What is it like to be a developer as a woman?

“What is it like to be a developer as a woman?” “Isn’t this a men’s job?” I get these questions a lot when it comes to discussing my job in a conversation. I usually answer these questions with two words: “Good” and “No”, but in my head the answers go way further. To really discover the answers to these questions we have to look a bit deeper into the world of statistics and memories.

The sad statistics

According to August 2022 US statistics women globally take up 47.7% of all workforce, but only hold 26.7% of tech-related jobs. This may seem relatively a good number, but take into consideration that this refers to all kinds of tech-related jobs, not only developer positions. The industry’s leading employers of women are mid-size technology companies.

Why don’t more women decide besides tech-related jobs?

In my point of view it all starts with our childhood. Basically girls socialize differently. For example at a young age boys are more likely to play video games than girls, and a lot of boys become interested in IT because of these games. Next up there comes the school, where there is usually a lack of information. No-one tells girls what opportunities they would have in the tech industry, they do not really know what they can really do in this field. Old-fashioned teachers can be another problem, if a girl decides to try this field, there still are teachers who tell them that “girls cannot be developers”. For example, I had a teacher like this in high school. A lot of girls tend to give up when they face this kind of attitude, but I think they shouldn’t. When I finished my high-level IT course with the best results of the whole class, my teacher told me that “maybe a girl can be a developer too”. He changed his mind and that was my first success in the field which encouraged me to continue on.

Companies’ attitude

Older generations tend to have a more prejudiced attitude towards women in IT fields, and younger generations tend to be more open-minded. This can be why it is still a bit harder to get a job as a woman in this industry, because at most of the companies the decision makers come out of older generations. When you apply to a job as a woman there are companies who do not even take you into consideration after seeing the gender in your CV. But as nowadays younger generations grow up to be company leaders and decision makers this problem will be likely to gradually fade. 

Then why is it great to be a developer as a woman?

Despite all negativity you can experience, why is it still worth for You as a girl to take up IT as a career?

  1. It is cool! I mean really cool! The surprised look you get from people, when you tell them about your job makes it all worth.
  2. In a way it is a creative job! You face several challenges and kinds of problems you have to solve, and for this you do not only need logical thinking but a big dose of creativity too.
  3. It pays well! Money is essential in our lives. Anyone can come with the “money can’t buy happiness” thing, but let’s just be real: you need money for everything in today’s world. Not directly your salary will make you happy, but the things and experiences you will buy from it.
  4. You can achieve a great career with relatively few years spent at school. This does not mean that learning stops when you finish school. But in IT experience is the best teacher, so while working and earning money you also develop your skills and climb on the “rank ladder”.
  5. As women we see problems from a different point of view from men. This way we can come up with different solutions as well. Looking at problems from several perspectives can be a very big plus when it comes to teamwork.
  6. This is a job you can count on, the future is in this industry. In the world of internet and smart devices you can be sure to be able to build a stable career in the IT industry.
  7. IT companies are usually more flexible, which can come handy in several fields of life.

To sum it all up in a few sentences

In my opinion we should draw girls’ attention at an early age to tech-related jobs. This could be the key for more women to join the tech area and enrich the field with their skills. So when someone asks me the question in the future “What is it like to be a developer as a woman?” I will proudly answer that besides all the challenges it is the greatest and coolest thing in the world and I hope I will be able to encourage more young girls to join this field.

1: This paragraph’s statistic data is based on an article: https://explodingtopics.com/blog/women-in-tech

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