Katy Dickinson has been around the tech-block. Hired by Eric Schmidt at Sun Microsystems, she literally wrote the book on the software development lifecycle that Sun used for release of almost 10,000 releases. She is a technologist, entrepreneur, mentor, and writer.
In our conversation Katy talks about her work as a technologist on creating processes:
A process has to not assume that you have world-class people working on it. A process assumes that that not everybody — while they are good-intentioned and competent — [is] perfect. You have to have a system that allows for lack of perfection but can work if you have the best that there is.
and the futility of only having excellent coders:
A good coder is a wonderful thing to have but you have to create something that the customer wants and feels comfortable with. Good coding and user experience are sometimes at odds.
But we spend the most of our conversation talking about mentoring programs that deliver high return-on-investment, and the intersection of religion and technology.
On the importance of example and networking provided by the Grace Hopper Celebration:
While they may be the only women in the room – which has certainly been my experience in 30+ years in the Silicon Valley – there are a lot of rooms.
- The Grace Hopper Celebration: Largest Gathering of Women Technologists in the World
- The Incredible Shrinking Pipeline by Tracy Camp, which analyzes trends in women in technology
- Katy’s Blog
- Mentoring Standard, which has helped designed mentoring programs for the US State Department and includes helpful material to get started, including 9 Questions Before Starting a Mentoring Program
- Unlocking the Clubhouse: Women in Computing by Jane Margolis and Allan Fisher