Brogrammers "rage at gym to attract chicks, scare dicks!" and work "while receiving oral sex"

In Mother Jones, an article exploring some of the sexist excesses of Silicon Valley's male-dominant programmer culture. None of this is news to those of us (and by us, I mean women) who've worked there—but the article contains some hilarious/horrible frat-boy anecdotes. And, no, not all male programmers behave like this, yada yada yada. (via @clarajeffery)


  1. “Brogrammer”? Really? Sounds more like a coder into Pinkie Pie and Rainbow Dash than what they’re describing.

      1. Fair enough: I hear rumors of this company or that company, but neither myself nor anyone I know seem to have seen it.

        I guess my sense is that behind all these stories is a desperate desire on the part of the journalists to tsk tsk disapprovingly at all those naughty (yet so interesting) boys…and to not have to talk about geek culture anymore (which they truly loathe).

  2. I have had old-timer co-workers tell me the defense industry was like this 30 or 40 years ago, too (with slightly different sins as appropriate for the era). That has changed. Still 95% male, but this kind of insensitivity would never make it through the bureaucracy to see the light of day (and if it did, there would be firings, as there was just a couple years ago when a worker brought an escort as his guest to the company party. Obviously, not a very discrete one, because how could anyone know? ). 

    1.  I don’t mean the industry was literally like that. Like others here I think this brogrammer thing is a fake trend. I mean the general pattern of behavior and some of the examples of tone-deaf humor and language.

  3. if this is true, might it be because of economic instability? if one is afraid of losing one’s job (perhaps being dimly aware of similarities between today and the fate of the previous dot-com boom) and has even a moderate doubt of his actual abilities, it seems natural to shift to relying on boastful camaraderie like this as a hedge.

  4. As a founder of a tech startup in San Francisco, I go out of my way to avoid hiring these types of people, but to be honest they are few and far between. The talented engineers I hire might have an ego on them or have other personality problems, but I’ve only seen an extremely small number of “brogrammers” or fratboy “bros” ever walk in the door.

      1. May I ask where they work? I’d like to avoid ever hiring their engineers.

        I’ve been told (though I don’t know if this is true), that Facebook has a particular problem with this culture.

      2. Well, I work in the IT industry as a programmer and I’m a woman. No, I have never met any programmer that would fit the “brogrammer” or even come close to being like a fratboy.

        I’m sure there are some, I just watched a documentary about a now-belly-up startup from my country that seemed to have some of that attitude… but I have personally not run into one and I doubt the companies I’ve worked for would tolerate anything like that. I really don’t think it’s a common thing.

        I do agree on the ego… but I think that kind of comes with the trade. :)

        1. To clarify, I meant the general behavior, as opposed to people claiming this newfangled title of “brogrammer”.

  5. It’s just another symptom of the the appropriation of geek culture by the mainstream. Jocks and frat douchebags want to be programmers now.

  6. The “coding while receiving oral sex” thing reminds me of that horrible Hugh Jackman movie “Swordfish” (another cultural product apparently conceived by emotionally stunted 13-year-old boys with unlimited resources).

  7. Wait wait wait… half these things are taken from answers to the question “how to be a brogrammer” on quora, a site that anyone can log in to answer, and then are being treated as fact??

    From your headline, Brogrammers work “while receiving oral sex.” This is apparently just from one of the random answers on quora that said they “can work well under the tightest deadlines, or while receiving oral sex.”

    Um, isn’t this just an obvious joke about the dumb movie Swordfish?

  8. Yeah. I think as a phenomenon, “brogrammers” aren’t really… you know… real. Sexism, misogyny, and plain, stupid, dunderhead-ness are rampant in the IT world, though. Especially in the entrepreneurial and start-up corners.

    I know a young woman who developed games. She went to start her own company and got shot down by every investor. Despite having actual code and graphics ready (while meanwhile young men with vaporware and attitude would land it no problem). She ended up teaming up with a guy, changed the name of her company and got funded within the month.

    I know that’s anecdotal, and I suppose it could have all just been due to time or several other factors. But… I’ll be honest… I kind of doubt it. I’ve seen how guys (especially young guys) act about this stuff. It’s almost never an intentional thing. It really isn’t. But what it is, is a complete and utter unawareness of how their words or action can effect those who don’t have the same advantages as them. Put simply, a lot of these guys are seriously self-centered and egotistical.

    So, even though I don’t think the “brogrammers” caricatured in the Quora Q&A actually exist in any significant numbers, I think the term “brogrammers” to refer to these guys who can’t see outside of their own bubble is perfect. I mean… it’s that or “idiot douche bags.”

    But remember kids… There is no “pro” in “brogrammer.”

    1. The VC world is 100% “bro”: no questions about that. “Can cut million dollar checks while receiving oral sex” is basically a prerequisite to employment.

  9. Well if you take people with a few compulsive personality traits (ie programmers) and put them under a lot of pressure, things will get weird. 

    The other side of this is that the bad job market allows assholes to single out the productive workers while watching each others backs, compared to a hot job market where shennanigans get nipped in the bud.  Now the rumor mongers are elevated to head executioner, and they will have a posse of jackass buddies.

  10. I salute the use of “yada yada yada” to dismiss the fact that not every programmer is an arrogant, misogynistic twat.  Don’t get me wrong, I do know that not all chicks enjoy complaining about pointless stuff, yada yada yada.

      1. If you can get a bro to reach this realisation while hooked up to a generator, the resulting annihilation can power a city block for a week.

  11. If only I had known getting head was part of learning to program I might have focused on it more.  Why do people not tell me these things?!

  12.  An article based on a Quora post? Really?
    That’s like using my neighbor’s hyperactive five year old as a source.

    Breaking news: Puppies riding reindeer sighted downtown! Also, and, and, and, um, ice cream!

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