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Women Outnumber Men For The First Time In Berkeley’s Intro To Computer Science (techcrunch.com)
242 points by uladzislau 1365 days ago | hide | past | web | 168 comments | favorite



This is talking about CS10, not CS61a.

CS10 is a class designed mostly for non majors, who are interested in Computer Science; CS61a is the first required class for the major. I know of a bunch of CS guys with their girlfriends in CS10. A lot of people who are already set on taking CS as their major go directly into CS61a, skipping CS10, and this accounts for a lot of the gender ratio difference in CS10. If you look at a class like CS162, you can see the gender ratio of the people who are actually sticking through the major.

This doesn't mean as much as graduation rates, etc.


That's what I was thinking. I remember CS101 at my school had a decent amount of women, but by the time you reached 3rd year they all had disappeared.


At our school, by the time you reached 2nd year most everyone disappeared, male and female. Fall semester sophomore year was about 25% of fall semester freshmen.


As it turns out, making video games has little to do with playing them.


Haha right. Almost everyone flushed out in CS1.

"I want to make games!" to "This shit is hard, I'm gonna get a business degree."

As it happens when you have projects that take about 4x (or more) the amount of time as your friends majors that takes a toll. People would rather be partying than writing code. Maybe our CS1 was a bit too hard (we've had many discussions with the profs about this and the attrition rate and what to do about it), but everyone who finished freshmen year graduated in our class. It prepared us well, but it was too hard for most.


Yeah I think that seems to be a pretty common scenario. It's pretty unfortunate that there are people who only think of programming in relation to game development rather than the rest of the spectrum.


However, if you both want to make games, and have the stuff to actually make it through a CS degree program, hearing this shit gets a little old.


Back in college, I had a roommate who was a recently-graduated electrical engineer (I, at the time, was a rising sophomore). We had a chat about dating in electrical engineering.

"Angersock," he said," do you know how many women there were in my first year?"

I thought for a second. "I don't know, maybe 20 or 30?".

"About half my class of around 80 or so. Do you know how many I graduated with?"

"Erm, 10 or 15?"

"Try 3. Does the phrase 'hunted to extinction' mean anything to you?"


Not the best metaphor, dude ...


This is the case at my uni. I'm currently a senior and my first intro java class was around 1/5th females. There are now 2-3 in any upper-level class.


A few years back, the optional intro course was CS3 (though I don't think it was meant for non-majors). Has CS10 just replaced CS3, or does CS3 still exist and CS10 is something separate?

EDIT: Never mind, I looked it up, which I should have done in the first place. CS3 is the optional intro CS/programming class ("Intro to Symbolic Programming"), and CS10 is "The Beauty and Joy of Computing", which seems designed for non-majors getting an introduction to "the history, social implications, great principles, and future of computing", with a gentle introduction to programming in a graphical language.

I guess that makes the article substantially less significant/interesting.


CS3 isn't offered anymore. CS10 is the replacement, but it also goes for broader appeal than just being prep for 61a.


It looks CS3 is still in the course catalog (http://general-catalog.berkeley.edu/catalog/gcc_list_crse_re...)

Whoops never mind, I just saw the response to my other comment saying that the course catalog is out of date. Never mind then.


True, except this is an indicator that efforts to increase interest in computer science among young females appears to be making inroads. This should embolden those groups working to introduce computer science to young females.


So it's probably a good sign in general, but not a sign that the major is changing yet.

At my university I would guess that it was about a quarter women. They were evenly distributed amongst the caliber of grads. Of the top 8 or so in my class (smaller program) 2 were women.


Not 2 years ago, it was at least 90% male.

Although towards the end of the term, it trended towards a balance.

-----

On review, the article is NOT about what you'd consider CS1

"Introduction to Symbolic Programming was reborn as Beauty and the Joy of Computing."

This is a CS class in the loosest sense of the word.

It fulfills no prerequisites towards a CS degree.

OTOH I could just be cynical, and this class is just what's needed to get more females into the subsequent CS classes.

At least anecdotally, I know a few people who had no real interest in CS start with this class, but then proceed to take proper CS classes they may otherwise have ignored.


Into to Symbolic Programming hasn't been replaced. http://general-catalog.berkeley.edu/catalog/gcc_list_crse_re...

Compare the descriptions for CS3L (Intro to Symbolic Programming) to CS10. They both still exist and seem very different.


It's in the catalog, but CS3 doesn't show up on schedule.berkeley.edu for last semester or this one.


CS3L hasn't been offered for the last couple of years. The catalog includes classes that haven't been offered for a long time.


Oh...weird


CS10 TA here: I have been involved in the development of this course for almost 4 years and in that time I watched it grow from a small 80 student pilot course to a 220 student CS goliath. In my opinion the growth in popularity of this course is representative of an underwhelming high school CS education. For students without some previous experiences, CS61A as an introduction can be brutally discouraging. This fact spurred the creation of a course designed to give prospective CS majors a first foundation. This is by no means a thin foundation. CS10 has students learning concepts including complex tree recursion, implementation of Map Reduce, Lambda functions, as well as techniques for processing large sets of data and understanding the effects of concurrency. In just one semester a student can go from not knowing what variables and “if” statements are, to building complex projects involving game-tree searches and parallel processing.

CS10 represents an opportunity for those who never considered Computer Science until they reached a university setting. For many the study feels unapproachable, and the inviting environment of CS10 allows anyone with a curiosity to explore their capacity. In the ongoing debate of “should everyone program”, while I am uncertain about the prospect of making CS education a compulsive requirement, I do believe a net should be cast out to catch those who perhaps never realized their interest and potential. CS10 is that net. It is often the beginning of a student’s journey and inspires a life long love.

It’s easy to joke that about CS10 as a CS daycare. A place where the “non-serious” can feel like they are involved in a trendy field of work. But this does not recognize the success of CS10. With a majority of CS10 alums continuing on to CS61A, the demographic of students (including female enrollment rates) will begin to change. This is a new course and it will take time to percolate up to graduation rates, but the student’s in CS61A with a background in CS10 are not only prepared, but often far beyond those who directly jump into CS61A.

CS10 was the first experience I ever had with Computer Science and inspired me to pursue a career in the field. I love CS and sharing that love with my students in CS10 is my passion.


> For students without some previous experiences, CS61A as an introduction can be brutally discouraging.

CS61A hasn't been the intro course for inexperienced students for as long as I can remember: What about CS3? I came into CS having never touched or seen a piece of code, and I took CS3 because my understanding was that it was supposed to be the gentle introduction for complete neophytes. I found CS3 to be enormously easy and hand-holdy (it was a little _too_ easy, but that's not necessarily a bad thing for a course meant to be a gentle intro).

What was wrong with CS3 that necessitated the introduction of a new course that (AIUI from the catalog) focuses more on things like the social implications of computing and its relevance to society?


