Where to Find Top Women Coders
Written by Janet Swift   
Tuesday, 17 January 2017

We are made constantly aware of the gender gap in software development. The profession is so male dominated as to be a deterrent to many potential entrants, both male and female. HackerRank has now done an analysis of the data it collects through the programming contests to reveal which country has the most skilled female developers.


As its name suggests HackerRank runs coding challenges and assigns scores based on a combination of accuracy and speed. We've already reported its findings on Which Universities Have the Best Coders and the results of its quest to find the country with the best developers. Now HackerRank turns the spotlight onto the gender gap in coding.

HackerRank doesn't ask for the gender of participants in its contests and so relied on first names for distinguishing between males and females for its data analysis. After discarding unclassifiable names and those with equal gender distributions they we able to assign a gender to about 80% of its users and found that only 17% were female, noting:

Though the gender balance is far from equal, it’s a significantly more balanced than the 5.8% female StackOverflow survey result. 

Seventeen percent female participation on HackerRank is likely to underestimate the number of woman programming professionals. However it is a useful basis for making comparisons between countries.

Looking at the geolocation statistics, only five countries of the 50 with the most developers on HackerRank have an above average number of female developers. Top of the list is the country that contributes nearly 40% of HackerRank users overall, India, with 23%. United Arab Emirates and Romania come next with 21%, closely followed by China (20%) and Sri Lanka (19%).



The United States, with 15%, falls just outside the top 10 countries, while the UK with10% is 23rd in the list. Half the top 50 countries have a proportion of women less than 10% and the bottom five are Hungary 5%, Argentina and Czech Republic 4%, Denmark and Chile 3%.

HackerRank next looked at the type of challenges popular with female contestant and found a preference for mainstream topics with Java, SQL and C++ topping the list and AI and Security at the very bottom:




HackerRank comments:

Women account for 21% of users in tutorial and Java challenges. The tutorials domain includes our 30 Days of Code Challenge, which is heavily Java-based.

It also suggests that women participants on HackerRank are relatively novice programmers.

The final analysis presented by HackerRank was to discover which country has he best female developers, restricting the search to the 20 countries with the most female users in order to maximize sample size. They looked at women’s average scores on algorithms challenges, which account for more than 40% of all HackerRank tests taken and in which 17% of participants are female. Scores on these tests, which include sorting data, dynamic programming, searching for keywords, and other logic-based tasks, typically range from 0 to 115 points, although they can reach as high as 10,000. 



Russia, which came top in Algorithms challenges in HackerRank's quest for the country with the top developers reported last  August, now tops the women's list. Similarly Poland which had the 3rd position in that table occupies it again. Italy is the surprise inclusion as runner up. 

Despite having the largest quantity of female developers India is only just above the midpoint in terms of quality. However Indian women do better than their male counterparts as India ranked only 31st out of 50 in the previous report.

This is in keeping with HackerRank's parting conclusion:

[We] see an encouraging sign for women who find themselves working in a male-dominated industry. Relatively few women in Belarus, China, and Russia participate in coding challenges. But their female developers - despite these challenges - are still crushing it.


hackerrank logo

More Information


Which Country Has the Most Skilled Female Developers?

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Last Updated ( Tuesday, 17 January 2017 )