Finding Your Voice in Computing

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September 24, 2020
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here will always be a need for more diverse viewpoints in Computer Science. Computing and IT's reach are increasingly global and interdisciplinary. When our community grows to represent that diversity, we surface untold use cases and solutions out of our blind spots.

Finding communities, mentors, and resources relevant to one's learning needs are fundamental to career success. One of ACM Selects’ goals is to recognize and address those needs so that students and emerging professionals can discover and develop their distinct voice as they build their careers in computing.

This ACM Selects presents a shortlist of stories, organizations, and resources focused on highlighting some of the role models, perspectives, and groups that make up our community. We cannot represent each perspective comprehensively with one shortlist. We intend this to be a starting point for highlighting and sharing resources, with the goal of creating a series of community-relevant content with more care and depth.

Your profession, unique identity, life experiences, skill sets and distinct voice as a computer scientist has value. We kindly encourage sending your feedback and suggestions to for how we can do better. We look forward to your guidance on how we can continue to improve ACM Selects together.

Read more about ACM's commitment to diversity and inclusion.

"Pursue your passions relentlessly using the tools at your disposal, and enjoy the journey and frustrations along the way.”

-- Judith Uchidiuno
PhD in Human-Computer Interaction, Carnegie Mellon University

The Search for My Computer Science

First published in XRDS: Crossroads, The ACM Magazine for Students, Vol. 25, No. 1, Fall 2018.

In "The Search for My Computer Science", Judith Uchidiuno shares her journey as a computer scientist and the lessons she learned along the way. From her determination to do something considered too difficult for Nigerian girls to her reflections on finding personal fulfillment in computing, Judith's story exemplifies how computing as a profession is only defined by how we explore our passions using the knowledge and skills at our disposal.
[Read more]

ACM ByteCast: Kristian Lum

First published in ACM ByteCast.

In this episode of ACM ByteCast, Kristian Lum discusses her career journey at the intersection of data, criminal justice and epidemiology. Kristian is part of the University of Pennsylvania's Computer and Information Science (CIS) department. She was previously the lead statistician for the Human Rights Data Analysis Group where she led their criminal justice in the United States project. Kristian is widely known for her work on algorithmic fairness and predictive policing and is a key organizer of the ACM Conference on Fairness, Transparency (ACM FAccT).

This ACM ByteCast showcases the wide range of experiences, applications and impact one can have as a computer scientist, particularly in areas where computing can have a positive impact in society at large.
[Read more]

Launching a New Feature in Communications

First published in Communications of the ACM, Vol. 63 No. 5, May 2020.

In the CACM's May 2020 Edition, Editor-in-Chief Andrew Chien introduces a new series of one-page articles, with a particular focus on young professionals across varying industries and the varying range of opportunities and career paths available to them. These features are intended to cultivate an expansive view of the possibilities of computing at large, and the opportunities available to pursue these visions.
[Read more]

Adding Art to STEM

First published in Blog@CACM on April 28, 2016.

Perry R. Cook is Professor (Emeritus) of Computer Science, with a joint appointment in Music, at Princeton University. In his Blog@CACM post, Perry reflects on his lifelong dedication towards bridging computer science and art. While specialization is a necessary part of a computer scientist's growth, Perry's journey into STEAM is an example of how interdisciplinary experiences help develop more holistic and creative perspectives that can be applied to computing and beyond.
[Read more]

Hiring from the autism spectrum

First published in The Communications of the ACM, Vol. 63, No. 6, May 2020.

"Hiring from the autism spectrum" discusses the untapped potential people who are on the autistic spectrum have as talented and skilled contributors in the field of computing. Michael Fieldhouse, Dave Kearon and other experts explain how we can be mindful of neurodiverse talent as well as the ways in which the industry can create environments and work programs to cultivate their success.
[Read more]

"[that night] changed my view on talent. We look at so many people’s deficits and not their strengths; what they can’t do versus what they can do.”

-- Michael Fieldhouse
Social Impact Practice Leader at DXC Technology

ACM-W: Celebrating Technology Leaders

First published on August 26, 2020.

ACM-W global leadership launched a new webinar series "Celebrating Technology Leaders". The series will draw from the experiences of seasoned professional women in computing to empower students and early career professionals to make informed career choices in the technology industry. The introductory session of the series hosted the ACM-W global leadership team, Jodi Tims, Reyyan Ayfar, Amelia Cole, and Bushra Anjum whose experiences and insights will frame the discussion of the entire Webinar series, setting the tone and expectations for global audiences in the following months.
[Register to rewatch]

This 11-Year-Old CEO Wants to Teach Kids Everywhere to Code

First published by CNET and presented in ACM Opinion, October 25, 2019.

