The fast growing industry of computer science is quickly becoming a highly sought after career goal. However, students studying for a computer science degree and those already in the industry are predominantly males. Google developers and other female technology executives are urging females across the nation to consider a degree in computer engineering information, a fast-paced industry with high paying positions and many opportunities to grow within a company.
According to The New York Times, 37 percent of computer science graduates were women in 1985, but only 22 percent were in 2005. The National Center for Education Statistics cited by the publication said only 18.2 percent of graduates in 2010 were females, even though the industry remains hot.
The underrepresentation of women in the field is highly unfortunate. Although computer science has never been a highly attractive profession, the tides have recently shifted since the onslaught of web-based companies like Facebook, Google and Apple. Now computer science jobs belong to hip, trendy individuals who likely spent their adolescence parked in front of video games and computers.
Computer science is not just programming, though, and society needs to work on marketing the industry as more than that, according to female scientist Margo Seltzer.
“If you ask somebody, ‘What does a computer programmer look like?’ I think almost everyone in the world will give you the same description - it’s a nerdy guy with no social skills and all he ever wants to do is program,” she said in an interview with Txchnologist. “The reality of the situation is very different. But the image that we’ve constructed societally is really pretty dreadful.”
Most major companies and technology conferences are headed by and predominantly men, which is likely to be another setback to women interested in the industry. Female Google execs say reaching out to girls can make them interested from the beginning is imperative.
Seltzer says in her interview with the publication that trends need to start somewhere, and creating a diverse industry is important. Women can bring different opinions and outlooks to the table, which males may overlook, to drive even more success to technology services.