March is Women’s History Month, and what better way to recognize it than sharing recent data that shows the gender gap between men and women learning to code is shrinking. The data comes from a survey conducted by HackerRank, featuring 14,616 developers, almost 2,000 of which were women.
The survey results show that young women today, considered under the age of 25, are 33% more likely to study computer science compared with women before 1983. More students are starting to learn how to code before turning sixteen. Consequently, students taking computer science 101 courses start out on more equal footing. Before now, there was a 20 percentage point gap between men and women over 35 years old who began coding before they were 16 years old. Now that gap has shrunk to seven percentage points.
Women in STEM work in a diverse range of fields from hardware and security to automotive. The most common industries are technology (53.2%), finance (10.7%), and education (4.7%).
However, women are still more likely to hold junior positions
While this data is extremely encouraging for the future of women in STEM, there is still more work ahead. The survey found that women of all ages are still more likely to hold junior positions than their male counterparts. Over 20% of women over the age of 35 still hold a junior role. This survey defines junior developers as Level 1 software engineers. Senior developers included positions with the title senior, manager, director, VP, or C-level. As HackerRank states:
In other words, women over 35 are 3.5x more likely to be in junior positions than men. Although it’s not clear when these women started their careers, it is interesting that either women are starting their careers relatively later in life or are, generally, stuck in junior positions.
Hiring managers can be part of the solution
There is an opportunity here for hiring managers to be a part of the change. They have the power to create diverse, inclusive workplaces. It’s important to be aware of unconscious biases with hiring decisions, such as racism, ageism, and sexism. However, there are ways to reduce these biases.
Have an open mind and do your research. Acknowledge there is change that needs to be made, and embrace the role you play in driving that change.