Over the past month, I conducted an online survey obscurely titled Tech Experiences. It was distributed over Twitter, Facebook, and various Slack channels to 70 participants who anonymously answered nineteen questions about themselves and the tech industry.
I sought to understand how different demographics interact with technology fields at the high school, university, and professional levels. Since the gender split between males and females was close to 50/50, I focused my data analysis on comparing the responses of males and females. With a more diverse and populous set of participants, additional analysis based on sexual orientation, race/ethnicity, and, of course, a more fluid gender spectrum could have been performed.
As for the results, let the data speak for itself.
The average age of the female coders surveyed is 21.91 years old, whereas that of the male coders is 20.58 years old. Males, on average, have about one more year of coding experience than females (3.30 years versus 2.68 years, respectively). Many females start coding later than, and therefore may have less technical experience than, their male counterparts.
Of the males and females who have attended hackathons, men have attended an average of 4.28 hackathons, almost two hackathons more than the women’s average of 2.36 hackathons. Hackathons aren’t everyone’s cup of tea, but they provide techies with a one-stop opportunity to seek out mentorship, try their hand at entrepreneurship, network, and, above all, to gain valuable technical skills outside of the classroom.
On a scale from 1 (worst) to 5 (best), the average woman rates her technical expertise in her favorite programming language/skill over a half point lower (3.00/5 average) than the average man (3.68/5 average).
The women that I surveyed are overall less confident about their ability to succeed in the tech industry than men. There is nearly a one point difference in confidence between males (4.32/5 average) and females (3.45/5 average). Perhaps this could be enough to steer women away from the tech industry.
These numerical “gaps” add up to create what we know today as the gender gap. Despite the small population surveyed, the data that I gathered only corroborates the latest article on women in engineering from the Harvard Business Review. Our shared conclusion? The gender gap persists.
I urge all those in the tech industry to seek the whys behind the whats, and commit to retaining women in technology.
To see all of the results from the survey I conducted, click here.