Women in Tech

When I start talking about diversity in tech there’s a few points I usually like to make. Because I come from both a tech and engineering background there is a lot of overlap with women in Engineering roles and women working in tech. This blog post will compare diversity in tech and engineering.

We nearly had 40% female graduates in Computer Science

Traditional engineering fields such as mechanical engineering have always had low female participation rates at the university level. Where as computer science didn’t have that problem. A common reason why people think women stopped studying computer science was the personal computer came out in the 80’s and was marketed exclusively to boys. This was also around the time when Lego changed it’s marketing towards exclusive “boys toys”. (Lego was struggling financially before this point). This video below compares Lego’s 80’s advertising to current day advertising.

Some engineering fields have more diversity

What draws women to study Environmental and Biomedical engineering over Mechanical Engineering? I’d say it’s a perception thing, as a smart young women entering university, the amount of courses you could study is almost endless. You want to do something that feels like it’s going to benefit society as well as stimulate you intellectually.

Environmental Engineering definitely sounds like it’s going to benefit society more than Petroleum Engineering… Just saying.

Women and international students pass engineering degrees at higher rates

Once women decide to study Engineering they are more likely to see it through to successfully graduate. If women had some sort of innate ability that made them not good at engineering, you’d expect this number to be lower.

Some Muslim countries have better diversity in Engineering

Malaysia boasts about 30 – 40% of women engineering graduates

People tend to associate Muslim countries with oppression of women, however choosing a STEM career is seen as a way for setting yourself up for financial independence in a lot of these countries. There’s a different cultural perception of value for these careers. People in these countries don’t think that maths is a skill you a born with and only boys are good at it. They believe to be good at this skill you need to study hard. There is a blog post on cultural influences here.

Women leave the field more frequently than men

To become an Engineer you have to be a smart cookie, it’s not an easy thing to do. I know this because I tried and failed in my efforts. But once you start working there’s lots of issues that constantly chip away at your sense of satisfaction in work. There’s also tons of non engineering fields out there that value transferable engineering skills, can be just as rewarding on an intellectual level and offer better work life balance.

Research also shows that women are disproportionately likely to move away from the most technical career paths and toward roles that involve technical supervision or management as their careers progress.

We have a women to leadership problem

If we look at a more traditional female job (teaching), 74% of the workforce are women but 49% of the principal’s are male. We naturally promote more men to leadership positions.

Diverse Companies perform better financially

I’ll leave you with this TED talk on how diversity is good your companies bottom dollar.

Conferences Mobile Testing Presenting Technology

DevWorld 2019

I recently attended /Dev/World in Melbourne this week. This is Australia’s only iOS developer conference. Here is my summary of the conference.

Photos from the conference on Twitter under the hashtag #DevWorld


There were a few themes that gleaned from the talks. These were;

  • Swift is the most talked about language in this space
  • People are still using Objective-C
  • Cross platform remains a hot topic (from iOS to mac, React Native and Flutter)
  • Augmented Reality is still a cool toy
  • How to build engaging experiences in your app
  • Game design stories
  • Testing


Here are my highlights:

You can access all of my sketchnotes on google photos here.

My Talks

I presented on swift UI & wearables using my sample poo tracking app as the basis for it. You can watch a similar talk from my twitch channel. You can also access my slide decks here. I also gave a lightning talk on how to do sketch noting. You can read this blog post if you are interested in learning about sketch noting. I also have this blog post on Right To Left bugs which was inspired from my talk if you are interested in reading more.


Eventually the talks will be up on youtube under the AUC_ANZ youtube channel. You can access previous years talks there too.

Design Mobile Testing Software Testing Technology

Right To Left design considerations for mobile apps

We truly live in a global and inter connected society. But have you tested your app using a Right to Left (RTL) language such as Arabic? This blog post is a reflection on some of the design considerations to keep in mind when accomodating this.

Why does this matter?

Arabic is one of the top 5 spoken languages in the world with around 3 hundred million speakers and it is the third most spoken language in Australia. Even if you only release apps for the Australian market someone out there will have Arabic set as their default device language. It’s ok if you haven’t translated your app, but you should check that these people can still use it.

How do I test this?


Enable developer options and select “Force RTL layout direction”. On My Samsung S10 this is what my screen and options look like after enabling this option:


In Xcode you can change the build target language to a Pseudo RTL language to see how your app renders in this way without having to change the language on your device.

Number pads

You don’t actually need to render your key pads in Right To Left, in fact it’s actually more jarring to render numbers in a RTL arrangement because ATM’s and phone pads are left to right in Arabic. Most Arab’s are use to globalised number pads. Samsung has an in-depth article on when RTL should be applied.

When I have RTL rendering set on my android phone, the log in pin screen and phone call functionality is in LTR. However some of my banking apps render their pin pads in RTL.

Common RTL Issues

I was pleasantry surprised to find out how many of my apps weren’t broken when I switched to RTL rendering. Facebook, twitter and email still look very good. Some apps (like my calculator) do not make sense to render RTL and they remain LTR:

Bug One: Overlapping labels

You will have to watch out for when labels overlap like in the domain app here:

Bug Two: Visuals doesn’t match written language

And when your text is rendered RTL but the visual cue is still LTR like in the shade bar for representing countries visitors to my blog in this wordpress statistics view:

Bug Three: Menu’s that animate from the side

In the app I’m helping build, the side menu renders pretty funkily in RTL mode, I can’t show you a screenshot of this behaviour but it’s probably the quirkiest RTL bug I’ve seen. If you find an app with bad side menu behaviour in RTL please share your screenshots with me. I’ve also seen a pin login screen where the icons where flipped but the button presses weren’t.

Bug Four: Icon’s aren’t flipped

Often icon’s have a direction associated with them like the walking person when you get google maps directions. Sometimes it can look a little odd when they aren’t flipped correctly (as if they are walking backwards).

Have you seen these bugs before?

Please let me know your thoughts or experiences in supporting RTL languages. I’d love to hear your stories.