I'm keen to offer my perspective here too.
Firstly I'd definitely like to agree that females do indeed make strong programmers. As you may have seen from Anji roughly 1 in 7 placements that we have made have been females. It's very difficult for that to be a meaningful statistic on the subject of men or women making better programmers without knowing the ratios of those that approach us. To give something more meaningful I have reviewed the statistics behind candidates that pass first stage interviews and those that fail them, then cross checked that against the sex of the candidate and it seems very evenly matched - almost exactly the same % of males and females, pass and fail our interviews. Maybe that's sitting on the fence a bit, so just to add that some of the best programmers I have ever placed have been female (but then I have placed some amazing male programmers too).... I think the fence is the best place for me :-)
Malcolm Gladwell (of tipping point fame) covers some very interesting points on how we perceive gender (as well as race, class etc) and the difference it can make in interviews/careers. Though admittedly this isn't focussed around programming, it does have some very original and unique views. For those interested I would recommend Blink (which references gut reactions in interviews and how they can seriously affect your judgement) and Outliers (about the smaller things that can make massive differences to career success).
I personally feel that the tide is turning slightly - at least from my perspective, I definitely see that there seems to be more of an impetus, in London at least to get more female programmers involved. Many of our clients have particularly strong female to male programmer ratios, one of them at just over 25% (as per todays count), well above the industry average. We also have several clients with female CTOs/Dev managers and a great deal more with very senior female programmers. I hope this is a sign of things to come...
On 18 Nov 2011, at 15:55, Trisha wrote:
> Bruno, what Zoe says is also backed up by my observations too.
> Because programming is not seen as a female-friendly environment, the
> women who do enter it do so because a) it's something they love b)
> it's something they're VERY good at and c) they have the determination
> to make it work as a career for them. This applies to many men
> programmers too, but it's much easier for them to fall into it. A
> girl doesn't fall into a career with computers when their friends are
> swooning over Justin Bieber and asking daddy for a pony (OK, I admit,
> I have no idea what "real" 14 year old girls are interested in, but
> when I was at school it certainly wasn't computers).
> There is a gap in pay for IT professionals, although it appears to be
> closing. According to the most recent stats I read
> (http://www.theukr...) a gap of
> 10% is indicated for IT, which is better than some industries but
> still not ideal. This could be because there are definitely fewer
> women higher up the management chain (less than 3% of CTOs are women -
> http://money.cnn.... -
> which is far fewer than the 10-20% women programmers we've been
> talking about), for whatever reason. It's more likely because women
> are traditionally poorer at negotiation than men (Google "women worse
> at negotiation than men", there are lots of examples and many studies
> on the subject), not because they are worth less.
> On 18 November[masked]:02, Zoe Slattery <[address removed]> wrote:
>>> If there is a gap in salaries and promotions between males and
>>> females, it is discrimination only if the females programmers of today
>>> are, on average, just as talented and skilled as the male programmers
>>> of today. I am not sure that is the case, unfortunately. :/ Do you
>>> have any reasons to think it is?
>> Yes, many. Based on 30 years as a programmer and manager of both male and
>> female developers. In fact, if I am forced to generalise I would say that
>> the women are usually better - not because being male or female makes any
>> difference - because the few that get there at the moment are highly
>>> Because if it is not the case, it is not unreasonable to expect that
>>> male programmers earn, on average, more than female programmers.
>>> Bruno Medeiros
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