Summer of Discovery
By Michael Hedgpeth · September 7, 2016
Summer of Discovery

I’ve been hiding out a bit this summer, but hopefully you trust me enough to know that I’ve been up to a lot. Earlier this year, my wife decided it was time to go back to work after a decade out of the full time workforce. She considered a lot of different options, but after a few initial experiments we quickly realized that she would be a great fit in technology.

I’ve been telling her almost since I met her how great technology is and how much we need people like her in it. She would always tell me the reasons why she didn’t want to do it, like that she wanted to be more creative or that it sounded boring. It always frustrated me because I knew from my own experience that working in technology is one of the most creative and interesting jobs I know of.

So Annie decided to give it a shot after a great dinner with some colleagues of mine at NCR and some good friends at Chef. From there, I devoted almost all of my free time to helping her map out the path to take from her art/film background to a full-time technology job. That path included taking advantage of her strengths: blogging, networking, connecting with people, and getting obsessed about solving problems.

It also included a lot of growing pains. Some of our experiments failed. In June, we were convinced that it would be great to learn Ruby enough to write custom InSpec resources, but that proved to be too difficult to accomplish at the time. We had to keep thinking about what was working, what wasn’t, and adjusting.

I have found the process to be incredibly fascinating and rewarding. For a long time, I have been frustrated by the lack of diversity in technology. How are we going to get past this? Are we going to wait twenty to thirty years for higher education to figure it out?

I believe there is a huge transfer of wealth and power to those who can harness technology. Are we going to allow that transfer to unequally go to white men who for their whole lives were always told that they naturally fit into technology? Or are we going to break through the misconceptions and outright falsehoods that permeate our industry and help people take advantage of this fantastically liberating industry?

Annie is on her way to a great career; I can already see it. Stay tuned on her blog with what her next gig will be…you’ll hear about it soon. Going forward, I want to write a few posts about some things I’ve learned over the years and with Annie on how to work with people who are new to technology.

I’ve realized through this experience that it isn’t intuitive for people. If we’re really going to have positive change in including everyone in this fantastic shift in our economy, we are going to have to get way better at helping new people quickly become productive and valuable.