Need Some Help: Women/Minorities in Tech

I’m wondering if any of you have run across any independent statistics for what defines a minority in the technology industry?

For example, there’s been a lot of press recently about how many large tech companies have relatively few women. OK – I can wrap my head around that. Given that females are around half the population, it seems reasonable to think they’d be about half the workforce, so if the number is considerably less, that’s obviously a gender minority.

But what are the other minorities in terms of tech industry employment? What defines a minority?

[Also – I know there’s a related but distinct problem of equal treatment, but for this particular query, I mainly need to look at workforce population rather than the more complex problems of pay equality, harassment, and so on, even though those are also hugely important.]

It seems like “minority” could easily be something like, “less than 50-ish percent” when you’re talking about gender, but that’s harder for ethnicity. It’s tough to employ 50% Caucasian, 50% Asian, 50% African-descent, and 50% something else, because that’s… well, I suck at math but it seems like more than 100%, if you take my meaning. So at what level is a particular ethnicity not a minority? Is there some agreed-upon list of what ethnicities there are, so I know when I’m looking at a minority or not? I truly don’t know.

Anyway, I’ve been Binging all morning and I haven’t been able to find anything like a Department of Labor report on actual employment percentages, what constitutes a “minority,” and so on – so I’m hoping you folks can point me to something.

Just drop a comment, or tweet me @concentrateddon. Thanks in advance!

Don’t be the “Firsthole.”

I noticed something this week that really struck home. You’ve no doubt noticed how many people’s first reaction to anything is to get really aggressive about it. You see it in stores when you’re shopping, at airports, even driving on the road. And you know it isn’t always the most effective tactic, but perhaps you’ve never know what that behavior is called.

It’s called “Being the Firsthole.”

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Can we Take a Moment and Reflect on Microsoft?

With this week’s announcement of Windows Server Nano, the implicit accompanying announcement of .NET Core CLR (the stripped-down version of the .NET runtime that comes with Nano), the announcement of both Windows Server Containers and Hyper-V Containers, and the accompanying announcement that said containers will be manageable by Docker…

Can we take a moment and reflect on this company called Microsoft?

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What “Nano Server” Means to You

Yesterday, Microsoft announced that Windows Server v.Next will include a “Nano Server” installation option. Nano is described as an incredibly small refactoring of Windows Server – think “Server Core Core” – that has a base OS image size measured in megabytes, and is about 8% the size of a “full” Server install.

So what’s this mean to you?

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IT Ops Career 2015: Where to Point Your Eyes

In my new role at Pluralsight, I’ve been spending a ton of time looking at IT Operations, broadly, as an industry. Part of my job is to figure out where the industry is going, and help get our authors lined up to create effective training in those areas. But I can also share those areas with you… so that you know where you should be looking over the course of 2015.

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Fat Doesn’t Make You Fat

For my regular readers, this article will be a bit off-topic – it’s written for a couple of friends.

Eating fat does not make you fat. Well, not directly. All the food you put into your face must eventually be turned into glucose – sugar, basically. That’s the only fuel your body can burn.

When you eat simple carbohydrates – that is, sugars – your body absorbs the sugar directly in to the bloodstream from your digestive tract. Sugar doesn’t require any digestion to become sugar, although certain types of sugar go through some extra processing before they turn into the kind of sugar your body runs on. This is why sugar is such a quick hit of energy – it gets into the blood fast. A gram of simple carbs turns into 4 calories of energy. (Technically, 4 kilocalories, but in the US we refer to ’em as calories).

Complex carbohydrates, like starches, take longer to break down. Your body uses enzymes in the digestive tract, mainly the mouth (saliva), stomach and small intestine, to break them down into sugars, which are absorbed into the blood through he small intestine. Many complex carbs are accompanied by dietary fibre, which slows down the enzymes’ reaction, thereby slowing the release of sugar into your blood. A gram of carbs gets you 4 calories of energy.

Protein is harder. Most of the digestive work happens in the stomach and small intestine, primarily by hydrochloric acid and pepsinogen, two substances in the stomach. Protein can take a long time to break down, compared to complex carbs, and proteins don’t break down into sugar. Instead, they break down into amino acids. It’s those amino acids that get absorbed into your blood, and your body can use them to repair and strengthen existing proteins – muscles – in your body. This is important, because your body loses a minimum of 250 grams of protein per day, and needs to rebuild that 250 grams. Some of the broken-down protein is actually recycled, though, so it’s not like you need to eat 250 grams a day! Protein is kind of a pain to digest. In fact, although every gram of protein yields 4 calories, it takes about 1 calorie to actually digest the stuff. In terms of energy, protein just isn’t efficient source of energy.

Then there’s fat, which is broken down into sugars, and which yields an amazing 9 calories per gram. But remember: It’s broken down into sugar. Fat doesn’t automatically go to your gut. It doesn’t matter (from a weight perspective) what kind of calories you eat – they all turn into the same energy at the end. And all energy can become fat, if you have too much of it.

Finally, there’s alcohol. This is basically a super-carbohydrate, turning into 7 calories per gram. And, best of all, when you’re burning energy from alcohol, you won’t burn energy from any other source. That means your liver is a lot more likely to turn any other free calories into fat for later use.

So where does all this energy go? Your bloodstream can store about 600 free calories, and your muscles store about 2000. The trick with muscular calories is that they aren’t shared; they can only be used to power the muscle they’re stored in. That’s why a full-body workout can burn so many calories – you’re depleting hundreds of tiny calorie storage units, which then have to be refilled. Building more muscle increases calorie storage, too.

Once your body is “full” of calories, the extra gets turned into fat by your liver. That’s why, if you are fairly sedentary, you shouldn’t eat more than 400-600 calories at once. Think about it: Your muscles are full of energy because you’re not doing anything. Your blood only holds about 400-600 calories, and you only burn about 80 calories an hour. You can easily go 4 hours without eating, just on what’s in your bloodstream. But if you then chow down a 1,200-calorie hamburger, less than half of that will go toward replenishing your blood’s energy supply. The rest is immediately turned into fat. Do that every day, and in a week you’ll have earned a pound of fat.

And it does no good to starve yourself later to “make up for it.” Your body won’t turn to those fat stores unless it’s pretty desperate – it’d much rather eat its own muscle. That’s basically a survival technique, especially in women, whose body chemistry demands more fat be present than is needed in men. Working out correctly – think high-intensity interval training – can force your body into a “survival panic” where it’ll start tapping into those fat stores.

(Apologies for the massive oversimplifications)