Samaira Mehta’s journey into computing began at 7 years old when she created CoderBunnyz, a board game that teaches basic coding concepts. Now at 11, she embodies “age is just a number” as the co-founder and CEO of Yes, 1 Billion Kids Can Code where she shares her passion for computing with other children. In this interview Samaira shares how she got started, her interests, challenges and dreams for the future on the road to providing 1 billion children access to coding tools.
[Read more]

Older Adults Learning Computer Programming: Motivations, Frustrations, and Design Opportunities

First published in Blog@CACM on May 15, 2017.

Recognizing the demands and growth of the technology sector, educators have shifted their focus to building computing skills beyond computer literacy. Several initiatives and learning programs have come up in the past few years to support and drive broader participation in this effort.

With a growing population of adults ages 60+ in mind, Philip Guo shares his observations on the missed opportunities and challenges experienced by older adults with current learning initiatives and courses. In "Older Adults Learning Computer Programming: Motivations, Frustrations, and Design Opportunities", he presents some approaches that can be applied when curating computing learning programs, with the goal of countering the challenges experienced by learners ages 60+ and being in alignment with their motivations, contextual and aesthetic preferences.
[Read more]

Increasing the Participation of Individuals with Disabilities in Computing

First published in The Communications of the ACM, Vol. 63, No. 6, May 2020.

In "Increasing the Participation of Individuals with Disabilities in Computing", Richard E. Ladner and Sheryl Burgstahler discuss the need for project activities such as AccessComputing to empower high school, collegiate and graduate students to pursue internships, career opportunities, and networking in computing fields. This article also includes lessons learned from their decade-long effort to increase diversity in computing disciplines.
[Read more]

Community Resources

ACM Chapters

ACM Chapters connect computing professionals worldwide.

ACM fosters growth in the computing community through its more than 180 professional and more than 680 student chapters worldwide. Chapters establish a local presence for ACM in international cities from New York to Beijing, as well as in more remote locations such as Cyprus, Kenya, and Sri Lanka. Regardless of size or location, every ACM chapter offers members a wealth of benefits, including access to critical research and the opportunity to establish a personal networking system in the region.
[Find your chapter]

ACM Diversity & Inclusion

Welcoming all to Computing.

Anyone, from any background, should feel encouraged to participate and contribute to ACM. Differences – in age, race, gender and sexual orientation, nationality, physical ability, thinking style and experience – bring richness to our efforts in providing quality programs and services for the global computing community.

ACM is committed to creating an environment that welcomes new ideas and perspectives, and where hostility or other antisocial behaviors are not tolerated.
[Learn more]


Supporting, celebrating and advocating for Women in Computing.

ACM-W supports, celebrates, and advocates internationally for the full engagement of women in all aspects of the computing field, providing a wide range of programs and services to ACM members and working in the larger community to advance the contributions of technical women.
[Learn more]

The Future of Computing Academy

platform for next-generation computing professionals to participate in the ACM.

The ACM Future of Computing Academy is a platform that enables the next generation of researchers, practitioners, educators, and entrepreneurs to develop a strong and influential voice towards addressing challenging issues facing the computing discipline, and the world at large. The ACM ­FCA aspires to harness collective action to define and launch new ACM initiatives that will carry the world of computing into the future.
[Learn more]


Special Interest Group (SIG) of ACM, addressing technical communities that drive innovation.

ACM SIGACCESS supports the international community of researchers and professionals applying computing and information technologies to empower individuals with disabilities and older adults. The SIG also promotes the professional interests of students and computing personnel with disabilities and strives to educate the public to support careers for people with disabilities. [Learn more]

2020 ACM Richard Tapia Celebration of Diversity in Computing Conference

Virtual Conference was held on September 16-18, 2020. Next conference will be held in 2021.

The ACM‐sponsored Richard Tapia Celebration of Diversity in Computing brings together students, faculty, researchers, and professionals from all backgrounds.  It provides a supportive networking environment for under‐represented groups across a range of computing and information technology fields.
[Learn more]

2020 Virtual Grace Hopper Celebration

Virtual Conference on Sept 26, Sept 29–Oct 3, 2020.

To honor Grace Hopper’s legacy and inspire future generations of women in tech, Dr. Anita Borg and Dr. Telle Whitney founded Grace Hopper Celebration (GHC) in 1994. The flagship event brings the research and career interests of women in computing to the forefront, and highlights the contributions of women to the tech world. co-presents GHC with the Association of Computing Machinery (ACM).
[Learn More]

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