High-Tech Jobs for the Autistic
The Daily Mail Online has published an interesting AFP article, "Autism a Silicon Valley asset with social quirks" (August 28, 2016), which tells of a company, MindSpark, that employs analysts with autism to test software:
MindSpark, located in the coastal city of Santa Monica near Los Angeles, employs analysts with autism to test software for companies. The firm has been refining its model for the past three years . . . . This week, MindSpark opened to companies around the world . . . . [It] seeks out people on the high-functioning end of the autism spectrum with behaviors that, while at odds with social norms, are advantages in working with computer technology . . . . MindSpark has 27 analysts, five of them full-time employees and the rest paid based on the number of hours they work . . . . [S]oftware testing . . . [is] a learnable skill, especially if people have traits prevalent in the higher functioning end of the autism population: attention to detail, pattern recognition, and a penchant for staying focused on a task.This is such a great idea, I marvel to think nobody thought of it before. I guess the idea requires thinking outside the box, e.g., seeing the autistic as gifted rather than disabled.
You've probably already wondered how Silicon Valley works its way into this article since Santa Monica is pretty far away - think distance from Los Angeles to San Francisco - but if you read the whole article, you'll find the answer in the part about EvoLibri Consulting founder Jan Johnston-Tyler, who locates Silicon Valley jobs that fit the autistic (or if you prefer her term, the "neurodiverse").