Re: [ljc] Girl/women/lady programmers

From: Kevin
Sent on: Wednesday, November 16, 2011 1:11 PM
Hi there,

What are the data for? A study or an article? Or are you just curious? You might want to elaborate a bit here not just to let us help you but also because some might think that info was somehow sensitive.  Just a thought.  You sound like you're up to something interesting but you might want to be a bit more specific.  The three factors you may want to refine in your call for info are: time frame to assess gender demographics, the size of the business unit under consideration and the definition of technical work.

In my own technical group there are currently zero women but the person who first led the group when I came here is a woman.  That would cause the percentage of women to go from 33% to 0% in a little over a year and a half.  So your picture of corporate demographics is going to vary depending on the time frame you're considering.

Although there are currently zero women in my group, the vast majority of people in my unit are women.  As for what the gender balance is within the entire organisation I have no idea, let alone what other technical groups may have women in IT positions.  So the demographics of women in general could vary a lot depending on what size of business unit you consider.  You might want to develop categories that can be consistently applied across both small and large scale organisations. It might help you make more uniform comparisons.

The third point you might want to consider is what actually counts as a techie.  If someone downstairs changes a web page using a bit of HTML code for it, what do you call that?  If that counts as 'technical' or 'programming' then it could alter the percentage figure you're looking for depending on whether that person is a man or a woman.

 What about people who are business analysts... I've often wondered whether they sort of occupy a hazy gray area.  Their main focus is data not code.  But often they acquire skills in crafting queries and macros that could probably be considered programming in some sense. Upstairs we have some stats researchers who don't write applications or do DB admin, but they do write SPSS code -- does that count?  Downstairs we have a woman in another group whose main job is to curate meta data about scientific data we collect. I don't know if she does a lot of programming but she definitely knows a lot about schemas and can  read UML diagrams and ER diagrams.  If the business analyst is taking part in the process of software production, then in a sense someone like her could count as a software developer (rather than maybe programmer).

All of this isn't meant to be pedantic :) it's actually very important if you're going to make your conclusions compelling for other people to read.

But I think the answer as it was five years ago, ten years ago, fifteen years ago or whatever is the same: organisations should probably have more of them on tech teams!


On 16 November[masked]:19, Trisha <[address removed]> wrote:
Hi everyone,

I'm interested in gathering data, anecdotal or "real" stats, on the
percentage of women techies out there - architects, DBAs, developers,
etc.  If you have actual data that you can share, could you send it to

If you don't have anything like that, but can provide me with some
anecdotal info about the number/percentage of women in your
team/company, that would be very handy too.


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