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Author Topic: The Programming Gender Gap  (Read 2594 times)


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The Programming Gender Gap
« on: January 17, 2007, 06:46 AM »
Some differences between vocational and life experience differences of males and females.

Thought-provoking article over at Venture Beat today. The author, Joyce Park, points out that there is a substantial gender gap in the computer engineering field since few girls seem inclined to tinker with computers on their own time. Her primary assertions are as follows:

Almost all of the male engineers I know report childhood experience “playing” with computers. I also had this experience, as did most of the female engineers I know; but non-engineer women seem far less likely to have done so.
If Programming 101 classes started with social software rather than math problems and competitive games, more women might discover an unexpected interest.
Women seem to be disproportionately attracted to careers where they feel they can help others — for instance medicine (which of course requires rigorous, highly competitive scientific training) — rather than careers that promise high pay or entrepreneurial possibility.
Male self-taught engineers often begin working with computers as a hobby — for instance, legions of Open Source devotees (including myself) began this way. Women seem less inclined to learn programming just for fun, and more likely to see it as simply a job (to be fair, many self-taught male engineers also seem to primarily see their work as a job rather than a personal passion).

Kenneth P. Reeder, Ph.D.
Clinical Psychologist
Jacksonville, North Carolina  28546
« Last Edit: January 17, 2007, 06:57 AM by mouser »