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Representation of women in tech is inching forward, but this does not illustrate what it's really like for women in the industry.
Since girls and younger women are often discouraged from or not supported in the computer sciences, women in coding may find themselves fighting burnout and imposter syndrome in their careers.
A 2022 Logitech survey of women in tech discovered that 60% pursued computer science careers because they had support, especially early in their studies and careers.
Coding bootcamps are a great way to nurture early interest in tech and data. They can also provide women with the skills, confidence, and resources to navigate a field that often puts more pressure on them than their male peers.
Women and Coding: Key Findings
Women make up 25% of the computing workforce (Pew Research) despite earning 58% of all undergraduate degrees.
As of 2023, women earned 21% of all computer science bachelor degrees (NGCP)
Men make up nearly 75% of midcareer employment in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). (Economics of Education Review)
60% of the 400 women in tech Logitech surveyed were encouraged by a parent or instructor.
Women students are underrepresented in computer science majors and then again in the post-grad workforce. Imagine how many more women would pursue tech careers if society supported women's computer science journeys.
The Logitech survey shows that support can make a world of difference, which is where coding bootcamps might have a chance to shine.
How Bootcamps Level the Tech Playing Field
Bootcamps can provide women with the support, resources, and mentorship opportunities to enter the tech field. Bootcamps are also a tool to help women who left STEM make their return.
In the U.S., women in coding and other computer science pursuits leave the field at three crucial drop-off points: pre-college STEM readiness, selecting a STEM major, and securing or retaining a post-grad STEM job.
Bootcamps can give pre-college and college students the peer network and mentor support to stick with the major. Bootcamps may also teach female graduates from any major the skills to land — and keep — a tech job.
Because not all STEM jobs require a degree, some bootcamps can help women skip the "STEM major" drop-off point altogether. Bootcamps tend to have less stringent admission policies, which makes STEM education more accessible. Accessible education can lead to a boost in representation for women in data.
As an alternative to college, students complete bootcamps faster than earning a four-year degree — but bootcamps are still a large investment of time and money. When choosing a bootcamp, women should make sure it is verified by the Council on Integrity Results Reporting (CIRR). CIRR membership ensures the bootcamp's claims about its student outcomes are accurate.
Beyond supporting women in data at the initial drop-off points, coding bootcamps can help level the employment playing field, especially by meeting women when they are transitioning to the workforce.
According to a 2023 article by Jamin D. Speer, 41% of the gender gap in STEM is due to only 32% of women holding STEM occupations by age 30. By contrast, 48% of men stay in the field by that age.
Bootcamps can help reduce the drop-off rate at the end of the STEM education pipeline. With a coding bootcamp, women can gain skills in UX/UI, data analytics, web development, and data science in a year or less. They can use bootcamps to build support networks of other women, which can help protect them from the isolation that may cause women to leave tech jobs.
Additional training, networks, and more experience can help women enter the computer science workforce. They allow women to better withstand the pressures of the first year of employment in a field that is often more demanding of them than men employees. And some bootcamps are free, which lowers the barrier to entry.
Coding bootcamps can give women the additional skills and practical resources they need to start in the tech industry and stay there, helping to shrink the gender gap.
Depending on the bootcamp, career coaches and coding cohorts provide the crucial support that can help women launch their tech careers.
Where Coding Bootcamps Can Further Improve the Stats
The gender bias in coding extends to coding education. Because women in coding are currently underrepresented, bootcamp instructors are more likely to be men — even in bootcamps marketed explicitly for women. Men sharing their knowledge is allyship in action, and perhaps one day, there will be more women as bootcamp instructors.
Landing a computer science job is typically faster for those with the luxury of time. General Assembly, a coding bootcamp provider with immersive courses in software engineering, UX, and data science, said 74.4% of their 5,105 students found employment in their fields within six months. The caveat: The job search was full-time.
Job searching full-time is a luxury. Having the schedule flexibility to attend synchronous bootcamps is a luxury. Beyond that, being able to slot your life around a full-time bootcamp or fit a part-time bootcamp into the responsibilities of adulthood is no easy task.
Bootcamps can improve the stats for women in data by offering more asynchronous virtual programs. Self-paced programs are especially beneficial for parents.
Given the difficulty women already face as employees of the tech field, parenthood impacts them at high rates. More program flexibility also benefits women in tech who are switching careers but unable to quit their current role during their bootcamp education.
Why Advance Women in the Bootcamp Space?
The gender bias implicit in the STEM education pipeline is unjust and holds society back. Helping women advance in tech lifts us all. When women bring their lived experiences to the tech sector, society sees innovations in domestic violence reporting and apps that continue to revolutionize everything from heart attack education to dating.
Bootcamps can help women and other marginalized identities translate what they know into tools that help society. Coding bootcamps give students the computer language skills and platform to make a potentially lasting impact.
Resources for Supporting Women in Tech
Frequently Asked Questions About Coding and Women
Is coding a good career for women?
Coding skills can, with enough experience, lead to well-paying jobs. But if your definition of "good" involves flexible hours or decent health benefits, that varies by employer. Toxic gendered behavior is a top reason women in coding leave the field, and you won't know what your coworkers are like until you get there.
Are there a lot of women working in data?
According to the National Girls Collaborative Project (NGCP), 35% of the STEM workforce is women. Pew Research Center lists women as 25% of the computing workforce.
Are coding bootcamps becoming more diverse?
Yes. Some coding bootcamps, like Ada Developers Academy, make it their mission to serve populations that are underrepresented in computer science, including Black, LGBTQ+, and Latino/a professionals.
Do women receive equal pay in tech?
No. Tech jobs can pay well regardless of gender, but the U.S. Census reports that white women earn 82 cents to every dollar men make, Black women earn 60 cents, and Latina women earn 54 cents to that same dollar. Pay is unequal regardless of the industry.
According to a 2021 Hired survey, 63% of the time, women in tech were offered lower salaries than men for the same title at the same company. The more women enter and advance in the tech field, the more these gaps can potentially be overcome.
Fry, Richard et al. (2021). STEM jobs see uneven progress in increasing gender, racial, and ethnic diversity
Miner, Adam S. et al. (2016). Smartphone-based conversational agents and responses to questions about mental health, interpersonal violence, and physical health. PubMed
Ortiz-Martinez, Gabriela et al. (2023). Analysis of the retention of women in higher education STEM programs.
Speer, Jamin D. (2023). Bye bye Ms. American sci: Women and the leaky STEM pipeline. Science Direct
Student outcomes report. (2020). General Assembly
The latest women in tech statistics to know in 2023. (2023). Tech Funnel
The state of girls and women in STEM. (2023). National Girls Collaborative Project
What (and who) is holding women back in tech? (2022) Logitech.com
Last reviewed June 2, 2023.
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