CS3 was self paced and saw a high rate of failure. CS10 has been the replacement since Fall 2010 and has a continuation rate of over 75 percent. It also opened the scope to instill a CS consciousness in even those who only ever take CS10.


CS3 had a high failure rate?? Do you have a ballpark sense of what it was? I could understand it if 61A had a high failure rate, but I thought CS3 was the way to weed yourself out of CS without taking a hit to your GPA (i.e., realizing that you weren't able to do CS while still being able to do decently in the course, instead of taking 61A and having it be so hard that you failed).


We shouldn't be making things easier just to accommodate a bunch of women who pissed away their time studying foolish nonsense like women's studies, or socialist studies.

Women are usually pretty awful programmers and engineers. Sorry, but the cats out of the bag.

I don't care how many classes women take, men will still rule the technology world.

If it's any consolation there will always be charity positions for under-qualified women, like Carly Fiorina, Meg Whitman, and that clueless simpleton at Yahoo!, who can't even get their email client to work.

If I offended any ladies here, let me apologize. Perhaps I can fund the next Spanx start-up.


I do take offense to your comment. And I'm not accepting your apology.

My mother graduated from Berkeley as an EECS major. As a matter of fact, so did two of my aunts. They all earn a lot more than the male computer engineers in my family, and this is independent of their sex.

Every subject has its introductory classes, many of which people have taken in high school. There isn't an option for introductory CS in many high schools. It seems logical to have one, then, in college


I'm not a lady (or woman) so I can't speak for them, but you certainly managed to offend me.

> Women are usually pretty awful programmers and engineers.

People are generally awful programmers. Don't know that many engineers, but I've certainly met a few good engineers of both sexes in the offshore industry.

As for female programmers, most of those I've met or seen the work of are on average much better than men -- but that's probably just because I've seen more code written by men (and also more crappy code).


What is up with the obsession to get women coding? Why does it matter? You don't see anything like this in female-dominated professions.


Yes, you do.

Nursing: http://www.minoritynurse.com/tags/men-nursing

Teaching: http://www.timesfreepress.com/news/2013/mar/23/advocates-say...

".. who bring a different perspective to the job, may connect better with some children and can provide positive male figures in their lives."

Same goes for women in technology or any other misrepresented field.


Yeah, those are reputable sources.


I'm not maled so I google 'male advocacy' and picked what came up first. Want some equivalent sources on women? I can pick a few hundred off the top of my head. As a feminist I completely support such groups for men also in careers where women are over-representing.


I don't want to speak for the paulwithap, but it seems we're talking about the disproportionate amount of effort to get men into in careers where women are over-representing compared to the other way around. And also the disproportionate amount of criticism we give to members in that field when they don't. I'm all for anyone doing what ever job they feel like doing as long as they have the skills to do it. I don't even care if they only do it for the money as long as they do it well and don't mess it up for the rest of us.


My uncle lost his job recently as a factory worker and is retraining at the age of 50 to be an nurse aide. He wishes he'd trained as nurse but 30 years ago it was near impossible. Not every man wants to be a brain surgeon.

And teachers? That has to be the MOST important group where we should absolutely have equal representation.


> And teachers? That has to be the MOST important group where we should absolutely have equal representation.

I would mostly agree with that. A lot of people probably would. But we don't see a huge number of "guys who teach" or "black guys teach" type programs popping up all over. We don't see article after article full of disdain for the "girls club" that is teaching. It is not just a gender thing. We don't see many "girls who drive trucks" programs either. I think it is some what of a phenomenon having such a large push to specifically get women into coding specifically. It just seems quite disproportionate. I'd like to see more push from other "one gender dominated" fields. [EDIT] Maybe there is and I just don't see it since I'm not in one of those other fields.

Sounds like your uncle is finally realizing a desire he's had for many years. Best of luck to him.


> we don't see a huge number of "guys who teach" or "black guys teach" type programs popping up all over

You don't see a huge number of "girls code" programs, either, you just think you do because some of them have press and you're pretty deep in the culture of software development. Not a bad thing, mind you! But we have to keep in mind observational bias.


I would never consider being a teacher because of the assumption of men being pedophiles. Well, that and pay.


I think those are precisely the 2 reasons we have so few male teachers entering the workforce these days. It's an awful awful thing. Being a teacher used to be a prestigious career.


There has been several teacher-student sexual assault cases in the area in the last few years... I think all but one was "female teacher and male student(s)". I believe that a far greater number of people view that as "more acceptable" than "male teacher and female student". It is a very sad double standard.

And we pay our teachers like crap. Which confuses me even more about the teachers that clearly don't care for teaching by the way they half-ass the job. Clearly they are not in it for the money.


Money is relative. Education is one of the easiest 4 year degrees to get. The low pay for teachers is a myth compared to other jobs with similar qualifications. At least, the hourly rate isn't that bad. You get lots of holidays and summers off so your yearly wage looks bleh. It's still way less than what I make as an engineer, but I dare say most teachers could not get an engineering degree.


And teachers? That has to be the MOST important group where we should absolutely have equal representation.

As a "traditionally female" occupation, K-12 teaching is woefully underpaid relative to, say, police or firemen. In the SF Bay Area, teaching is just not a middle-class profession at all.


Could I take your comment to mean that men are not teachers because of the low pay-scale? It's a valid point and certainly one we would all like addressed.


It is certainly one reason that keeps men (and many highly-qualified women) from being teachers.

Someone made the point long before I did that while we are grateful that women have so many more professional possibilities, it does mean a loss of many of the best women for the traditionally-female professions of nursing, "librarian-ing" and above all teaching. Just as engineering and science and medicine lose STEM minds to Wall Street and app-design shops.

Where I live, cops make $150K. Teachers make a lot less.


>a loss of many of the best women for the traditionally-female professions

I'd really disagree with that. It means the best women are heads of those departments, not that they are lost from the profession.


A woman who becomes a doctor or lawyer or banker (because nowadays she can) is a woman who is not a nurse, librarian, or K-12 teacher.


How do you actually determine what is 'over-represented' and not just the result of individual agency en masse?


Individual agency en masse should be a random distribution, which results in a proportionate representation within reasonable error margins. Not having this suggests that there's another factor besides individual agency factoring into decisions. It could be something acceptable, like men can't biologically give birth (yet), or it could be something unacceptable, like blacks being targeted by police solely on suspicion of race.

This is one of the ways in which you recognize that something weird is going on with American politics. While it's a good thing to have lawyers in Congress, it's kinda weird that they're overwhelmingly lawyers.


I do not agree with the first statement - it supposes that men and women will, given an option and without external pressures, always choose the same thing in equal amounts. I don't think that is a settled question. But it is worth looking into, as are any external pressures that may be keeping women out of 'Tech'. Does a representative field such as you suggest exist? Genuine question. I'm thinking retail/service?

In regards to Congress, it kind of makes sense to me they would be overwhelmingly from a law background - after all, the ones who know law best and are interested in law are most likely to want to have the ability to change it.


