RHOK and Programming Stereotypes

July 6, 2010 at 10:43 am 1 comment

Last month, Ryan and I went up to Chevy Chase, Maryland to attend Random Hacks of Kindness (RHOK). The event gathers volunteer developers and tech-geeks together for a weekend of marathon coding in order to knock out projects for non profits.

I highly recommend the event, particularly if you are like me and you work from home. Working late into the night in a room full of diligent developers was nostalgic. Between all the learning and the concentrated productivity (the type of productivity that proceeded meetings and phone calls), it made me feel “young again”… only with much, much better food. πŸ™‚

I did learn an uncomfortable lesson about myself though. When we sat in the opening session, I looked around the room at my fellow developers and found myself surprised.

“Look, you aren’t the only girl,” Ryan whispered.

But I didn’t expect to be the only female programmer. I have worked with plenty of competent and inspiring women in technical positions. I did, however, expect Ryan and I to be far in the upper percentile of “thinness”.

We weren’t. Actually, most everyone in the room was quite fit.

Had I been living in Elizabeth City too long and I expected everyone to have the extra plumpness that I’m told accompanies rural life? Perhaps most of these programmers are from the city where they walk more regularly? Maybe the type of programmers who want to take care of the community are the same type of people who’d take care of their own bodies as well.

Or most likely…. I am victim to a stereotype. When I look back on my career, most of the people I worked with were in good shape. I wonder how it was that I began to think otherwise.


Regardless of the source, the RHOK event shed light on a stereotype I had in my head– one that wasn’t even based on my own experience and observation.

How inaccurate was my perception? Ryan Somma recently authored The n Types of Programmers, a collection of software developer stereotypes on his blog. Each type of programmer is accompanied by a little cartoon… and guess what!

Most of those little guys and gals appear pretty thin as well. πŸ™‚

Ryan Somma’s Programmer Stereotypes are Thin!


Entry filed under: RHOK, Software Development.

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1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. geekhiker  |  July 7, 2010 at 2:28 pm

    Aw, man, does that mean I have to keep going to the gym? I always figured I had an “out” because I could just become the stereotypical fat geek…


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