Women are projected to account for 51% of total labor growth by 2018. But there’s one industry in particular where their visibility is at risk: computer science. A recent study revealed that women make up only 18% of all computer science majors. This is down from 37% in 1984.
There are many theories as to why fewer women are choosing to enter the computer science field, such as a lack of interest and a male-dominated culture. But as in other industries, research has shown that computer science benefits from more diversity. So to improve the visibility of women, organizations such as Girls Who Code have been working with universities and organizations to create a more inclusive environment as well as work with female students to spark their interest in learning more.
Here are four reasons why women should consider pursuing a computer science degree:
Be a part of the change
Want a career in something where you’ll be helping people? Computer scientists have been part of some of the biggest innovations that have changed lives all over the world. They’ve brought struggling industries back to life, created unprecedented opportunities for those living in underprivileged countries, improved access to education, and more.
By majoring in computer science, you’ll give yourself the opportunity to be a direct part of this change. Whether it’s creating a platform to track research on disease, monitoring changes in the environment, or building a micro-financing platform to raise funds for budding entrepreneurs in third world countries, women can help make the world a better place through computer science.
Show off your creativity
As it’s a STEM field, computer science isn’t usually referred to as a “creative” major. But in fact, computer science is more than just coding and analytics. It requires quite a bit of creative thinking and problem solving as well.
Programming and coding are just tools that computer scientists use. They spend much of their time thinking through problems and coming up with unique solutions for them. With a degree in computer science, you’ll work on projects that will require you to start from scratch and stretch your imagination to explore new ideas and create innovative solutions that solve real-world problems.
Create something you’d actually want to use
Research has consistently shown that women make up the majority of purchase decisions, even as much as 85%. In fact, it’s estimated they control up to $20 trillion globally each year! Moreover, more than half of users of technology are women themselves. Women tend to download more music, make more online purchases, and even play more online games than men do.
So it makes sense for companies to have women who can offer a better perspective of what consumers may be looking for. Women can have the opportunity to create more meaningful products and services that are attractive to others.
Help women become more visible
In any industry, having positive and inspiring role models to look up to is key. And this is certainly true in computer science where women have consistently been underrepresented. CEO and founder of Girls Who Code Reshma Saujani recently said, “I think for girls, you cannot be what you cannot see”.
As more women enter into computer science, it sends a signal to other girls and women that they too belong in the industry. They can more clearly see the opportunities for themselves and begin to become more engaged.
Looking for a computer science program that’s right for you? Check out the Top Computer Science Programs for Women.
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