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  • Welcome back.

  • Now today we have a very critical issue to talk about.

  • It's been on my mind for years, really.

  • And I think a lot of us have been aware of it,

  • but nobody really wants to talk about it.

  • And it is about, how software engineering

  • has changed over the years.

  • It is no longer what it used to be.

  • You know, ever since I was fired from Facebook last year

  • as an ex-Google tech lead, by the way,

  • I had asked myself if I want to reapply

  • to get a job in tech.

  • I asked myself if I want my kid to get into tech as well,

  • if I recommend the profession for my nephews.

  • And the answer to that is not really,

  • because software engineering is just not what it used to be.

  • So let's put it this way.

  • The path to get into a top tier tech company

  • like Google or Facebook

  • usually requires, or it really helps

  • if you get into a very good school,

  • like say, Harvard, Stamford.

  • However, even to get into these schools,

  • a lot of them will reject you simply based on your race,

  • your appearance, even if you're the smartest kid out there.

  • Even if your programming skills are top notch,

  • you could get rejected

  • simply because they've reached their quota

  • for the type of people that you are.

  • Simply because of the way that you are born.

  • And there could be so many political reasons for this.

  • Maybe diversity issues.

  • And they may even be very well reasoned about.

  • But at the end of the day, you could be rejected

  • simply because of the way you were born.

  • So that's the first gatekeeper in this process.

  • And I can tell you that, at least for myself,

  • when I first got into software engineering, into programing,

  • what really drew me into it was that

  • there would be no gate keepers.

  • You see, for me,

  • the reason I got into coding was back in high school.

  • I used to have one of these cool english teachers

  • and he liked to align himself with all the other cool kids.

  • He wanted to be seen as one of the hip teachers,

  • and I wasn't one of these cool kids

  • so we didn't get along very well.

  • And as a result, he gave me poor grades.

  • It didn't really matter how good my english essays were,

  • he would just be mentally biased against me,

  • unconscious bias.

  • And then he would just give me these bias grades,

  • meanwhile he'd be chatting it up

  • with all the other cool kids.

  • So for the nerdy, unpopular kids

  • with pale and crusted skin.

  • Well, we had the few refuges like math, coding, physics

  • because these were areas that were purely objective.

  • Didn't matter how much a teacher hated you,

  • if you got the answer right,

  • you would get a good grade

  • and nobody could take that away from you.

  • It was a pure meritocracy, a battle of skills.

  • And that's why I fell in love with coding.

  • We were outcasts.

  • We wouldn't win many friends necessarily

  • by our appearances or by our charisma.

  • And that's where a lot of hacker

  • and programmer stereotypes may come from.

  • Where you see these people, they're not very attractive.

  • But at the end of the day,

  • they would deliver a beautiful product

  • like a website or an app,

  • or a beautifully engineered system

  • and their work would show for itself.

  • However, these days,

  • programming is just no longer objective.

  • You can be the best programmer in the world,

  • apply to Harvard and still get rejected

  • and that has nothing to do with your perfect SAT scores

  • or how many open source projects you've been building.

  • They simply will reject you on your appearances.

  • It's a perfectly valid reason to reject you,

  • simply based on, say, diversity reasons.

  • You just weren't the right ethnicity or gender.

  • Now that may not necessarily be a complete deal breaker

  • because these days information is largely self-served.

  • College is not the only vendor of information out there.

  • There's so much information and knowledge on the internet.

  • You can go to boot camps

  • or enroll in my course techinterviewpro.com

  • where I'll teach you to land the coding interviews.

  • Check that out, by the way.

  • But the frustrating thing is

  • even after you've obtained the necessary programming skills,

  • there can still be so many other gate keepers further ahead.

  • For example, if you wanna apply to job fairs,

  • go to a company, activities, events.

  • You know, there are so many activities

  • that will explicitly ban you,

  • based simply on the way you were born.

  • For example, builtbygirls.com

  • they will only allow women or non-binary genders

  • into their conferences.

  • And these are job fairs

  • sponsored by large top tier tech companies.

  • Opportunities will exclude you

  • simply based on the way you were born,

  • your ethnicity, your gender.

  • And so to me, tech is no longer about objectivity.

  • It's not a place where you can just say,

  • don't look at me,

  • and let's just take a look at this body of work

  • and judge that work objectively for what it is

  • and let the results stand for itself.

  • Because the problem with tech is

  • it is now evaluated based on equality of outcome.

  • So it's not about equality of opportunity

  • because certain groups will just have more access

  • to private events and functions than other groups.