> I do not agree with the first statement - it supposes that men and women will, given an option and without external pressures, always choose the same thing in equal amounts.

That's not quite what I'm supposing.

I'm supposing that the choices of individual people without external pressures will always choose things unpredictably. In other words, correlation between individual choice and any particular demographic facet of a person should be pure chance.

This is how random number generators work. You want to provide as even a distribution as possible. That doesn't change the fact that, given a certain seed, the generator will always return the same "random" result.

The analogy comes back around like this: if you can reliably predict that a random number generator will return a number divisible by 3 if the input is odd, there's something weird going on even if some results are not divisible by 3. Chances are, if you look at the RNG's algorithm, you'll find something that creates that bias.

Do you care? Is that an issue? Is that a vulnerability? That's an entirely different question. As software engineers, we'd call it a business or design decision. In the wider world, we call it morality or ethics.

Edit to add: One of the consequences of this perspective is that it factors in any demographic variety, not just "men and women". If someone has a chromosomal set of XXY, then it still makes sense to consider their representation. That it's vanishingly small, such that they rarely register a blip on populations smaller than "the entire world", is part of the same analysis.


>Individual agency en masse should be a random distribution //

Would you like a) a beer, b) a hot chocolate ...

Hmm, I'm sure it'll be a random distribution with equal weighting of men and women.

Is it really that weird that lawyers predominant in a legislative field? It seems like it would be the least weird tendency - like if street cleaners, dental hygenists or pop-stars were predominant that would be weird.


> Is it really that weird that lawyers predominant in a legislative field? It seems like it would be the least weird tendency - like if street cleaners, dental hygenists or pop-stars were predominant that would be weird.

Nah. Usually I'm actually arguing on the other side of this one. But it seemed like a good example for illustrating how biases can be systemic to ethics-illiterate techies, since a remarkably large number of HNers are allergic to having respect for lawyers.


>Individual agency en masse should be a random distribution

What are you basing that assumption on? You are 100% certain that there is no possible way that men and women could have different preferences, priorities or interests?


A basic understanding of math, mostly.


Shit, I guess I must have been sick the day we covered "men and women are statistically identical in all choices they make". Was that in calculus?


Why would they be statistically identical? I'm pretty sure I gave a specific example of how this wasn't true. Did you miss English class in addition to math class?


You explicitly stated that any variation from a random distribution must be due to factors other than individual agency. But of course, you know that. How does someone whose posting history is almost entirely blatant trolling like that not manage to get banned more frequently?


Oh, I see. That's why you're on a throwaway. Cool.


You don't see anything like this in female-dominated professions.

His post directly contradicts that statement, period. The supposed reputability of those sites are irrelevant, especially considering the basis for your own statement is the HN tech bubble.


Their reputability is irrelevant to their effectiveness as counterexamples to your claim.


Seemingly more reputable than your source; you.


Much of it is in response to publicized examples of sexist behavior in technical circles and personal anecdotes. That sort of behavior is not acceptable, and people are right to rally in favor of a workplace (and career field) that isn't biased in favor of one gender or another.

I can get behind that cause.

The remainder of it though, in my opinion, is a bouillabaisse of "it's never enough-ism" from a small group of hardcore feminists, hand-wringing from me-tooers, approval-seekers and undecideds, and some genuinely decent people who have nevertheless been hurt by specific cases of sexism and disproportionately react.

It is cyclical. It is a well-intentioned cause, but many times it is myopic.


Anecdotal evidence: I started off in nursing school with an intent to get a master's before ultimately finishing with CS. The nursing school I went to was well respected and made great efforts to make male students feel 'normal' in the female dominated area. They didn't aggressively recruit males at that point, but we were seen as valuable and worth including.

I'd like to think that females could have a similar experience in CS degrees at some point.


I absolutely agree with you. Obviously, no one should ever feel like they aren't welcome in a field because of their gender. I just don't see the point of making giant, obsessive efforts to push a group of people into a field and then patting ourselves on the back when our plan works, and we don't feel so guilty anymore.


The problem is that when nursing does things to make males feel welcome, female constituents pretty much all go "okay, cool". When software engineering does things to make females feel welcome, half the male constituents bleat endlessly about how unfair it is. Much of the noise made is this declaration of victimhood, and it's generally this noise that makes molehill efforts into 'giant obsessive' mountain issues.


I don't see it as specifically about "getting women coding", rather "addressing the gender bias".

Given that approximately 50% of the population (and ~60% of the "educated" population) are women, it's abnormal for a sector to be so heavily male. This indicates that women are being discouraged, in some way, from entering the sector. Women who might otherwise have contributed a great deal to our industry.

Think of it more about (nearly) doubling the potential number of excellent software engineers than about "encouraging women to code".


So, you're saying that aside from genitalia, men and women are exactly the same and, in a vacuum, the distribution of genders in any given profession should be perfectly equal? You really believe that?


"So, you're saying that aside from skin colour, black and white people are exactly the same and, in a vacuum, the distribution of race in any given profession should be perfectly equal? You really believe that?" ^ It wasn't long ago that that type of claim was used often. Sexist views always have some sort of justification like "men and women ARE different!" or "men have a natural ability to think logically and are therefore more suited to programming". You forget that women basically made up most of the early programmers (see Ada Lovelace etc). I would recommend reading the book "Delusions of Gender" to get an overview over the "science" behind claiming that men and women are inherently different and to learn how all of those studies have proven flawed/heavily biased towards a premeditated conclusion.


How about this:

So, you're saying that aside from the numerical value, a set of people with an average testosterone level of ~500ng/dL are exactly the same as a set of people with an average testosterone level of ~20?

To deny that hormones exert a tremendous influence over our behaviors and motivations is absurd.


The contention in this particular discussion is that women are somehow not natural programmers. There is no evidence that testosterone levels will affect someone to the extent that they have a natural tendency to logic or programming. Hormones DO have an effect, but it's socialisation that is pressuring men and women to adopt their roles.


>There is no evidence that testosterone levels will affect someone to the extent that they have a natural tendency to logic or programming.

Possibly so, but there's plenty of evidence that testosterone levels affect someone's willingness to work long, tedious hours in isolation in exchange for a higher salary, and give up their personal time for career advancement.


reference? or just speculation?


You're right. Apples and oranges are basically the same thing. That book holds about the same scientific weight as 50 Shades of Grey. If you don't think there are inherent psychological differences between men and women, then you're just delusional.


Where's your evidence for inherent psychological differences? There are differences in adult men and women due to their SOCIALISATION which is not an inherent property. Raise a generation of women to believe that they're useless at male-dominated jobs then they'll start to think they are!


> I would recommend reading the book "Delusions of Gender"

> to learn how all of those studies have proven flawed/heavily biased

Notice the extreme impression you've gotten from this book. She does not "prove" flaws in all research on this topic, though often her criticisms are valid she chooses areas to criticize and hints that it's representative of all research that show gender differences.

