Computer Engineer Barbie?

Computer Science Teacher
Computer Science Teacher - Thoughts and Information from Alfred Thompson

Computer Engineer Barbie?

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Those wonderful people who bring you Barbie (remember the version that said “Math is hard?”) are collecting votes for Barbie's next career. There are five options up for the vote: Environmentalist, Surgeon, Architect, News Anchor, and Computer Engineer. My first reaction was “Great!” We can get little girls to think about becoming computer engineers at an early age. My second reaction was “how do the Barbie think a female computer engineer looks?” OK now there are some very attractive computer engineers out there. Did you see the picture of Google’s Marissa Mayer in Glamour Magazine? She is a serious technical professional and better looking than Barbie. But she is not what most people think of when they think of a woman computer engineer. So what will Computer Engineer Barbie look like?

My first reaction is – glasses, pocket protector, jeans, t-shirt. The pocket protector idea really worries me. Or will it be some sort of business semi-casual? Copy Marissa’s outfit from Glamour? Come on she doesn’t dress like that on a regular basis. Though I did she that she Twittered that she does usually wear heels. That’s good because from what I can tell Barbie doesn’t do flats. What do you think they will do for Computer Engineer Barbie’s wardrobe? What should they do?

No doubt they will outfit her with gadgets. I wonder if various smart phone makers will vie to have a miniature version of their phone for Barbie to carry? A netbook? For sure. MP3 player? Probably. An ebook reader? Maybe.  I hope they set up her office with a triple screen LCD setup at least. And the printer should be cool looking. I wonder if they will have a miniature wi-fi access point? Maybe I’m getting silly now. Will she have a new printer? Hey, maybe she can have a miniature Microsoft Surface device. OK maybe not. What accessories does Computer Engineer Barbie need?

We need some opinions here from real women who are really computer engineers. What would a computer engineer Barbie look like that makes the field look real and good to little girls? Let’s not leave this work to the toy company or we could see the growth in women in the field set back years!

  • For that matter, what does Architect Barbie look like? I'm a little scared of what the marketroids might come up with for Environmentalist Barbie.

    I'm thinking rather than jeans and t-shirt, they might go with a labcoat for Computer Engineer Barbie. Or maybe a clean-room suit. :-)

  • a coffee mug. probably lots of coffee cups by the table.

    noise cancellation head phones.

    definitely a T-shirt and jeans and shoes. The T-shirt would be with a geeky line or say a logo of company/IEEE or something like that.

  • Jeans, a Thinkgeek t-shirt, sneakers, a corporate/freebie hoodie, hair in a ponytail, glasses probably. Wait, I just described myself. Still....

  • I think Jen and I might be twins! ;-)  Definitely she'll need the hoodie, jeans and sneakers.  I'd give her a Threadless tee and a cup of Starbucks.

  • She should wear a t-shirt, blue jeans, and flat shoes (work boots or sneakers). She may end up under the floor of a data center after all. She should be pretty, though, with a nice figure, and no pocket protector, please. She should have lots of gadgets. She should not only have a wi-fi access point with her, she should be one! Well, that could be dangerous in the real world, though.

  • Ditto the jeans. Either a t-shirt or a polo shirt. A laptop case, either messenger bag style or backpack style. A smartphone clipped somewhere. She definitely needs flat shoes, though - She can't very well heft desktops and servers around in heels without injuring herself. In fact, if they can just make her look like a female version of the "Mac" guy from the Mac and PC ads, that would be just fine with me.

  • You might want to connect with The Extraordinary Women Engineers Project (wrote about them here, with links:

    http://kellymanjulakoza.com/kmk/2009/11/15/engineering-a-better-fit-for-girls/ )

    as they actively work to encourage girls to explore and go into engineering. Would be interesting to see what the girls themselves say - they might not like the idea, or they might come up with some interesting options.

  • I'm definitely thinking jeans and t-shirt...lab coat...meh it's cool, but Barbie's worn a lot of them already (veterinarian barbie, doctor barbie, etc.).  I would love her to have laptop, flash drive necklace, and maybe...just maybe...she could have an arduino-controlled LED jacket...please?

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