I Admit, Women Are Better At Programming Than Men

Maybe this is a million-dollar question:

Are Men better at Programming than Women?

Let the statistics speak first. According to global software developer survey in 2021, the vast majority of developers are the male gender, which contains 92% of all respondents. Female developers are only about 5% of all respondents.

Demonstrating the male-dominating reality of the software engineering job, Female software engineers are outnumbered. But the question is, are these 5% better than their male colleagues?

A group of computer scientists, when studying the acceptance of contributions on the software repository GitHub (very popular developer site), found open-source code written by women is actually more often approved than code written by men.

An iconic photo of Margaret standing next to the printouts of Apollo 11 software at MIT in 1969. Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

Now, let me introduce you Margaret Hamilton — A Pioneer American computer scientist & software engineer who played a key role in writing NASA software that made the moon landing possible.

Margaret was the Director of the Software Engineering Division for the Apollo 11 moon-landing mission. She led a team in writing the onboard software for command & lunar modules. She included crucial fail-safe checkpoints of error detection & recovery in the program. Thus ensuring the safe landing & return of astronauts from their 1st-ever journey to the moon in 1969, creating history.

“The space mission software had to be man-rated. Not only did it have to work, it had to work the first time. Not only did the software itself have to be ultra-reliable, it needed to be able to perform error detection and recovery in real time.” — Margareth Hamilton

I’ve been in 3 years in Software Engineering field, I have worked with both women and men. I’ve seen really gifted females and males do software engineering jobs. Here are some things I have noticed:

  1. Men were more power-hungry so it’s some kind of being a mentor and protector of your position at the same time because they sometimes try to dethrone you (this is serious, some male developers try to undermine by all means).
  2. When having large projects, it’s critical to be prompt and efficient. IMO for this, both women and men can perform well.
  3. Creativity in terms of code. A new study from music researchers has found that women are engaged in creative fields like art, music, and literature at higher rates and are generally more creative than men. The same goes with writing codes.
  4. Attention to detail. It’s crucial and I think both women and men can pay close attention to details. But according to my experience, for this point I will give credit to women.
  5. Team Work. In many ways, I have seen females are more people-oriented than men. Collaboration is sometimes a problem for male programmers, I admit it. Maybe you are the best developer in the world, but if you aren’t a team player, your chances of getting a steady tech job are not good.

So, who is the winner? hahaha.

Conclusion

Let me give alternative answers from this discussion in Quora, Claudia Doppioslash, Game Developer & Functional Programmer, have the closest answer.

Depends on the men and the women. She said comparing jobs from a gender perspective is an unlogic question, that assumes there is such a thing as the collective “women” and the collective “men”. If we try to compare like that, We’re looking for a stereotype, not reality.

The facts, the reality is more complex and can’t be simplified to that level without pretty much degenerating into utter bollocks.

There are billions of people in the world.

Billions of people. Each with their culture, their personality, their opinions, their individuality, their beliefs, and their skills. Try really hard to imagine all of them moving around living their lives right now until your brain overheats.

Billions of people, each one is a human, an individual, each was born with a brain, and barring learning disabilities, each is capable of learning to program.

Excellence mostly depends on the willingness to put in the ridiculous amount of hours needed to become well experienced.

Some people don’t have a logical bone in their body, and they’re going to find programming very hard to grasp. Unlogic people are born anywhere, of every color, gender, or culture.

In the end

Based on my previous experience, I really admit that my female colleagues are better than me in programming, they are such badass. And Margaret Hamilton is my favorite female person in the programming field.

Lego figurine of Margaret Hamilton from Women in NASA series. Image Source: Lego website

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