She could have also chosen to criticize studies which attempt to disprove gender differences, which are often just as flawed.


Sure but that isn't her argument. The number of studies that attempt to demonstrate some fundamental difference between the sexes vastly outnumber claims of similarity, and those disproportionate claims need to be addressed. The book goes through the studies that are touted as the most demonstrable difference in the sexes (tests on empathy) and shows how they're flawed and once you control for that flaw there is no demonstrable difference between the sexes.


> The book goes through the studies that are touted as the most demonstrable difference in the sexes (tests on empathy)

Touted as such by whom? It sounds like just Baron-Cohen et al. Your comment gave the impression that "all" studies of gender differences have been refuted.

The most well-known, replicated, large effect study that I'm aware of I searched for and didn't find any reference to in her book. http://www.elainehatfield.com/79.pdf


I assume you're not using this as an example of a study which demonstrates an _inherent_ difference in the sexes..? (it isn't, this study is about as valuable as showing that the mean hair length of females is longer than males. It is an observation of a socialised group. This is irrelevant to the debate about nature vs nurture about sex differences) And yes Baron-Cohen pioneered the notion of the male and female brain. Of course 'scientific' justifications for sexism existed before Baron-Cohen however his studies, and ideas similar to his, dominate scientifically justified sexism at the moment (see: any discussion on womens' inherent lack of logical thinking and hence their role as caregivers and not programmers)


You don't see anything like this in female-dominated professions.

You absolutely do. K-8 teaching and psychotherapy come to mind. Anecdotally, the ratios are the inverse of what we see in tech. Men are in huge demand.


Because your stereotypical computer geek doesn't have the social skills to meet women who aren't also computer geeks?

Because computer geeks don't push back hard enough against overtime requests (a social skills issue again), and so have a hard time meeting anyone they don't work with?

Because unlike many jobs, much of computer programming also makes for good hobbies, so we spend a greater fraction of our time associating with like-minded people (and would like for said group to include women)?

You don't see anything like this in female-dominated professions.

But only because we're too insular to notice (again, a social skills issue).


Did you research this, or are you relying on casual observation? There's going to be heavy selection bias here if you're in the software industry but not involved in traditionally female-dominated professions.

Anyway, if the shoe were on the other foot, as a male feminist I would be in favor of getting more men coding.


I for one would like more women in my CS classes. Right now the ratio is about 1:20, it fucks with your perspective on the world.


It sounds like it's one of those "programming for non-programmers" courses and not really the full entry-level course into the CS program, but it's still encouraging that so many young women are interested in dabbling with code.


I've kept in touch with the Math/CS department at my alma mater and they've told me the male/female balance bounces around significantly. There have been years where the department is 90+% male and years where the balance has been close to 50-50. I was primarily math and I took upper level math classes that were 75+% female but were closer to two-thirds male the following year. The year I graduated about 40% of the CS graduates were female, today it tends to be closer to 25%.

I'll also add I went to a small liberal arts college with 60% women total.


I recently read the "top jobs" on the us news and world report website.

http://money.usnews.com/careers/best-jobs/rankings/the-100-b...

Computer jobs were well represented, but so were health sciences. Here's the full list

1. software developer - san jose - 116K (93k natl avg) 2. computer systems analyst - (couldn’t find it in SF, best anywhere was $116k in bridgeport, 84k nation avg) 3. dentist - couldn’t find SF, can be up to $250K in best cities. 163K natl avg 4. nurse practitioner - san jose - $125K 5. pharmacist - highest of 160K in el centro ca, 115k natl avg 6. registered nurse - 122k in san jose, natl avg 65k (I think it’s about 112k in SF according to sfgate) 7. physical therapist - natio 81k, vegas 117k 8. physician - national around 190k, high paid regions about $250k 9. web developer - national 62k, san jose/sf around 90k 10. dental hygenist - 70k national, in SF 106k

It was eye opening to see how highly paid some of the health care degree fields, which generally enroll more women, are in the bay area.

For instance, nationally, nursing is about 90% women, and in San Jose (and San Francisco, according to a different survey), RN's (registered nurses) actually outearn software developers. There are a large number of factors here (growth potential, job security, the possibility of age discrimination at 40 or younger, where, when and how you like to work...), so I'm not saying that this tell the whole story - but there's a decent argument to be made that nursing may be a better paid and more stable field than software development over the course of a career. Would women be well served by reducing that 90% to 50% to free up more women to become software engineers?

Another interesting thing to note - since we're talking about flagship UC's here, the entering medical school class at UCSF is 58% women, and at boalt law school, it is 54%. I couldn't get exact numbers for pharmacy, but nationally, it skews female over male. Again, would women be well served by diverting some of these students to computer science rather than remaining in health care? A friend of mine who is an emergency room physician probably earns over twice the average software developers salary with fewer hours and very flexible shifts. I can't possibly claim she would have been better off in computer science.

I have a tough time with this, for a couple of reasons. First, I have no right to claim sour grapes for someone else. If women want to go into computer science, and feel that it is a great field, they should not have to put up with gender discrimination.

Second, it's unclear as to whether software development is wonderful field. So not only do I have no right to tell others that the grapes are sour, I can't say with certainty that they are sour.

However, I do think that there is, at least a very clear case to be made that the grapes in health care are a lot sweeter than they are in the high tech world.

We need to consider, seriously, the possibility that avoidance of high tech in favor of health fields is a very rational choice from an earnings, working conditions, job security, and social prestige perspective. Young women are, in many ways, outperforming young men. Perhaps appreciating the beauty and joy of computer programming as a short detour on your road to emergency medicine or dermatology is a far more rational way to go through life than majoring in CS and getting a grad degree in a STEM field, or working for as series of startups or bigco's.

I'm not asking people to accept this conclusion, but rather to recognize that this question needs to be part of the debate.


I am a current UCSF medical student and I majored in statistics in undergrad. I program in R and python. In undergrad, did consider doing an internship at a tech company as a data scientist, so I feel like I understand the perspective from both sides.

That said, I feel this is entirely a false dichotomy - there are actually very few people choosing between nursing and computer science, and it is not "diverting some of these students to computer science rather than remaining in health care". They are simply very different students and workforces with different motivations, strengths, and weaknesses.

I am sure we can agree that there are many fields that are worse off than computer science. Retail, administration, and many disciplines don't have the flexibility or financial compensation. To me, in some ways, it does sound like sour grapes when one says "well, look women have nursing. They make good money." Regardless whether healthcare is a good field, that creates a false dichotomy when there are many people (both male and female) who aren't in these fields.

Even digging into this false dichotomy, it is another discussion whether healthcare is actually more flexible, has fewer hours, and is a better career choice than software development. The grass is always greener on the other side, but I would say that only in healthcare does a significant proportion of the workforce have to work overnight shifts, 30 hour workdays, and have to deal with relatively hazardous or infectious materials.

