What it’s like pursuing Computer Science as a woman
‘Out of all the classes I’ve taken, there were less than 10 girls’
Technology has become a part of our daily lives and is all around us. Despite this, there aren’t many women involved in its creation and development.
Hunter College is made up of mostly women, who comprise around 64 percent of the approximate 16,000 undergraduates. Out of this percentage though, there aren’t many women majoring in Computer Science.
According to the National Center for Women & Information Technology, 57 percent of undergraduates’ degrees in the US in 2012 were earned by women, but only 18 percent of undergraduate women earn Computer and Information Sciences degrees. The number diminishes further for female high school students with only 0.4 percent expressing an interest in pursuing a Computer Science major.
Anne Liang, a sophomore, is interested in pursuing a Computer Science major.
She told The Tab: “My teacher influenced me by introducing us to programs and games rather than teaching straight from the book. I got really interested.”
Currently in her fourth Computer Science class, Anne is fascinated by coding. “When I look at a code, I want to do know what everything does. Everything put together into one thing. It looks awesome.”
Passion is what motivates Anne to continue enrolling in Computer Science classes at Hunter, but even in high school she was eager to learn. “Before I even got into a computer programming class I snuck in whenever I was free and learned there. They never noticed me, but it was pretty fun.”
Throughout the US there have been computer programs created to help promote interest in Computer Science such as Girls Who Code and the co-ed program, Generation Technology.
Anne has been involved in Generation Technology. “Without my high school teacher I wouldn’t have known about so many opportunities like Girls Who Code. I didn’t go to it but I was so interested.
“I got into Generation Tech. We did coding with any program language for an app that could help the community. It was fun and worth it.”
Although she wasn’t part of Girls Who Code, she’s aware of the program. “Society wants to increase the amount of women in Computer Science, that’s why there’s Girls Who Code. It’s really useful. They program using Python. The girls in there really love coding and gaming, but at Hunter there aren’t a lot of women involved. It’s as if women want to do it but they’re just too scared.”
Now at Hunter, Anne definitely sees a sharp contrast between the amount of men and women in her computer science classes.
“Out of all the classes I’ve taken, there were less than 10 girls. Less than 10 girls but all of them seemed more passionate about computer science than the men. At the same time the vast amount of men intimidate the women.”
Anne doesn’t feel discouraged by the large amount of men or the coursework. But this isn’t the case for the few women in the major.
“There was a girl who wanted to do Computer Science too so I didn’t feel alone. We would talk to each other and make things fun. She was with me for a few weeks, she couldn’t take the stress. She dropped out of the class and changed her major.”
Currently Anne is working as a webmaster for NYCIM. Although she hasn’t officially declared her Computer Science major, she’s still loves it. She is currently weighing the option of double majoring in Computer Science and Education. By doing both, Anne can teach the future generation of girls coding. If she does decide to declare Computer Science as a major, she hopes to use it towards game or software development after graduation.