It’s perhaps something one never thinks about. Who are the developers that write our programmes codes and elaborate the software we used today? The StackOverflow 2020 survey points to the diversity profiles of developers across the world. The verdict is that open-source communities and technology firms in general are not diverse enough. The data obtained of developer profiles show that most of them are from a white, male background. However, these trends are catching on to the ones already present in so many other industries.
But why is diversity important in development? Like with everything else, it’s a question of perspective. Diversity in any group allows problems to be solved differently. Some research even suggests increased productivity and better decision-making within projects that have people inclusive of gender, race and socio-economic background. Innovation in technology is more likely to be natural to diverse environments.
IBM’s Open Technology CTO Christopher Ferris says “I predict that in 2021, building off the momentum of this past year’s focus on social inequality and steps made by open source-minded companies and foundations, open source communities will continue to increase the diversity of their communities so that it becomes the rule and not the exception… As open source becomes more mainstream and projects actively work to grow the diversity of their communities, my hope is that that increased diversity of culture, thought, and even discipline will bring unique perspectives and experiences that will further increase the rate and pace of innovation.”
Innovation, resourcefulness, diversity of views and experience aren’t the only benefits to having more varied individuals working on a common project. It’s also important in the endeavour to remove barriers. At Youpal Group, CEO, owner and co-founder, Karl Leahlander, is two steps ahead. His vision to enable a digital infrastructure culture in businesses isn’t only about business or creating jobs. It’s about creating jobs for those with traditionally less access to it. He says: “Youpal dreams big. Our group wants to create 25 million jobs across the world and we’ve already begun. Our group is based out of Stockholm, Sweden one of the world’s hottest spots for innovations. So, we have been at the centre of an environment where some of the most influential innovations have occurred, such as Skype and Spotify… to name but a few in the entrepreneurial scene. With the outstanding business landscape in Stockholm, I believe there will be many more innovations coming from our region over the next couple of years. Also, we are among those who are actively focused on a global market, since we know many regions are now at the ideal stage to take frog-leaps into accessibility for new solutions and, in this sense, digitalisation. Many regions show a great understanding for change since they have this demand and people are open to this – this is where we want to serve and help. Our group may have been created in Sweden, but we employ people in Eurasia, South Asia, Oceania, Africa… and everywhere we can find talent and openness that match our endeavours and ideals. Most creations and inventions that really have had an impact in the last 100 years have had one thing in common: they are all solving real problems. So, what we are doing in these regions is looking at these problems too. We know that with what is going on in the world, healthcare, education and access to employment are at the top together with environment, safety etc. We know that we can solve 3 of those top 10 issues, by enabling the infrastructure and providing digital access to solutions for real people in real situations. Our Yougig platform for professionals in the wider IT field is one of our strategies, for example. But with the diversity of thought that exists within our group since its foundation, even the sky isn’t our limit in finding new, creative solutions!”
Youpal Group joins other leading technology companies in their vision of inclusion. The Linux Foundation announced it was to launch a Software Developer Diversity and Inclusion project last year. This should allow the company to establish best practices to enhance diversity among its employees. The OpenJS community has for its part established Node+JS diversity scholarship to bring in more people from groups that have lesser opportunities and financial means. Over and above this, the Cloud Native Computing Foundation plans on launching the Inclusive Naming Initiative. This endeavour hopes to clear software development of discriminatory or ambiguous language.