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Seminar: Denae Ford Robinson

Denae Ford

Denae Ford Robinson
Senior Researcher at Microsoft Research and Affiliate Assistant Professor at the University of Washington



Video link


"A Tale of Two Cities: Software Developers in Practice During the COVID-19 Pandemic"

The mass shift to working from home during the COVID-19 pandemic radically changed the way many software development teams collaborate, communicate, and define productivity. Since the early months of the pandemic, we have been collecting data on changes in developer productivity, pivots in strategy to remote onboarding, and recommendations on how to better support work during this time along social and technical axes. In this talk, I will present findings from several empirical studies with over 4,509 responses about the challenges and triumphs software developers have had amidst unconventional work-from-home circumstances and how some developers have taken the pandemic as a call to use their technical abilities to support a broader social good. I will close with open questions about hybrid technical work and how remote work will continue to evolve.

Speaker's Bio

Dr. Denae Ford Robinson is a Senior Researcher at Microsoft Research in the SAINTes group and an Affiliate Assistant Professor in the Human Centered Design and Engineering Department at the University of Washington. Her research lies at the intersection of Human-Computer Interaction and Software Engineering. In her work, she identifies and dismantles cognitive and social barriers by designing mechanisms to support software developer participation in online socio-technical ecosystems. She is best known for her research on just-in-time mentorship as a mode to empower welcoming engagement in collaborative Q&A for online programming communities, including open-source software and work to empower marginalized software developers in online communities.

She received her B.S. and M.S. in Computer Science from North Carolina State University. She also received her Ph.D. in Computer Science and Graduate Minor in Cognitive Science from North Carolina State University. She is also a recipient of the National GEM Consortium Fellowship, National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship, and Microsoft Research Ph.D. Fellowship. Her research publications can be found under her pen name 'Denae Ford'. More information about her latest research can be found on her website:

Speaker's Website

Laura Dabbish