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Re: [ljc] Girl/women/lady programmers

From: Trisha
Sent on: Wednesday, November 16, 2011 4:22 PM
Hi Kev,

The info is for a panel I'm sitting on at Devoxx tomorrow afternoon.
Ideally I would want very specific stats like percentage of Java
programmers who are women, working in industry.  However there is no
central place to get that information as, unlike accountants and
architects, Java developers don't have to be registered/certified­.

However, if I have a fair amount of anecdotal evidence (and be clear
it is anecdotal), it gives a feel for theindustry.  For example, 14%
of applicants to computer science degrees in the UK are women.  How
many of those go on to be full time programmers?  How many of the men?
 It's impossible to get the answers to those questions sadly, but we
can put a finger in the air and say at uni it's 10-20% doing Comp
Sci-type degrees, and (from the anecdotes so far) looks like <10% in
industry.  However, you are correct, it varies from company to company
which is interesting in its own right.

Hopefully the panel will be recorded so I can post it out to you guys later.


On 16 November[masked]:35,­ Kevin <[address removed]> wrote:
> 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!
> Kev
> 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
>> me?
>> 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.
>> Thanks,
>> Trisha
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