionaires probably fell into the nerd category when they were teenagers… (Most of us have seen the photos of their younger years – it’s a fair assumption!) Going back to a time where the cool kids stayed far away from computer technology; Gates, Wozniak and Zuckerberg were most-likely developing the skills at a computer screen that would one day lead them to the billions that they are currently worth – in all honesty, it wasn’t likely that their fellow peers shared their enthusiasm and understanding. Going back to the 1970s/1980s, even the 1990s, computer technology didn’t have the same impact on social activity as it does today. Often left to those who had the intelligence to understand its often complex ways; it wasn’t until the internet revolution of the late 1990s/2000s that next to everyone could get a grasp on this technology. Microsoft Word brought word documents away from the typewriter and onto the computer, Facebook brought us all closer together to share our social lives on screen and app centric mobile devices made even the most mundane tasks in life a little bit more easier/futuristic. A new generation is entering the workforce… and unlike the previous generations, they understand the complex ways of computer technology – they first started coding on their old HTML Myspace pages for all we know.

No longer does one picture a tech studio to be filled with stereotypical nerds; the thick glasses and pocket protectors are being replaced with aviator sunglasses and popped collars… say hello to “The Brogrammer”. Often an image that’s parodied or over played - Brogrammers show that the perceptions of traditional programmers/IT staff are changing. On HBO’s new show Silicon Valley, they are included as well-dressed and confident characters that bully the other programmers around them… it’s like the cool kids from back in school have decided that knowing your way around Cisco Networks or coding Java is finally cool. The social media company Klout certainly thought so and tried to recruit their latest group of graduates with a poster stating “Want to bro down and crush some code?” – A phrase that would fit nicely as the motto under the Brogrammer coat of arms. As technology became cool and part of normality for many kids growing up in the last 10/15 years, the intake of new talented IT professionals are starting to come from all mixes of life. Brogrammers can be seen as a positive reflection of the changing times within the IT industry; comical, cocky and cool but they can unfortunately be a reflection of the negative aspects of computer tech and IT.

Brogrammers, mixing brother and programmers into one word, does point out a massive issue in IT. As a recent poll from StackOverflow’s 2015 Developer Survey shows; 92.1% of the participants were men. Women only accounted for 5.8% of the participants in the survey and bring up the debate of sexism in the IT industry. An area where men appear to dominate has often brought up issues of sexism and the Brogrammer image has been likened to Lad Culture. But as a new generation is once again coming up, will we see another switch like we did in the 2000s which brought the cool kids to the nerd table… Most recently I went to visit my two young nieces who are 8 and 6; both of them knew their way around an iPad with ease and could do things on iPhone that not even my mother knew how to do. With exposure to this technology at such a young age and with talk of programming being taught to kids in school; will the new crop of IT professionals in the next few years be different? Not only will the cool kids be at the nerd table, but would there be 50/50 gender ratio at the table? Let’s touch base in 2025 and see.

16 September 2015

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