My inclusive tech manifesto

These are the rules I try to abide to and convey every single day. I hope you do too.

I have the privilege to spend most of my time teaching coding and technology.

The values I try to pass to other people are technical notions at the least, but positive and inclusive teachings first of all.

These are the rules I try to abide to and convey every single day. I hope you do too.

Rule number 0: always be humble

We all have been beginners at some point, and we continue to be beginners every day: technology changes constantly.

The goal when teaching technology and programming languages to beginners is not to inflate your ego by making them appear less smart than you.

Instead, always make them comfortable, as you were re-learning again with them. Always be humble.

Rule number 1: learn to communicate

Technology and programming are not only code. They are first of all empathy and savoir faire. Learn, and teach how to communicate with peers and colleagues.

Rule number 2: technology and education should be accessible to anybody

Nobody should deny access to tech and educational resources. Websites like MDN had a tremendous impact on our careers, and most of us wouldn't have landed jobs without free resources.

Of course, we have to pay bills, and not everything could be released for free. But try to share for free as much as you can: tutorials, videos, free copies of books.

Maybe you'll lose some royalties, but in exchange you'll make an impact on someone less fortunate than you.

Rule number 3: no discrimination based on sex, age, or religion

Nobody should be denied access to technology and education depending on its sex, orientation, age, religion, or skin color. I don't ever want to use the words "race" and "nationality". Those are silly.

As long as you behave decently, you're my friend, regardless of which part of the world you are, and you have the right to learn, study, and thrive in tech.

Rule number 3.1: no sex jokes, or harassment

I was teaching a class one day, and someone was constantly making sex jokes about women. He even repeated (thinking he was fun) the same joke "women are good only for design, not for programming" when a recruiter came in to vet him and others candidates for a potential job.

The worst is when you discover that prominent personalities in the tech community, who created software used by millions of people, have a track record of sex jokes and harassment.

If this is your mental model for how things work in the world, then we can't work together.

Rule number 3.2: write inclusively

Try to use he/him as little as possible when writing tech documentation, or even code examples. Make anybody welcomed, regardless of its gender/orientation. For example, avoid:

const person = {
    name: "Tom"
}

Better:

const person = {
    name: "Juliana"
}

When storytelling a tutorial, or a book, try to use gender-neutral pronouns, and try to use as little examples possible of male characters. For example, avoid:

Imagine Tom, a colleague of yours. He is in charge for ...

Better:

Imagine Leila, she's the project manager in charge for a new distributed system ...

Rule number 4: nobody is dumb

It doesn't matter whether you are a slow learner (like me), or a fast learner. In both cases, you have the right to learn, study, and thrive in tech.

Rule number 5: always encourage people

The worst thing you can do to someone is to discourage and gatekeep them out of programming.

Instead, always encourage people and try to nurture their self-esteem, rather than making them feel stupid.

Rule number 6: everybody should have a second chance

People make mistakes. I'm not talking about code mistakes. I'm talking about serious stuff. There are a lot of stories of people who have been in prison for years, and found redemption through coding.

I don't care what you did in the past, as long as you behave decently now. You're not your past. If you've seen hell, but you decided to improve and be a better person, you have the right to learn, study, and thrive in tech, right now.

Rule number 7: no language shaming

This is how my career started: in 1999 I was making HTML websites for fun. Then came a bit of JavaScript and AJAX. Ten years later in 2009 I was maintaining an ASP website. And if I tell you PHP didn't pay any of my bill I would lie.

In fact, entire generations of developers run and made money, with: PHP, Perl, older versions of Drupal, scrappy PHP websites stitched together with a plaster, and so on.

What I'm trying to say is: no language is better than another. Please, don't practice language shaming.

Valentino Gagliardi

Hi! I’m Valentino! Educator and consultant, I help people learning to code with on-site and remote workshops. Looking for JavaScript and Python training? Let’s get in touch!