Women Developers in GIS

Blog Post created by csergent08 on Aug 21, 2015

As I start this topic off, I realize that I can not relate to what it is to be a GIS developer as a woman, but I can relate what it is like to deal with barriers to knowledge and goals in life. I have also seen instances where women have been overlooked for opportunities exclusively based on sex. Unfortunately, the people that do it don't have to say that is the reason; there is always something else they could come up with.


First, let me tell you a little bit about myself and why this is important to me. I used to work for the State of Illinois and during that time I was limited to software, support and conferences. Basically I could not go anywhere to grow in knowledge. Once I left the State, eliminating barriers to others in the growth of their professional careers and knowledge sharing became important to me. For this reason I worked hard on getting a DevMeetup to Decatur, Illinois and we had one. I am now working on getting people interested in having a smaller DevSummit in what I call flyover country, so more people have access to this very valuable resource. Now these things are important to me because I remember the guy that did not have access to all of these resources before and that brings me to the topic at hand.


While attending a DevMeetup in San Diego, California, a woman said, of course, no women. Their were a few. But the developers were mainly men. During last years DevSummit while talking a twitter, it was noticed that there was a lack of women. But at this point, my question is why are there so few.


For the women that read this; what barriers do you work through in getting into this field? Have you been well received? What questions am I not asking that you know the answer to that could help myself and others in the field of GIS developer?


I have seen women that I consider successful developers in GIS. One is Kelly Hutchins  and the other is Amy Niessen. Kelly is an engineer for the ArcGIS API for JavaScript at Esri and presents at the Esri User Conference as well as the Esri DevSummit. Amy is a Developer Team Coordinator for the EDN team at Esri. Amy is at the Esri User Conference, Esri DevSummit and Esri DevMeetups. If you are are developer, you will meet her if you are at one of these events as she is very dedicated to the developer community as is her team.


If you are a woman seeking to meet woman professionals in GIS, I encourage to seek either Kelly or Amy out. They are very approachable and I am sure they would answer any questions that you have.


Now for me, I would like to see more women volunteering for presentations at DevMeetups at Esri events. I think it would be an opportunity to encourage other women to do the same.


I realize, my thoughts are from the perspective of a man, but I would like to hear what you have to say. And if you have any tips on professional groups for Women in GIS, please share so anyone reading this post will have access to knowledge resources.


If there are barriers that I or men in general can do, to help eliminate them, I would like to know, because that is exactly what I like to do, is to eliminate barriers so that everyone has an opportunity to succeed equally, with whatever resources I have.


With that, I think the more diversity that  we have in the field of GIS Development, the more issues we can solve together. So, I'm glad you are here.