Do women make better coders?

Naomi Webb asks, are the fairer sex key employees at the likes of Google, Amazon or 100TB or is it really, a man’s world?

As a legendary soul singer once said: “This is a man’s world/but it would be nothing, nothing, without a woman or a girl.” This is, of course, a very ‘out there’ statement in its own right, but with discussions about male/female roles and equalities taking place constantly it’s important to approach the subject with caution and ask gender-specific questions such as – who is better at IT-related tasks? Men or women? Are the fairer sex key employees at the likes of Google, Amazon or 100TB or is it really, a man’s world?

This may seem like a strange question, something completely bewildering – after all, there are incredible talents within both sexes – think Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg or COO Sheryl Sandberg who reportedly is raking in a personal fortune of around $1.4 billion. However, this is a debate that’s been present in the technology world for some time, especially when it comes to coding.

Research reveals females make better coders

While there’s been no official scientifically tested study concerning this matter, research by open source program-sharing service GitHub appears to show that female coders are more competent than men. US researchers from the computer science departments at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, and North Carolina State University analysed nearly 1.4 million users of the hub on one single day, April 1 2015, and found that pull requests – or suggested code changes – made on the service by women were more likely to be accepted than those by men. 

In fact, 78.6 per cent of pull changes by made by women were accepted compared with 74.6 of those made by men. Researchers also looked at various factors which could have affected the results such as whether women were responding to ‘known issues’, whether their contributions were shorter and easier to complete and which program language they were using, but they could not find any factor that might considerably alter the results.

Women coders not less-likely to be accepted within the industry

Interestingly, however, the study also revealed that women coders were considered to be better than men – so long as they remained gender neutral. When the woman revealed she was a coder, the general acceptance rate of this fact dropped an astonishing 15 per cent, showing a suspicious or lack or trust towards female coders within the IT industry. In short, while women appear to be great coders, they are more successful if their gender remains unknown which is, of course, rather sad news considered males and females are believed to have more equal rights in this day and age.

Women and IT go hand-in-hand
While there may be some way to go before women are integrated fully into the IT world and recognised for their talents, it’s fair to say the female sex are making great headway with Forbes releasing a full list of the most powerful women in tech. Top companies are now employing women in top positions and the trend only looks set to continue as women become more and more skilled within the technology sector.

So to conclude, it seems the technology world would certainly be nothing without a woman or a girl – watch this space.