I love medicine, it's a great field, and I really enjoy having an impact on people's lives. But similarly, there are intangibles in software development like the satisfaction of creating something and doing things that can touch people far away. I think that to split these professions into "male" and "female" is a huge disservice and it brings nothing to the discussion to say some female predominant fields have good earning potential.

PS. UCSF medicine is typically between 47 - 54% female each year. Not sure where you got the 58% statistic. There are a lot of applicants, so the administrators probably have a lot of flexibility on how they want to shape the class demographics.


This is where I got the entering class profile link:

https://www.ucsf.edu/news/2011/09/10594/ucsf-school-medicine...

"The 167 new arrivals were chosen from 6,767 applicants. The average age of the class is 25, with a range of 21 to 34, and it is 58 percent female and 42 percent male."

I haven't made any further inquiry into the accuracy of this statistic, so it could be wrong, or it could be an unusual year.


I would like to address the false dichotomy you have indicated - that it doesn't make sense to talk of people being diverted from software development into health care fields. There are a couple of essays I'd suggest. Neither are about programming or women - they're about science/engineering graduate programs and Americans. However, they both reach the conclusion that Americans in general are rationally avoiding graduate degrees in STEM fields.

The first is a study by the RAND institute:

http://www.rand.org/pubs/issue_papers/IP241.html

This study concludes that Americans are avoiding STEM degrees in large part because the pay and job prospects compared to the "professions" including law or medicine have become so uncompetitive.

Another is by professor William Zumeta at the University of Washington. He looks into students with strong quantitative backgrounds to analyze why they are not going into science and engineering. He does conclude that they are often going to MBA or Health Sciences. (He also does address some systemic problems that particularly affect women in these fields).

http://www.issues.org/19.2/p_zumeta.htm

Unfortunately, these researchers don't really address the false dichotomy you've brought up - they seem to assume that academically talented students do choose between very different fields based on pay and career prospects. Perhaps that is, as you've suggested, a deeply flawed assumption.

Believe it or not, I actually think that this in no way invalidates claims that outright discrimination or socialization from an early age is a factor! After all, even if it is a relatively poor career choice (already a very debatable claim), these can still be substantial (even definitive) factors!


This is a strange comparison, what does software have to do with nursing? What about all of the under-employed women who are not interested in healthcare or law? As a female developer who is actively involved in helping women learn more about tech career paths, I would never presume to lure someone who felt called to nursing away from that field. I am more interested in reaching women stuck in dead-end administrative, service, and retail jobs who are craving more challenging and rewarding work.


> This is a strange comparison, what does software have to do with nursing?

Both are statistically dominated by an individual gender. There's huge amounts that we can learn from comparing the different approaches to this matter.


Just the women? Are there no men in that condition or do you suffer from some personality disorder?


"Personality disorder" is part of a set of diagnoses in DSM and ICD. They're controversial diagnoses and people throwing the term around as an attack is stigmatising and hateful.


I have met one man who was interested in learning to code and looking for help getting started, but most of the folks I've met in that position have been women.


> We need to consider, seriously, the possibility that avoidance of high tech in favor of health fields is a very rational choice [...]

It's great if people are making a rational. Onsidered choice.

I'd love to see research. I suspect that people are not making that informed choice and that segregation along sex happens much much earlier.

And if being an RN is so good why are so many nurses imported from other nations? Perhaps that doesn't happen in the US or at least not for RNs.

As an aside: the highest paying RN job is in San Jose - isn't San Jose the crack capital of California? (I am only asking about crack, not about nursing or etc).

(Anecdote: My son is just over 3. He likes and talks about flamingos and his favourite colour is pink. (He has pink sunglasses.). We were drawing and I handed him a pink pencil and he said "no Dan, pink is a girl's colour." The only place he could get this from is nursery which means that children below UK school age are policing activity based on gender or staff are being careless with words. (Luckily I have a pink phone case and a pink towel and a pink watering can so I managed to persuade him that anyone can like pink.))


OT, aside:

Not sure what relevance your anecdote has to the topic, however ...

>he said "no Dan, pink is a girl's colour." //

I found for my sons that the girls in their nursery were very strong policers of colour and toys ("you can't play with that it's for girls" or "pink is for girls"); all the teaching staff are women, most parents/carers/guardians present at pick-up are women .. I corrected the kids [I'm like that, "anyone can have pink things, I've got a pink shirt", usual response giggling] but never heard anyone else do so.

Got to admit to feeling self-conscious carrying one son's pink love-heart handbag around after dropping him off though. It's really not my style.


The children do seem to be strong enforcers of what is "acceptable". There's an article about a cabal that formed in a nursery around Lego.

It has some odd messages about ownership. http://www.rethinkingschools.org/archive/21_02/lego212.shtml


That's really good - thanks for sharing.

Reminds me somewhat of Thomas Paine's "Agrarian Justice" as well pedagogically as the teacher running a live experiment on racism using eye-colour (I'm sure you've seen it, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VeK759FF84s).


They are imported because there is a big difference between a nurse and an RN. I couldn't think of a similar distinction in the tech industry. Also I'd also venture to say that RNs are paid very well all across the US.


No, actually not. You can't call yourself a nurse unless you've actually been licensed as a nurse (Registered Nurse). The sub-RNs are CNAs (Certified Nurse Assistants) and LPNs (Licensed Practical Nurses). The step above RN is NP (Nurse Practitioner, which is roughly the equivalent of a general practitioner MD and a small step above PA (Physician's Assistant, which can do all the stuff a GP/MD can do except write prescriptions). Even within RNs there are two categories: "normal" RNs and RN/BSNs, which are registered nurses who also have a bachelor of science degree.

Source: wife is a nurse (RN).


Yea, TheCoelacanth hit the nail on the head. I was referring to a nurse practitioner.


Isn't the progress Nurse -> RN? Or is it a completely different path?

The link said average pay for RNs was $69,000


It can be that progression but the RNs I've come across were more like a restricted general practitioner, so I think they just went to school (takes longer) then went into practice. They can even write certain prescriptions, but it seems like they are under the supervision of actual doctors.


That sounds more like a nurse practitioner than an RN. It takes 4 or 5 years of school beyond that required to become an RN to become an NP.


You're right. I mixed it all up.


I'm very confused about how this places Software Developer at #1 and Computer Programmer at #30. I'd always understood these to be different terms for the same thing, is there some distinction I'm missing that accounts for the $15,000 difference in average salary?


It's using BLS categories which don't necessarily match up to actual job titles or to colloquial use. According to the BLS, Computer Programmers turn detailed specifications into code while Software Developers have involvement in the development process beyond just writing code. Software Developers are far more common than Computer Programmers, so for the most part you can just ignore the whole Computer Programmer category.


Was looking at nursing for these exact reasons.

It's bizarre that you have more free time as a nurse to work on your own programming projects than you do in the tech industry.


The commutes are almost certainly better. Hospitals are located in cities, not in office-parks at the end of an hour-long commute in bumper-to-bumper sprawl traffic.


