Women & Minorities in Tech
When you think of a computer programmer, what image pops into your head? Is it an image of an African-American man, staring at a screen full of inscrutable code, brow furrowed, debugging a C++ file? Is it a middle-aged woman, teaching herself to code in SWIFT to keep up with the newest iOS technologies? Apparently, for many people in our country (indeed, the majority of the students surveyed by Gallup researchers in 2015), the image that pops up is that of a white (or Asian) male with glasses.
Indeed, with simple demographic surveys we can find that these perceptions are reflecting a reality in this country; women and minorities are dramatically underrepresented in all areas of the tech world, from Computer Science AP tests, to Computer Science Bachelors’ Degrees, to Silicon Valley and the Tech Workforce in general.
To what extent have perceptions influenced reality, and to what extent has reality shaped perceptions? Is there a “pipeline problem” as some Silicon Valley companies suggest? Is the dearth of women & minorities in tech really a problem, or are we just being “politically correct” by talking about it? Is it getting better or worse? Is anyone trying to correct this trend? Here’s how the numbers play out: