Women Developers Stuck In Junior-Level Roles: Report

by CXOtoday News Desk    Mar 08, 2018

women tech

Despite the vast number of initiatives to bring gender equality to the software development world, there’s still a long way to go. Sadly, women are far more likely to hold junior level positions, regardless of age, according to a new study. Today, 20 percent of women over 35 are still in junior roles — put another way, women over 35 years old are 3.5 times more likely to be in junior roles than their male counterparts.

The HackerRank Women in Tech report, based on a survey of over 14,000 professional software developers, including nearly 2,000 women, shows a clear opportunity for hiring managers to drive change in creating a more equal field. [Read the full report here]

Nonetheless, the gender gap among coders is slowly shrinking according to the report, which states that women are learning to code at an earlier age and choosing more formal computer science and STEM degrees to advance their coding careers according to the study. 

By the time students enroll in Computer Science 101 today, young men and women are more likely to start on equal footing than older generations. More specifically, there was a 20 percentage point gap between men and women over the age of 35 who started coding before 16 years old. Today that gap has shrunk down to just seven percentage points.

Additionally, women under the age of 25 today are 33 percent more likely to study computer science compared with women born before 1983. In fact, today, women represent the highest number of new CS grads and junior developers (53 percent) entering the workforce.

On average, women report they most commonly know Java (69 percent), JavaScript (63 percent), C (61 percent), C++ (53 percent), and Python (45 percent). Across front-end and back-end, women are developing expertise in the top programming languages that employers need. They are also working in the same industries as men, which are predominantly technology and finance (53.2 percent and 10.7 percent, respectively).


“Managers have a clear-cut opportunity to drive change for future generations of developers,” says Gayle Laakmann McDowell, founder and CEO of CareerCup. “It starts with raising awareness around the unconscious biases that impact hiring decisions. But it’s also about creating workplaces and implementing policies that are inclusive and give women clear pathways to grow in their careers and become leaders.”