Today in alarming news: A recent survey just found that 92 percent of software developers are men. Based on research, conducted by Stack Overflow, out of 26,000 programmers surveyed, only 5.8 percent were women, according to Fusion. These statistics, sadly, are not entirely surprising.
As a female coder, getting women more involved in STEM and technology roles is a cause near and dear to my heart. There are many times I sit in meetings and look around and realize that I am the only woman in the room. Sometimes I wonder if this is unique to my company or if this is just IT.
I received my answer while recently attending a big tech conference for work. Almost always, every workshop I attended, the female representation was around 20% or less.
Many attribute this underrepresentation to everything from toys or topics geared towards girls early on, to social stigma and gender bias in the workplace. The shocking thing is that the title of “first computer programmer” is credited to a woman, Ada Lovelace.
Personally, I was always interested in coding, but thought it seemed difficult and I didn’t really like math, so decided it wasn’t a good fit. After gaining more exposure to the field and discovering what I wanted from an occupation, I decided to make the transition to IT. It wasn’t easy, but it is one of the best decisions that I have ever made.
In school there was little encouragement for me to take this path and it definitely never showed up on those standardized career tests they make you take. Even when I started announcing that I wanted to switch my career path to technology, I often got a chuckle and a comment to the effect of “hmm you don’t seem to fit that mold”.
I am so incredibly fulfilled in my job and if I had listened to anyone beside myself, I would have missed that opportunity. It’s so important to overcome gender stereotypes and follow your passion. It’s also crucial we even out the scales in the tech industry—to allow more opportunities for women and create a culture of gender equality. That being said, here’s why more women should consider entering the field of tech:
It can be really lucrative.
Need to pay back those student loans? Start in tech. The bureau of labor statistics cite an average salary of $93,350 per year for software developers and an expected 22% growth in available jobs through 2022. As someone involved in the hiring process at my company, I can tell you that we often struggle to find qualified developers, but the opportunities are there.
You can actually make the ideas you’ve dreamed up.
If you have an idea, say for an app, you can build it yourself. There are not many jobs or skill sets that allow you to have an idea and pretty quickly bring it to fruition.