Technology will always be the future, and women need to learn to be a part of it.
The technology industry is a man’s world. The idea that programming should be left to the “experts” has statistically left women in the dust, with 70 per cent of the U.S. technology workforce being made up of men.
Even though the majority of undergraduate degrees are earned by women, only 18 per cent of Computer Science degrees are received by female students. There’s clearly a lack of female interest in the fast-growing field.
As a woman with a passion for technology and a dream to work in the industry, I’m here to give you the inside scoop: programming isn’t an expert game.
When I tell people that I can program or that I want to work in technology, they’re almost always surprised, even impressed. Technical skills, such as programming, are seen as challenging to people who’ve never tried, and are generally viewed as a man’s area of expertise because of the industry’s demographics.
I don’t agree with this perception.
Yes, technology and programming can be very complicated. However, technology is and will always be the future. Now more than ever, women need to understand it and not be afraid to dig into its backbone – code.
This idea that coding must be left to the experts needs to stop. Men are dominating the industry for no reason, other than that programming is viewed as a scary skill to master and men are statistically more likely to take chances.
But where does this “scary skill” mentality come from?
The opportunities to learn to program are relatively inaccessible, especially after someone is already in a non-programming career.
At no point in an Ontario education is it required that a student learn the basics of
computer science. A simple solution to motivate individuals of all genders would be making computer science a compulsory credit in high school education. The more people are exposed to it, the less scary and overwhelming it becomes.
Interest in programming will only grow and the gender inequality in technology will then be diminished.
Programming shouldn’t send women running in the opposite direction. Everyone needs the chance to understand, and potentially thrive, in the industry.
It’s 2015, after all.
Kayla is The Journal’s Digital Manager. She’s a fourth-year Computing and Creative Arts major.
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