Human Skills: Diversity

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This Series: Human Skills

The Earth is a perfect example of the diversity of the universe. Teeming with life, the Earth represents the power and strength of a diverse biosphere, filled with all kinds of life, from single-cell organisms to complex humans that build incredible structures and blast off into space to explore other worlds. Each piece of the biosphere represents a unique role in our world. No single piece is replaceable. All parts are critical.

In many ways, the necessary diversity of lifeforms on our planet is analogous to the importance of diversity within the human race itself. Humans may share many similar characteristics, but our color, religion, sex, gender, identity and a host of other factors make us unique from one another. Still, every single one of us – every single human – is crucial to the world in which we live. 

When I interview developers, I like to investigate how they feel about embracing diversity in thought, practice, and belief. I like to know that the developers I work with are fundamentally curious, interested in the unique perspectives of others. I also look for developers who, when presented with perspectives that are different from their own, say, “Hmm, I didn’t know that.” Curiosity starts with “I don’t know.” The embrace of diverse perspectives occurs when we seek the knowledge we don’t have and specifically listen for the clues we are missing.

When it comes to understanding diverse perspectives, I find that the best way to gain knowledge is to listen. Everyone has a unique lived experience. I have never been and cannot be someone who grew up anywhere other than the United States; listening to someone’s unique lived experience as a child who grew up in Ghana, for example, informs my perspective in a new and fresh way.

There is much made about whether diversity matters, in technology, business, or other fields. I feel strongly that it does. As a curious, inquisitive individual, I feel that I do better work when I consider a broad set of perspectives. Diverse perspectives are not a cudgel against any particular group; instead, they are an opportunity to reconsider our preconceived notions and gain insight into a point of view that would otherwise have been an obscured blind spot for us.

Understanding a diverse viewpoint of experiences and histories starts with a curious mind. It ends with a better understanding of the world around us. The beauty of diversity is all around us. Embracing it is up to us.

Brandon Savage is the author of Mastering Object Oriented PHP and Practical Design Patterns in PHP

Posted on 1/18/2022 at 11:30 am
Categories: Business

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