  • And back when I was working at Facebook and Google,

  • they would say,

  • well, if two candidates interviewed equally well,

  • then they would prioritize the candidate

  • who is more diverse.

  • Which means that you could be rejected

  • simply based on your appearances, the way you were born.

  • And I wanted to be clear here

  • that I am not, by any means, rejecting diversity.

  • I think diversity efforts have been great.

  • And we should, by all means,

  • support as many different types of people

  • to get into tech as possible.

  • I just hope that we can be inclusive

  • and welcoming to everybody,

  • and not get to the point of reverse discrimination

  • where certain groups of people will not feel welcome.

  • For example, at the BUILT BY GIRLS conference,

  • I actually kinda wanted to go there and support the movement

  • to bring more women into tech.

  • But they actually would reject me

  • simply because of my gender.

  • In my opinion, it would be great

  • if these conferences and events

  • would be welcoming to everybody

  • to help support some common cause,

  • whether that be bringing more women into tech,

  • more black people into tech.

  • Or any other efforts for diversity

  • or whatever else that may be.

  • Okay now, for anyone who's been working in tech for a while

  • this should all come as no huge surprise.

  • The fact is being a software engineer

  • has just become way too popular.

  • Everybody wants to be doing it.

  • And it's kind of a shame that for certain classes of people,

  • it can be a totally uphill battle.

  • There will be gate keepers every step of the way

  • whereas in the past, there were no gate keepers.

  • If you wanted to be a programmer

  • nobody would be there to stop you.

  • They would just say, oh, you wanna do that?

  • Feel free, be my guest.

  • That's a nerdy profession.

  • They don't wanna do that.

  • People wanted to be lawyers, actors, accountants,

  • investment bankers, architects.

  • Not so much anymore these days.

  • Everyone's just piling in on the software engineering game.

  • So the way I see it,

  • it is an uphill climb all the way through.

  • And if you were to ask me, would I recommend this profession

  • to my kids or my nephew.

  • I would say, not really

  • because it is so difficult it is just uphill.

  • And why do you wanna go uphill,

  • find some path where you can go downhill

  • where you don't have to struggle

  • every single step of the way

  • where every time somebody is trying to deny you,

  • based on the way you were born.

  • Maybe you just weren't born for this type of career.

  • And what I find particularly destructive about this is that

  • a lot of these issues you cannot even talk about

  • on social media like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn,

  • because a lot of these companies

  • happen to also be the same gatekeepers.

  • So they're not going to necessarily support your rhetoric.

  • They could even limit your virality censor

  • you burn your account

  • or demonetize your channel.

  • If you happen to be supporting some political stance

  • that they don't really support as much.

  • You know, we do have freedom of speech in America,

  • but we don't have freedom of distribution of speech.

  • It still happens that speech is pretty much controlled

  • by the these tech companies.

  • And there's no distribution platform

  • for conversation of any other idealism.

  • The fact is social media networks and platforms.

  • They are not neutral.

  • They don't need to be neutral.

  • They're privately owned entities.

  • And there's a monopoly on conversation these days,

  • the way we talk our idealism, our beliefs

  • are limited to the type of information

  • that we are able to see.

  • I believe that one day in the future,

  • we may look back on this age

  • and view as the age of censorship

  • because there's so much that we cannot talk about.

  • If the topic is controversial,

  • or potentially not advertiser friendly

  • distribution of that content will be limited.

  • In fact, you may have seen the men's rights movement

  • has been censored and demonetized on YouTube and Reddit.

  • Zero Hedge which is a day trader blog,

  • they were banned on Twitter.

  • And you hear about the coronavirus also been censored

  • and while some of the censorship may be valid,

  • it seems to give tech companies incredible and unfair power

  • to allow them to decide what society is

  • and is not allowed to discuss.

  • So what do I recommend.

  • Well, I would recommend in this day and age

  • to look into self publishing,

  • because all of these gatekeepers, they may exist,

  • but you can still bypass all of them.

  • Because if you put out good work,

  • if you come up with the best website, project,

  • framework or system, then the work will speak for itself.

  • And overall, I would say that

  • software engineering programming is still probably

  • one of the only games in town.

  • Is still a great field to get into.

  • But you wanna be careful about

  • all these gatekeepers along the path.

  • And look for ways that you can do self publishing,

  • get into entrepreneurship, personal branding,

  • learn about marketing, such that

  • you don't have to go through all of these other people

  • just learned about what it takes to create a project,

  • an app or a website and launch it on your own.

  • Nobody is going to be able to stop you

  • from doing any of this stuff.

  • If you wanna write a book, for example,

  • then you can learn to do self publishing on Amazon