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Myths about technical careers

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Note: this page is in early draft. We would like to debunk these myths where possible, but not all have information yet. Please add additional myths and debunking, with peer-reviewed research where possible and relevant.

You can't have a technical career if you haven't learned to code by puberty!

  • Relatedly: only programmers in their teens and twenties are productive and/or competent (or: only people under the age of 30 can be *truly* creative).
  • Admiral Grace Hopper of the U.S. Navy wrote the first computer compiler in 1952, at the age of about 46; forming the foundation for all modern computing. She was told "...computers could only do arithmatic." by skeptics. Furthermore, this was only one of the amazing accomplishments of her illustrious military and technical carreer, which she continued in various forms until her death in 1992, at the age of 85. Source:

OK, you can have a technical career, but you won't be truly elite if you haven't learned to code by puberty!

You can't have a technical career unless you have hacker socialisation!

You can't have a technical career unless you've studied computer science in college and/or graduate school!

You can't have a technical career if you've only done technical work in school!

  • "no one who hasn't coded for fun is worthy of a technical job"

The best people in technical careers are those who perform the most "love" or "passion" for their work

  • (in a specific way that's intertwined with acceptable masculinity)

Being productive in a technical job means working long hours and/or staying up all night

Most of the useful work in technical fields is done by a tiny percentage of engineers (so-called "1% engineers")

Software companies are meritocracies, so anybody with technical skill can get ahead

Being a good engineer is almost entirely about mathematical and/or logical reasoning, and so-called "soft" skills are irrelevant

People in technical careers just don't have good social skills, and their colleagues (technical or non-technical) have to tolerate that

  • Relatedly: having poor social skills is somehow necessary to have good technical skills; having good social skills means your technical skills are questionable.
  • Relatedly: myths about tech and people on the autism spectrum:
    • Being on the autism spectrum is an advantage in a tech career (this is obviously false when it comes to women and POC on the autism spectrum, and likely false in general)
    • You *have* to be on the autism spectrum to be in tech
    • Being rude and/or insensitive means someone is on the autism spectrum, or even: Men in tech can't learn to be respect others, because they're all on the autism spectrum (unacceptable stereotyping of people on the spectrum as well as rationalization for neurotypical people's choices to harm others)

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