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The 5 most popular programming languages among female developers

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Building a slide deck, pitch, or presentation? Here are the big takeaways:
  • Java, Javascript, C, C++, and Python are the most common programming languages that female developers say they have proficiency in. — HackerRank, 2018
  • Young women today are 33% more likely to study computer science compared with women born before 1983. — HackerRank, 2018

More women are majoring in computer science than in the past, according to HackerRank's 2018 Women in Tech Report, released Thursday. But gender gaps continue to emerge among junior and senior employees in the workforce.

HackerRank surveyed more than 14,000 professional software developers, including about 2,000 women and 12,000 men (respondents who identify as non-binary were excluded from the male-female comparisons).

The good news? Computer science is growing in popularity among young women, the report found. In the past, many female software developers came from a variety of different majors outside of computer science and STEM, while men were more likely to major in computer science. Today, women are 33% more likely to major in computer science compared with women born before 1983.

SEE: IT Hiring Kit: Programmer (Tech Pro Research)

The gender gap in age of learning to code is also shrinking: By the time college students enroll in a CS101 course today, men and women are more likely to start on equal footing than in the past. Specifically, for men and women over age 35, there was a 20% gap between those who began coding before age 16. Today, that gap has shrunk to just 7% difference between men and women.

"As software is increasingly pervasive in our lives, it's more important than ever for builders to be representative of the people we're impacting," Gayle Laakmann McDowell, founder and CEO of CareerCup, wrote in the report. "The gender gap for when developers learn to code is slowly, but surely, shrinking."

Java, JavaScript, C, C++, and Python topped the list of the most common programming languages that female developers said they have proficiency in, the report found. (It did not break down whether or not these top preferences were different for men.) These are the same languages that are most in-demand for roles across the front-end, back-end, and full-stack, according to HackerRank's 2018 Developer Skills Report.

The most popular industries for female developers to work in are technology (53%), finance (11%), and education (5%).

However, across all industries, women are far more likely to be in junior positions than men, regardless of their age, the report found. Women over age 35 are 3.5x more likely to be in junior positions than men. The survey did not specify when these women started their career, or their level of education—however, it is interesting that women appear to either be starting their careers later, or are generally stuck in junior positions, the report noted.

"Hiring managers have an opportunity to accelerate change for a more equal field," the report stated. "Whether it's reducing unconscious bias from the hiring process, providing more women with clear pathways to promotion and leadership positions, or creating more inclusive policies and workplaces...managers have the power to drive change."

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