Ha. That's a Silicon-Valley-centric problem. There's plenty of programming work in great walkable places in San Francisco proper, New York, Boston, etc.


I'm not in Silicon Valley, I live in Ontario. The tech industry in this province is concentrated in two places:

1) Waterloo, which everyone sees as a ticking time-bomb because of Rim.

and

2) Mississauga, which is Toronto's sprawl and is where all our soulless corporate code is written.

Fortunately, I work for a hospital.


I live in Waterloo. Toronto dwarfs Waterloo. It's not really close.

Don't get me wrong, there is a lot of great stuff going on in Waterloo and I love living here, but Toronto is so much bigger and has so many more opportunities its not funny.

Waterloo has a population of 100K people. If you include Kitchener and Cambridge then you're up to 400K.

Toronto on the other hand is the 10th largest city in the Americas[1]. To put that into perspective for Americans, that means that if you live in a city in the states that isn't NYC or LA, then Toronto is bigger.

1. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Largest_cities_in_the_Americas


So live in Mississauga? It is the nicest place anywhere near Toronto anyways. Also you missed Toronto itself which has tons of tech jobs, and richmond hill/markham which absolutely dwarfs Waterloo's imaginary tech industry.


Ah. If you want a programming job in a city and you're finding them more in Mountain View than SF proper, also try "Silicon Alley", New York.

(I'm looking out the window from the Empire State Building right now.)


Nursing can be extremely exhausting though, physically and mentally. That's not to say you can't program a bit after work to get your mind off it, instead of watching TV or whatever; but I don't find it "bizarre" at all that nurses are well paid, I think they ought to be. Just like teachers and people working in kindergartens, I don't think very many people can do that job, certainly not for decades. (Speaking purely of those who have empathy, as the rest shouldn't do these jobs to begin with)

Technology even at its most complicated is hardly a comparison, but at its average? Heh. You can't compare any of it to caring for people while they are sick, get better or die.. with feeding them, taking care of their wounds, cleaning up vomit and feces, washing a dead body, being confronted with suffering and fear (as well as bravery and generosity beyond comprehension).

I never even worked as a "real" nurse myself, just in a close enough capacity for long enough to have some serious respect for cojones I simply don't have, not in the long run. A few years would be rough, but a career of it? Anyone who light-heartedly thinks they could hack that might be fooling themselves. Programming is "just" hard, but being a nurse is hard.. of course I can only speak for myself, but what kept me from becoming a "real" nurse wasn't anything I could have learned, no matter how disciplined; I just don't have it in me. On the other hand, I think at least smart people generally all could learn to program in just about any language if they really wanted to, and invested time regularly. I'm not trying to diss "the tech industry", but I do think firefighters and nurses and whatnot play in wholly different leagues, sorry :P


Yeah. I bet your average person can't understand compiler theory or asymptotic growth of recursive functions.

But I see your point.

They are as emotionally advanced as computer types are intellectually advanced.


Based on lived experience, I don't see a lot of people in this industry understanding "compiler theory or asymptotic growth of recursive functions".


> They are as emotionally advanced as computer types are intellectually advanced.

Some of them are pretty damned intellectually advanced as well.


They could be smart, like scones, enjoy hot tubs, practice riverdance and have a peg leg but that's not what the point of the exchange was.

The point was that nurses have more emotional strength than most people.


Definitely. CS isn't the best field for every and anybody.

I couldn't care less about who is getting into whatever field, though, so long as they are passionate about it - not just the paycheck.


Well said!


I think part of the "problem" is that you don't hear about a couple nurses working on a new "nursing product" (sorry.. not sure what the nursing equivalent of "WhatsApp" is) and then getting bought out for $19Billion nearly as often as you do with engineers. I think some careers are more stable and pay more on average than computer jobs but they lack the (possibly over optimistic) possibility to get a big exit check.


What you are describing is starting a business not learning computer science. Women could start a health care company, or at-home nursing, etc... and get bought for a billion something (in theory).


True.. but you gotta learn computer science (or coding or something along those lines) if you're going to start the next "WhatsApp" business. I'm not saying that it doesn't happen in other fields. But I think you know it doesn't happen nearly as often or you would not have ended your comment with in theory. Just about anything could happen... in theory.


Not really. You need to hire a coder, mostly.


As a coder, never work for a startup without founders who can code.


There's a difference between "can code" as in understands the challenges and opportunities well enough to create a good business plan, and "can code" as in knows how to implement a floppy disk controller in software (yes, that's a reference to Steve and Steve of Apple).


> We need to consider, seriously, the possibility that avoidance of high tech in favor of health fields is a very rational choice

Why does this only apply to women?


Yeah, it would be nice to see a "where would they come from?" analysis, especially vs success in lower education or something.


interesting that CSA was separate from Software Engineer. I'd have thought that they'd be lumped in since in my experience Computer Systems Analyst were just job titles created for Canadians and Mexicans in the states on TN.


No, it was a traditional job title that existed before they put it on the TN list. I think, but am not sure, that it would be something like "business analyst" today.


Get into dental or medical school and you are set.


Right, I'm in. There was an open transom. It's dark though and there's nobody about, what do I do now?


eat a mango?


I'm interested in seeing the racial breakdown here for intro to computer science enrollment, because I would imagine that that is the reason Berkeley is the exception. Something like 40% of the student population is asian [0], and IIRC, in computer science only two races are disproportionately represented per capita, caucasians and asians. For this reason I think Berkeley CS enrollment hardly counts as a data point indicative of a larger trend in CS enrollment.

FWIW, before a flamewar starts, this observation is not to be construed as bigotry, but simply descriptivist.

[0] http://opa.berkeley.edu/statistics/enrollmentdata.html

(I found it interesting that the Berkeley enrollment statistics lump all latinos/hispanics into figure, but break out the individual percentages for each asian subgroup.


(sorry, ranty opiniony comment)

Why do people care about the numbers of women in Computer Science classes? Because, they say, it shows some inherent discrimination against women in the industry. (which totally exists, but mainly as a bigger cultural issue that affects everyone along gender lines) If you ask how that could be (as nobody is actually barring women from signing up for classes) the most popular theory is that gender stereotypes combined with an antagonistic male environment leaves women with little choice but to abandon the field.

So the answer has been to make more opportunity for women to join the industry by making it more attractive to them or reducing gender-related friction. Many employers are pushing to find more women in technology/computer science and give incentives to hire them, and in cases like this, change curriculum for schools to make the subject seem more "beautiful & joyful". And it seems like it might be working - more women are now in classes, and one would assume, may some day soon be evening the gender gap in tech jobs.

But what's the end result to merely bringing more women into the industry? Has the culture shifted? Are salaries evening out? Is sexism dead? The people pushing for more women in technology seem to think that by merely increasing the number of women in the field, all of these things will happen. But realistically, none of these things are accomplished just because there's more women in technology.

