When our sister company The InclusIQ Institute moved to their office at CodeBase, a tech hub in Edinburgh, they noticed a paucity of women in the halls. According to a recent article ‘Technology’s Man Problem’ in the New York Times there’s been a drop of 35% since 1985 in the number of women graduates in computer science. Women hold only one quarter of all tech jobs in the UK – a worrying statistic in an industry poised for explosive growth. We are curious: How can the tech culture change to be more female-friendly?
Some advocate ‘women only’ coding camps and training courses as the way forward. All-female courses such as those offered at Hackbright Academy, CodeFirst:Girls, Girl Develop It, Girls who code and Black girls code host coding workshops aimed at turning women into “awesome programmers”. It’s a case of separate but equal. It’s worked for many single sex schools, but are single sex programmes the answer when these women will be in a minority once they enter the work world?
Others think focusing on the positive side to the industry will attract more women. Numerous independent media platforms allow women to share their code programming and experiences in technology, examples being ‘Passion Projects’, and ’Model View Culture’. Sara Chipps, chief technology developer at Flatiron School, a coding faculty, said: “I’ve been doing this 10 years, and myself and everyone I’ve spoken to who’s a female developer has had an amazing experience in the developer community.” Given the prevalence of office ‘bro’mances’ in many tech start-ups, focusing on positive seems a stretch when there is so much misogyny.
The truth is the current talent pool in the UK can’t match the growing requirements for programmers. It’s estimated the demand for computing jobs will rise to 1.2 million by 2022 and there are insufficient graduates to match these vacancies. We need male and female programmers to create innovative workplaces of the future.