Maybe this series is a zine #6 (3-1)

This is the seventh? in a weekly series of what was previously called “little listicles”, then “weekly wanderings”, and now I’m just trying out random titles because I dunno!

You can read more about my commitment to these weekly posts here.

3 projects I am working on now

Tech job searching and networking workshop for DataWorks

I am a graduate research assistant for an organization called DataWorks that does data cleaning and annotation for non-profits. From the website, “DataWorks recruits young people from communities historically minoritized in computing and employs them as data wranglers,” and prepares them for future jobs in data work. So far, we have been brainstorming organizing a networking meetup about data and, for November, I’m starting to work on a somewhat more structured curriculum about strategies for finding a tech job when you are at the beginning of your career and don’t have a CS degree.

This work will eventually be a paper…I’m realizing that everything, even if you don’t think of it as a paper, is a hypothetical paper. My advisor was like, “how is the other paper going?” or something, and I was like, “um, what other paper?” and she was like, “that thing with the job searching workshop,” and I was like, “oh, that is a paper?” and she’s like, “everything is a paper”.

Nation Science Foundation (NSF) fellowship application

I applied this last year and didn’t get it, and this year I am proposing to research “Broadening participation in computing through entry-level work”. See the next project for more details on that. Also, I have learned that the NSF funds a lot of research. The great part about it is that you have a lot of freedom once you get the funding, which is different than if you are funded by a company or another foundation. Still, even though their is freedom, the NSF chooses what is funded based on priorities set my the current administration. I kind of (naively) thought of academic research as a thing that operated on priorities of its own, outside of industry and government, but that is, indeed, very naive. As I’ve been writing the fellowship application this time, I am literally looking at the US 2023 budget and trying to align what I write with that. The cool thing though, is that racial equity in technology is part of the budget, at least this time.

CSCW paper

CSCW is a conference that stands for Computer Supported Cooperative Work which generally means research about people cooperating at work and computers are involved in some way. It’s changed a couple of times so far, but in its current and hopefully final shift, this paper will be a review of end-user programming research to see what we know about how people learn end-user programming and how it can be a starting point for careers in computing.

End-user programming is a nebulous term…and my current opinion is that distinguishing end-user programming (and “end-user software engineering”) from just programming or software engineering makes an artificial divide between what is considered authentic and inauthentic computing, keeping people from learning more about computing when they get their start with what is considered in the domain of the “end-user” (yes, this is the “CSS is a programming language” argument, but broader and with different words). This paper is a really ambitious thing to be working on out of the gate I think, esp. since the deadline is this January. But I will try.

1 thing that might be a failure

I was really excited about the digital garden thing, but I haven’t really touched it since I put all the effort into coming up with a wine metaphor…