Compare it to when President Obama was elected, and certain people claimed "racism is dead" because we finally elected a black President. Is racism really dead? Did the culture shift to become more understanding? Did the overall quality of life for black people increase? Did they get higher salaries, or more economic or political power? My casual observation indicates these things did not happen. The culture was not affected, and so, the same institutional problems caused by problems in the culture persist.

And this is what will happen regarding women in technology. Anyone can change their experiment to fit their expected results, and then when they get those results claim they had success. But that's not a cause for celebration. What would be good is if we actually attack the cause of inequality - our cultural differences and biases - to make it so that women are not an exception to a rule, but an equal part of a common community. Merely adding more women to computer science classes is the equivalent of a misogynist saying "Sure, you can have a computer - in the kitchen." The sexism, gender stereotypes, and cultural conflicts will continue to exist until those are addressed directly.


No one is saying that more women in CS courses will eliminate sexism everywhere. There is intrinsic value to having gender diversity in any field, and CS is one with a notable lack of it.

This is a classic example of "moving the goalposts". By claiming that incremental progress doesn't matter (or is somehow detrimental[1]) because of sexism elsewhere, you inhibit progress everywhere. By relying on strawman arguments and a false comparison to the election of Barack Obama, you implicitly frame any incremental achievement for women in CS as a failure.

[1] Referring to your, frankly, bizarre comment about a misogynist saying "you can have a computer in the kitchen". No idea what this is supposed to imply, or who exactly is saying it.


There is intrinsic value to having gender diversity in any field

I disagree.

There's no such thing as "intrinsic value", and arguing based on it is a form of begging the question.

Gender balance is nice because it has certain effects that I happen to like. Such as not spending all day in a room full of only guys.


No interest in debating philosophy in a HN comment thread, but saying that gender diversity has intrinsic value (and I'd argue it does, especially from a deontological/Rawlsian perspective which considers fairness an intrinsically moral good) does not negate its extrinsic value (positive social/interpersonal benefits). Either way, I don't care. My point is that the previous comment reduces the value of gender diversity in the workplace only to the degree it can solve sexism globally. Which is a textbook example of "moving the goalposts".

P.S., gender balance is "nice" for reasons that don't involve you as well. Really more about equal opportunity for women in this case, who face constant discrimination in CS, among many other fields.


I'm not inhibiting any progress by pointing out the fallacy of "more jobs = less inequality". That, by the way, is a classic example of syllogistic reasoning. We need more women to get CS jobs to increase equality, and i'm suggesting we don't need to focus on just getting them CS jobs, so I must be advocating women should have less equality.

But people claiming each other is giving strawman arguments is an infinite loop. So let me just address your point about gender diversity. Is it useful in general? Sure. Will it help you understand an algorithm's efficiency? Probably not.

There's a lot of different kinds of diversity we could be pushing for, like political, religious, economic, cultural, and racial diversity, but nobody's pushing for them. I suspect it's less that tech workers are inherently more sensitive to the needs of women, and more likely that lonely male nerds want women to gawk at in the workplace. This could be why none of them are actually discussing the issues that cause inequality and seemingly just want to get them to work in nearby cubicles. But that might be a big leap.

To elaborate on the misogynist comment, i'm saying getting more women into tech jobs won't make for a better working/living condition - they're still subject to the same problems that prevented them from going into the job in the first place. Example, when men started allowing women into the workplace (in general) in greater numbers. They allowed them in, sure, but still treated them like shit - and still do, for reasons other than simply access to the job. So pushing women into more tech jobs without working on the more important issues (inequality) just subjects them to more abuse, for example the misogynist kind.


I'm not inhibiting any progress by pointing out the fallacy of "more jobs = less inequality". That, by the way, is a classic example of syllogistic reasoning. We need more women to get CS jobs to increase equality, and i'm suggesting we don't need to focus on just getting them CS jobs, so I must be advocating women should have less equality.

That's not what I said, and your logic is also a poor example of syllogistic reasoning, which just refers to deducing a conclusion from two premises and is not fallacious by nature. I'm criticizing the part where you assume an indicator of progress (more women in CS courses) is unimportant or negative because of structural problems elsewhere. This is a defeatist attitude that's used over and over again to shut down social progress (we shouldn't help advance the careers of women in CS because there's sexism elsewhere!). Note that I am criticizing the logic of your post and not claiming that your singular comment has affected anyone anywhere.

...about gender diversity. Is it useful in general? Sure. Will it help you understand an algorithm's efficiency? Probably not.

So? That's not the issue at stake (although there is plenty of evidence that gender-diverse workplaces are more effective[1]).

There's a lot of different kinds of diversity we could be pushing for, like political, religious, economic, cultural, and racial diversity, but nobody's pushing for them.

People are absolutely pushing for those things as well[2,3]. I have not heard much about political or religious discrimination in the tech world. I would be curious to see any evidence on the extent of those problems.

I suspect it's less that tech workers are inherently more sensitive to the needs of women, and more likely that lonely male nerds want women to gawk at in the workplace. This could be why none of them are actually discussing the issues that cause inequality and seemingly just want to get them to work in nearby cubicles. But that might be a big leap.

That is a mightily limited assumption (which also seems to imply that none of the people fighting for gender diversity in tech companies are women!) that I strongly disagree with. Think about how the current situation came about -- male-dominated cultures emerged at tech companies because the employees were almost all men. A workforce with a more balanced gender ratio would help bring about a more welcoming and equal culture, but since the culture discourages women from joining in the first place, it's necessary to have proactive measures to improve the balance. There are other factors in play, but it's really not too much more complicated than that.

So pushing women into more tech jobs without working on the more important issues (inequality) just subjects them to more abuse, for example the misogynist kind.

This, to me, epitomizes what I find so very wrong with your attitude, which screams "keep women out for their own good, because we're too hopelessly misogynistic to create a good culture for them." Punishing women by keeping them out of tech companies isn't a recompense for misogyny, it is an expression of misogyny. Tech companies ought to actively change their cultures by recruiting and hiring more women, not give up and use their own sexism as an excuse for keeping women away.

[1] http://www.mckinsey.de/sites/mck_files/files/Women_Matter_1_...

[2] http://pando.com/2014/02/21/marc-roth-hacked-his-way-out-of-...

[3] http://www.blackgirlscode.com/


> I'm criticizing the part where you assume an indicator of progress (more women in CS courses) is unimportant or negative

That's not what I was doing, actually.

> I have not heard much about political or religious discrimination in the tech world.

I didn't say there was discrimination on those fronts, I said there was a lack of diversity.

> Think about how the current situation came about -- male-dominated cultures emerged at tech companies because the employees were almost all men. A workforce with a more balanced gender ratio would help bring about a more welcoming and equal culture, but since the culture discourages women from joining in the first place, it's necessary to have proactive measures to improve the balance. There are other factors in play, but it's really not too much more complicated than that.

