How Gen Z Could Fill the Skills Gap
Written by Janet Swift   
Wednesday, 27 March 2019

HackerRank's Women in Tech 2019 report focuses attention on Gen Z women, born from 1997 onwards. As they are reaching their early twenties, they are beginning to enter the workforce en masse. 

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The much publicized skills gap for the information age would shrink enormously if there were as many women as men joining the developer community in a professional capacity. There are indications that girls are becoming more interested in STEM, including Computer Science, in school and it is to be hoped that this will some materialize into more women in computing jobs, and more equality between men and women in pay and prestige.

The 2019 HackerRank survey, which we've already reported on, was hosted by SurveyMonkey and took place online from November 5 to November 27, 2018. It attracted over 70,000 developers from over 100 countries, including a total of 12,211 developers who identified as women.  Survey takers who were 21 years old or younger are categorized as belonging to Gen Z in this new 2019 Women In Tech Report.  

For HackerRank a key characteristic of Gen Z is that they're the only generation so far to have been born into the age of the internet and they’re learning to code at a younger age than those before them, as visualized in this chart which compares Gen Z women to older women: 

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HackerRank comments:

Almost 1 out of 3 Gen Z women learned to code before they were 16 years old, compared to 18% of women from previous generations.

This can be explained by a rise in the number of educational opportunities that expose more women to coding at an increasingly younger age. Given the rising need for software engineers, schools have begun to offer coding as part of their curricula and the number of organizations dedicated to teaching children to code after school or during the summers has grown. In fact, in the UK and Australia, the fundamentals of coding are now a mandatory part of school curriculums for students as young as 5 years old.

As for our report on the full 2019 HackerRank survey it's the findings about the programming languages that developers know and the ones they want to learn that are of interest.

As HackerRank is a hiring platform the language proficiencies that hiring manager seek are reported first.

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HackerRank comments:

As Gen Z women prepare to enter the workforce, they have most of the technical skills that hiring managers look for: JavaScript, Java, and Python proficiency. While half of Gen Z women know JavaScript, the majority of them know Java and Python.

The report also uses the data on Gen Z men in order to comment on slight gender differences:

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More Gen Z women know Java (72%) than Gen Z men (66%) and more Gen Z men (63%) know Python than Gen Z women (59%).

C and C++ also topped the list for women and men under 22 years old. This is likely because C and C++ are some of the first languages taught to students when they are introduced to coding.

 

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(click in image to enlarge)

Although only 50% of Gen Z women know JavaScript, since it is the most sought after skill be hiring managers, 35% of those who don't already know it plan to learn it this year. C# comes top in languages to learn (over 40%), because fewer than 20% already know it. At the other end of the scale only 10% plan to learn C - because over 80% already know it, Java, known by 72%, is on the learning list of another 21%, which means that over 90% of Gen Z women see this very mainstream languages as a useful skill for their generation.

 

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More Information

2019 Women In Tech Report

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Last Updated ( Wednesday, 27 March 2019 )