Understanding the Career Mobility of Blind and Low Vision Software Professionals


Context: Scholars in the software engineering (SE) research community have investigated career advancement in the software industry. Research topics have included how individual and external factors can impact career mobility of software professionals, and how gender affects career advancement. However, the community has yet to look at career mobility from the lens of accessibility. Specifically, there is a pressing need to illuminate the factors that hinder the career mobility of blind and low vision software professionals (BLVSPs). Objective: This study aims to understand aspects of the workplace that impact career mobility for BLVSPs. Methods: We interviewed 26 BLVSPs with different roles, years of experience, and industry sectors. Thematic analysis was used to identify common factors related to career mobility. Results: We found four factors that impacted the career mobility of BLVSPs: (1) technical challenges, (2) colleagues' perceptions of BLVSPs, (3) BLVSPs' own perceptions on managerial progression, and (4) BLVSPs' investment in accessibility at the workplace. Conclusion: We suggest implications for tool designers, organizations, and researchers towards fostering more accessible workplaces to support the career mobility of BLVSPs.



Yoonha Cha, Victoria Jackson, Isabela Figueira, Stacy Branham, André van der Hoek


CHASE 2024