Other factors... like gender roles, sexism, rape culture, inherently lower salaries, and every other form of discrimination against women? I guess it is easier to simplify everything into "there were more men than women, and so we should just add more women, which will make everything else okay" and ignore all the "other factors". But since it's all the "other factors" that led to this situation in the first place, perhaps they should be addressed, and not dismissed to make it easier for you to think about.

It's a complicated problem, and so people try to find simple solutions. But if the only thing you do is hire more women, the problem will not get solved. It will perhaps become a way to ignore the problem ("we have all these women in technology now! what gender stereotype?") or cover up the problem ("my best friend at work is a chick and loves making fun of women! what sexism?") or use the situation for more discrimination ("man, ever since all these women joined the job i can't get anything done"), etc. There are so, so many ways that things could get worse by ignoring the bigger picture and only focusing on job numbers.

There's a lot of discrimination out there. Try telling black people they need to wait until there are more women in IT. Try telling gay people that. Or try telling indian workers they need to wait until women get a higher salary before they're allowed to be paid the same wages as white people. These problems all need solutions, but they all have different origins. Just hiring an equal amount of all kinds of people would still leave institutionalized racism, sexism, and all other kinds of isms, because all the origins of the problems would still exist in the culture.

> This, to me, epitomizes what I find so very wrong with your attitude, which screams "keep women out for their own good, because we're too hopelessly misogynistic to create a good culture for them."

You have it backwards. I was saying that because we're (currently) hopelessly misogynistic (amongst other things), we are keeping women out, and we should fix the former to help fix the latter. Did I at any time advocate keeping women out of a job? If that's what you read, you were only interpreting what you wanted to. We're trying to accomplish the same thing and you're making me out to be an oppressor.

I want everybody to have a job, and I want nobody to be discriminated against. So I want all people to have an equal opportunity in all fields. But are HR departments going to start hiring exactly equal quotients of every single kind of background? Fuck no, that would make no sense... Even if you could find an female irish black gay republican and a male asian transgender hindutva and a russian cis male muslim, you're probably not going to find enough of all these people to hire exactly proportional to make sure everyone is represented.

Now, if you want to make sure there are more women (or any kind of person) to hire from, you get more of them interested in school and a career. And how do you accomplish that? By reducing the sexism and gender bias from video games, television, movies, computer labs/irc/forums, and challenge both boys and girls to rethink how they relate to one another so that they don't polarize on socialization or special interests. If you think just hiring more people today will accomplish that, I disagree.


What would it look like to, as you put it "attack the cause of inequality - our cultural differences and biases"? What would you do?


More women than men? Gender equality has been achieved.


Hate to burst your bubbles, but this isn't the result of more women getting interested in compsci... it's the result of far, far fewer men getting interested in post-secondary education.


Gaining on Ya!

Hopefully one day the minorities will outnumber the majority for the first time. :)


Think about that last sentence you wrote some more.


A lot of people use 'majority' when they mean 'plurality'.


Careful, once the majority becomes the minority, they'll be able to turn all your playbooks right back at you.


Does not compute.


Womens are already 51% of population because they live longer.


I'm particularly glad to read that UCB is changing up the curriculum and introducing open source. Speaking from my time there and my discussions with EECS alumni, it felt like a lot of the curriculum was outdated and many felt ill-prepared for the modern advancements in computer science introduced to them in their day-to-day jobs.


Mission completed! Now we can stop that positive discrimination nonsense.


Surely logically - if you support discrimination [in favour of minority groups based on irrelevant characteristics (like skin colour relative to computer programming)] - you have to switch to supporting the same for the group that is now in minority [within this very limited geo-political locus].

Coming soon to HN ..., boys only code classes, special boys only STEM days, toys designed to interest boys in STEM, books with male characters doing computer-y stuff, etc..


Not bad even though it's just an intro course. There was one girl in my EECS grad school year so anything is an improvement.


Why is this a news-worthy headline? Shouldn't we be more concerned with the total number of Computer Scientists rather than how many have which genitals? Unless, of course, having a particular set of genitals determines the quality of the degree. . .


... and they all promptly changed their majors when they found out forgetting a semi-colon made their programs not compile.


There's some truth to this. I took a few intro classes to boost my GPA and the majority of women in my group begged for me to help them just pass the class since it would look good on their resume.


I hope that you told them 'no' or charged them appropriately for tutoring.


Nothing wrong with helping people out, and it can help you master the material yourself.


Yes, because helping people is just the worst.


There's a difference between helping someone with the class and walking them through their assignments, line by line. The former is great; the latter is dishonest.

I tutor coworkers in exchange for food and beer. My policy for math and CS is this - if you give me an example, I will walk you through the example with as much detail as you want, but I will not do anything other than proofread your assignments after they've been created.

Good: Student has an assignment to do quicksort on an array of integers. He has difficulty with array syntax and asks me to walk him through basic array operations. He then has difficulty grasping what exactly quicksort is doing and asks me to walk him through a quicksort operation by hand. After this, he feels kind of confident and tries making a function. It doesn't work, and he can't find the problem, so he asks me to help debug the program.

Bad: "Oh man, I don't get this quicksort stuff at all. Can you, like, help me?"

(Cue frustrating half hour where the person shows that he barely grasps the concept of a variable and doesn't give a fuck about the class)

"Uh, I gotta turn this in at 11:59 tonight. I need this now."

The person who pulled the latter with me was male. I said "no" and watched him fail the class.


It's not that ridiculous, I think public static void main () scared off about 25% of the students who took introduction to computer programming (java) at UBC. Hopefully the author is not implying that women would be more easily put off by that kind of thing than men (it could well be true or even the other way around, but without hard data to back it up, that's just sexist nonsense.)


I was just saying that introductory classes have little to do with who actually stays in the program. Give it 6 years and see who actually decides to graduate with the major!


This is why I pushed for python in my CS101 class, but the department stuck to java since that was what was demanded by internship employers.


[deleted]


I thought the comment was more of a reference to anyone's reaction to an introductory CS course, and nothing to do with gender specifically.


I've started flagging these stories.

It doesn't matter how many men or women work in particular careers. Technology is only singled out because the pay is high. Where are the articles about the lack of women in welding?


On sites other than HN, which has nothing to do with welding?

I'm sure it's very easy to say that gender inequality in the workplace doesn't matter at all when you are not the one affected by it.

see: http://www.aikenstandard.com/article/20130125/aik0101/130129...

http://www.millerwelds.com/resources/articles/rosie-the-weld...

http://awo.aws.org/2013/12/women-in-welding-meet-karen-gilge...

http://www.advanced.edu/blog/more-women-entering-the-welding...


"Where are the articles about Women in Y" or "where are the articles about men in X" is a common comment in these threads. Those articles are written, and linked to in those threads. They're not posted to HN because they're not of interest to HN which has few welders or nurses but many coders.


Oddly enough, I know some people in the welding industry, and it's discussed.


Women may not be welding, but they are riveting.




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