It’s a painful truth in the open source community that diversity in our ranks is worse than diversity in tech overall. A study by tech talent site TopTal analyzed active GitHub profiles and found that just 6% of the randomly sampled profiles and 5.4% of profiles with over 10 contributions belonged to women. With GitHub profiles a growing part of the hiring process and acknowledging that a diverse community is an effective and innovative one, it is vital we start to move the needle on women in open source.
As Intuit’s Open Source Technical Lead, it’s important to me to effect change locally and help Intuit increase the overall average. Having diverse project maintainers and contributors — at Intuit and more widely — comes into play every day in my role. In fact, my team and I have a goal to increase Intuit women’s open source contributions by 30%. We work to encourage open source involvement in the Intuit engineering community by delivering hands-on workshops, webinars and talks that teach engineers about Open Source and by promoting participation in events like Hacktoberfest. Tune in to check out our webinar for International Women in Engineering Day, “Open Source: The Future is Female”.
While women are doing awesome things in open source, finding them can be challenging. I recently started a ‘Awesome List’ of amazing women creators, maintainers and contributors here: https://github.com/roxiomontes/Women-in-OpenSource (if you know of any , please add their names). The project was inspired by two situations where I struggled to find women creators and maintainers. In the first, I was compiling a list of Open Source projects that Intuit could consider for sponsorship. I wanted to fund a diverse portfolio, and struggled to find women-led projects. In the second, I was acting in my role as co-chair for this year’s Grace Hopper Celebration Open Source Day (OSD), looking for projects that would be fun and interesting for attendees to contribute to. Again, I wanted to find diverse and women-led projects. I spent a good (crazy) amount of time Googling and trying to find sites, articles, posts, anything that could give me names, but it was REALLY hard to find any up-to-date resources. These challenges inspired me to take two actions: start the directory and write this article 😇
My first additions to the directory were the maintainers I know personally.
I am very proud to share that at Intuit, not only do we have women contributing to open source, we also have a number of women creating and maintaining amazing open source projects.
It has been so energizing to see that our initiatives to promote Open Source and our focus on diversity have delivered such amazing results. In this spirit, we’re sharing stories of six female creators and maintainers from the Intuit community:
Katie Levy, the first woman to solo open source a project at Intuit, is a Software Engineer working on the TurboTax backend services and platform. Katie is passionate about encouraging a positive work learning culture for engineers to do the best work of their lives and believes open source can help do that. Whether it is Android development, server-side development, functional programming, or developing full web applications in Kotlin, she has the fierce dedication to always be learning and improving her skills as an engineer and employee.
Katie’s project, Truffle Shuffle is an Android UI component card gallery library with a fun animation. The gallery is easily customizable and is data driven based on the number of objects in an array and the content inside of those objects. The card gallery uses a custom-made Android ViewGroup with custom view attributes to specify the size of the individual cards as a percentage of the ViewGroup’s size. This card gallery is used on TurboTax’s mobile app in the product lineup. Truffle Shuffle is written 100% in Kotlin!
Hila Goel is a full-stack Senior Software Engineer for Intuit’s Information Security R&D organization, responsible for building company-wide, infrastructure security services. Hila joined Intuit in 2015 after completing her B.Sc. in Computer Science and Computational Linguistics from Tel Aviv University. Hila’s favorite programming language is Kotlin, since it has all the benefits of Java but it’s more concise.
DockDockBuild is an open source plugin for IntelliJ that dockerizes your makefile compilation. DockDockBuild allows developers to compile their project on an immutable, uniform environment, without dedicated installations on their machine — just docker.
Kendall Gassner graduated from Cal Poly with a degree in Computer Science in 2017, and currently works as a Front-End Software Engineer. Her favorite programming language is TypeScript, because it improves the documentation and developer experience of front-end projects. For Kendall, being involved in open source is a chance to learn more about and develop expertise in concepts and code she’d otherwise rarely touch in her day-to-day.
Leah Zhao is a Staff Machine Learning Software Engineer focused on building data curation services on Intuit’s Origami Data Curation team. Prior to this role, she was a Machine Learning Engineer in the Intuit AI organization. She worked on a diverse set of machine learning problems, such as ranking, personalization, statistics, that enabled various TurboTax experiences.
Karen Lo is a Senior Software Engineer focused on UX on Intuit’s Origami Data Curation team. Prior to this role, she was a Machine Learning Engineer in Intuit’s AI group. She has worked across the TurboTax, Turbo, and Mint UI experiences, as well as developed a generic anomaly detection solution for quickly identifying anomalies across hundreds of data streams. Karen feels open source is extremely rewarding; you get to know you’re making life a little easier for others.
Crystal Chung is a Full-Stack Software Engineer, focused on building the TurboTax FullService TTLive product. Prior to this team, she worked on the mobile team developing pods and libraries for TurboTax iOS and Android apps. In addition, she also worked on the backend services team handling six core services for TurboTax. She is passionate about learning new languages/technologies and building data-driven customer experiences.
Leah, Karen & Crystal came together to create Metriks, a lightweight Python package of commonly used metrics for evaluating information retrieval models. They found that ranking models, though common across the industry, were difficult to evaluate because most evaluation APIs are tied to large frameworks. Metriks solves the problem of external dependencies by providing a library of APIs built in pure python so data scientists can quickly drop them into their projects and do quick experimentation and analysis, without the extra overhead.
To continue on a journey to increase involvement and visibility, we need to do more to celebrate and highlight women leading the way.If you know of any amazing women creators or maintainers help me find them by adding their names here: https://github.com/roxiomontes/Women-in-OpenSource
Special thanks to Senior Content Designer Julia Falkowski for collaborating with me on writing this article ❤ and to Senior Designer Abigail Hikima for the amazing logos!