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The Origin of Silicon Valley’s Gender Problem

By Jenny Anderson // Quartz // 12:03 PM ET

Robert Kneschke/

Considering the ubiquity of science in our everyday lives, from understanding what we eat, to cloud-based computing, to battling global warming and understanding how life-saving drugs work, it’s not surprising kids want to know more.

According to the latest results of PISA, the Programme for International Student Assessment, a test the OECD gives to 15-year-olds around the world every three years, about 25 percent of boys and 24 percent of girls expect to be working in a science-related occupation when they are 30. That’s up from an average of around 20 percent in 2006. In most places, more kids are considering a career in science than a decade ago.

But the fields that boys and girls expect to be working in are very different.

More boys say they hope to be engineers, scientists, or architects, while more girls hope to work in health. Less than 1 percent of girls who want to pursue a science career say it will be in information technology.

This gap may offer fodder to Silicon Valley, which argues that part of its gender gap problem is that, historically, too few women study information technology compared to men (a point that was rebutted here...

Tech Interns Better Paid Than Most American Workers

By Sarah Kessler // Quartz // December 5, 2016

Efetova Anna/

Interns at tech companies make more money on an annualized basis than workers in the vast majority of occupations, according to a new online survey. A lot more.

The survey, conducted by Jesse Collins, a senior at Purdue University and former Yelp intern, asked interns and new graduates in the computer science community how much they were paid. Collins says he posted the survey in programmer-focused groups on Facebook, Reddit and university listservs, though it was open to anyone. The purpose of the survey, Collins says, is to inform interns as they negotiate their internship offers.

About 300 of the nearly 600 people who responded to the survey said they had received internship offers from big companies like Facebook, Twitter, Yelp and Goldman Sachs for 2017. On average, the internship recipients said they would be paid $6,500 per month, the equivalent of $78,000 per year (the survey is still open, so results may change).

Many also said they would receive more than $1,000 worth of stipends per month for housing and travel or signing bonuses. Internships typically run for a summer, but we’ve annualized the numbers.

If the average intern who responded to Collins’ survey were...

In Silicon Valley, Savvy Founders Are Networking All Around Town by Driving for Uber and Lyft

By Michael J. Coren // Quartz // November 30, 2016

Prathan Chorruangsak/

The first thing Jason Coleman did when he finally decided to start Yarden, the urban gardening business he had dreamt about, was to drive 40 hours per week for Lyft, shuttling passengers between Oakland, Berkley, San Francisco, and Silicon Valley.

The connections just rolled in. Coleman says he met a trade Fair Trade business manager who offered to help with certification, an investor from AngelList, a community manager at FundersClub, a food bank partner (this was after stopping to talk with volunteers handing out fresh fruit to homeless in west Oakland), two software engineers who asked about joining the company, and several prospective customers. I was the second journalist he had talked to about profiling his company. That was the first week.

“My Lyft driving experience has been stellar, and I don’t think I’d be making business progress nearly as quickly without it,” Coleman wrote after our discussion. “I’m not one of those guys who can make a couple phone calls and get funded.”

As more companies crowd into San Francisco and Silicon Valley, and the road from to idea to venture financing gets harder, the startup hustle is getting even more challenging. Unproven newcomers are struggling...

Why Silicon Valley May Warm to Trump

By Ian Bogost // The Atlantic // November 21, 2016

President-elect Donald Trump
President-elect Donald Trump // Evan Vucci/AP

memorable image from Barack Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign showed the future president, reclined on a couch. His chief campaign strategist David Axelrod appears in the foreground, and “Change we can believe in” signs rest casually in the back. In then-Sen. Obama’s left hand, he holds a sheet of paper. In his right, a BlackBerry.

Obama was famously attached to the device. (Back in 2008, the iPhone was a year old, and the BlackBerry was hardly outmoded or uncool.) Just after the election, The New York Times reported recordkeeping requirements might force Obama to relinquish his beloved device. Eventually, a compromise allowed him to “keep his cherished gadget.”

It was an early sign Obama would be the “first high-tech president,” as he has sometimes been called. 47 years old when elected to the office, Obama falls in the space between the Boomers and Gen X, allowing him to chameleon into either group as needed. He was addicted to his handheld like everyone else. Once installed, Obama created the first U.S. chief technology officer, endorsed the modernization of federal government services online, and, of course, became the first social-media president, @POTUS.

In 2016, by contrast, both Hillary Clinton...

New Study Shows How 'Star Trek' Jokes and Geek Culture Make Women Feel Unwelcome in Computer Science

By Sapna Cheryan and Sianna Ziegler // Quartz // October 31, 2016

Willrow Hood/

As a high school sophomore in the 1990s, I took a mandatory computer science class that had a reputation for being difficult. The word among girls was that the only students who did well in the course were the “Dungeons & Dragons boys.”

A very nice teacher taught the class. But he often reinforced this male-oriented image of who could be successful with nerdy "Star Trek" jokes and other pop-culture references more likely to resonate with boys than girls. Unsurprisingly, boys dominated classroom interactions, answered questions confidently and turned in their tests quickly. Many of those boys went onto become computer scientists and engineers—while girls largely turned to fields like social sciences, medicine and business.

The same dynamic persists on a broad scale across the United States. Although women have made great strides in STEM fields like biology, chemistry and math, a large gender gap persists in computer science, as well as engineering and physics. In fact, just 18 percent of undergraduate degrees in the subject go to women today, down from 29 percent back when I was in college.

A recent psychological study I conducted with my colleagues, published this month in the Psychological Bulletin, has a clear message...

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