Computer programming degrees have come a long way in the last two decades. The typical image of a geek with thick glasses and a pocket protector hunched over a computer keyboard has faded in the wake of the incredible boom in computer programming careers. Today’s programmers can be successful members of cutting edge teams, independent contractors setting their own hours and executives developing new code and languages that sell for millions of dollars to corporations. There is no longer anything typical about being a programmer, except that males still dominate the field. Over eighty percent of individuals with a computer programmer degree are still men.
It’s a shame that more women haven’t entered the field, but in the last few years this has begun to change. This is a good sign for the industry and for women. The industry can benefit a great deal from the unique perspectives of women, and women with computer programming degrees can have successful, high-paying careers that will take them places.
Why a Woman Should Get A Computer Programming Degree
Most young women don’t initially consider a computer degree when considering an occupation, but this is a mistake. These jobs have several things going for them that make them perfect for many women:
1: Most programming positions are in an office environment. It’s a professional job with few physical demands and, for the most part, regular hours.
2: There is flexibility for women with families. Many of today’s programmers work for themselves as independent contractors, so a woman can work full-time or part-time depending on her family’s needs.
3: The salary for programmers typically begins in the $40,000 range and can reach the six figures.
4: Colleges and universities are actively seeking women with computer programming degrees to add to their staff. This gives women another career option that also offers flexibility.
5: Women who become computer programmers usually excel in this field. One theory is that their tendency toward linguistic skills enables them to write cleaner, simpler code with fewer errors.
6: Social skills combined with computer programming skill translate to a quick move up the corporate ladder; female programmers may have an edge over men when it comes to “playing well with others.”
What’s Responsible for the Upswing?
Why are more women pursuing computer programming degrees after years of being obviously missing? It’s impossible to know, but one reason may be that the mystery surrounding this field has simply faded as the demand for talent has grown. The “old boys” network is no longer so entrenched in any professional area and programming is no exception.
Another theory is that the first generation of computer programmers (primarily men) now have children who are entering college. Many of these male programmers have daughters they may be encouraging. These women are more likely to follow in the footsteps of their parents, and a generation ago there weren’t a lot of role models in the fledgling industry for young girls.
Whatever the reasons, computer experts are happy to note that after a twenty-year reduction in the number of women in the profession, female enrollment in computer programming courses is on the upswing. They hope that more women will pursue computer programming degrees in the coming years.