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Females in Programming??

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Uhm, first off, yes I realise that my first post was somehow posted twice, creating two seperate threads. I have no idea how that happened, unless I clicked the Submit button twice without thinking?? Yeah. Sorry. It certainly wasn't deliberate >.< Okay... onto my query... Basically, is gender discrimination a big issue when trying for jobs as a (game) programmer? Does anyone have any idea? Like, do you have to be amazingly outstandingly fabulous to be considered, as a female, or would you get treated pretty much the same as everyone? I know guys at school who get pretty annoyed that I, a girl, come out top in math and physics, the two 'male-orientated' subjects. I'm worried that this mild sexism could be magnified in situations of actually looking for jobs... realistically, is gender discrimination a big issue? If so, how to overcome it? Just checking out every possible problem that could come up, should I go that way as a career path, y'know ^_^ Is it a realistic aspiration to wish to go into game programming, anyway? Having never done any programming before, but wishing to take a university course (bachelor of computer science + math), and prepared to try to learn as much as possible outside of that... like, I'm going to try and get the hang of at least one language (our library has good C# books and a mysterious absense of C++ books - since I'm poor [no job] and can't afford to buy any... guess it's C# for me!!) before I even get to university. Yeah. But. Is it a realistic goal anyway? Hm. All I know is that I'm stubbornly optimistic ^_^;; ~Aquila

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Well, if I was running a company, I wouldn't make a problem of hiring a female programmer.
If she's better than men, why not?


And you shouldn't worry about this. If you are good and you can prove it, you will certainly get employed ;)



007

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>Is it a realistic goal anyway?
Why wouldn't it be? Go for what you like doing - if you have
the right skills, an employer is unlikely to refuse you just
because you are a woman (if he would, he'd be stupid).

Actually last week we had a girl here at our company doing a
review of a part of our project.
I actually found it pleasant to be able to discuss our project
on a technical level with her.

I'd say go for your dreams (and ignore the jealous guys) :)

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Haha, I doubt anyone would turn you down for being female. I'm not qualified to say, but it may well be the opposite. Watch your back though, there is the occasional programmer who's a bit... creepy.

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My girlfriend is a programmer (me to) and she just started an internship. Altough she isnt the best in programming (database's are more her thing), which she said at the interview, they had no problems with hiring her. At school it is a bigger problem, not all people take her serious with the work she does, or her comments are neglected.

The goal is very realistic! Especially if you are optimistic about it. But always be prepared that there could be some guy(s) (or girls, everyone can get jealous) who dont like it! Just ignore them though.. they are not worth your time, just prove them wrong by doing your work outstandingly ;)

Good luck

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Employers are not going to turn you down because you are female. If they think you will fit in and are any good, you'll get employed.

To be honest employers like to be seen as "equal opportunity" employers, so it might even be a plus that you are a woman in a male dominated field.

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We have a couple of female programmers and plenty of female artists at our studio at the moment and they do their work just as well as the guys so I really dont see this is as an issue. I think it has a lot to do with your own attitude rather than anything else. If you go into the interview feeling you're not going to get the job for any reason then the interviewers will likely pick up on this and maybe take it a sign that you're not confident with your own abilities. Just be proffesional, show confidence, treat your potential employers with respect, and dont try and use your gender as leverage. Bottom line is, give yourself a fair chance and you will be given one by others.

As for it being a realistic aspiration I dont see why not. If you take a course in programming you've already got one up on me when I was applying for my first job in the industry since I was completely self tought, but I still made it proffesional. I've always been of the belief that anyone can acheive anything if they have enough drive, focus, and determination, you just have to want it enough to dedicate the time to it that it requires and not give up when things get tough.

Good luck

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I say go for it: if you are the best person for the job, you'll get the job -- that said, I've seen some strange things over the last couple of years as relating to females in our Computer Science faculty...they are few and far between, but on the occasions I've worked with them, some have been really ...awkward about articulating their knowledge. I figure they fall into two categories: 1) Have a decent technical knowledge of problem domain but bad communications skills (or are embarrassed at sounding too smart??)
2) Don't know so much as they should really know about the problem domain.

However, that said, this is a general trend in my school (as far as I can see). I see more and more 'generic' and not very well schooled people coming in. I tutor some people to help them get a leg up on the competition, and it's frightening what people -don't- know :S

Moral of story: anyone can program/analyse a job but there are many levels of skill and ability -- so practice practice pratice, that's what I do. If you are as keen as you say you are, I see no reason why you wouldn't go far :)

~Shiny

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I agree with the person above who said that if anything, it's a benefit, not a hindrance. At least in my country. Unlike many industries, game companies aren't typically run by the crusty Old Boys' Club with a patriarchal outlook; they're generally run by passionate geeks who would love to have more females in the office if they have the correct skills.

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Quote:
Original post by Kylotan
I agree with the person above who said that if anything, it's a benefit, not a hindrance. At least in my country. Unlike many industries, game companies aren't typically run by the crusty Old Boys' Club with a patriarchal outlook; they're generally run by passionate geeks who would love to have more females in the office if they have the correct skills.


I'd like to put a minor "minus" point here. For unknown reasons, a small number of employers tend to think that having a female in an otherwise male dominated company is going to distract the other guys. Such employer can safely be considered as stupid as he don't even trust his employees, so you can move on to another place without any regret. He is just a sexist in disguise.

Regards,

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Generally the reason for the lack of female coders is mainly due to the lack of female coders.... For whatever reason, and I have no idea why this is, very few females seem to take up games programming as a career, especially in the UK. I know there's a few more in other countries, but the UK coding scene is incredibly male dominated.

It's not a discrimination issue as far as I can tell, many HR people would be very happy to take on female applicants if there were any, its simply a very small pool of females who want to get into it, matched against a very large pool of males. But ability and skill are normally the main criteria for hiring, not gender, so if you stand out in the crowd you have a good chance of getting in.

I used to run a small studio, and in the 4 years we were going I only ever had 4 female appilcants for jobs, all artists, never saw one female coder. I'd have been very happy to hire one, had they been qualified but never saw any to make the call.

If you're good enough and want to get into it I say go for it

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Engineering fields in general tend to be male dominated. That includes all the subfields, software engineering, mechanical, electrical, etc.

I think in general you'll find little if any hinderance to hiring women. Infact I know someone who works as a chemical engineer for Merck pharmaceuticals, who is frankly treated like gold, because the company specifically doesn't want to seem like its not offering her opportunities they offer men. Now sometimes even she's admitted that it's rather unfair to the men at the company who may have been then longer and such, but its just the way the company is. And pharmaceutical companies ARE one of the 'old boys club' companies, at a younger game-dev company it should be fine.

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Quote:
Original post by Aquila
I know guys at school who get pretty annoyed that I, a girl, come out top in math and physics, the two 'male-orientated' subjects.



At my school, girls have a higher average grade in every academic course.
So your not alone, at least in a highschool level.

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I just like to point out one thing, in the UK equal opportunities is a requirement for all companies. In the UK, if a company does not employ an equal opportunities policy then they are going against the law. I am pretty sure the US have a similar requirement.

What country are you from?

[Edited by - snk_kid on September 27, 2006 7:11:08 AM]

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Quote:
Original post by Aquila
I know guys at school who get pretty annoyed that I, a girl, come out top in math and physics, the two 'male-orientated' subjects. I'm worried that this mild sexism could be magnified in situations of actually looking for jobs...


Yes, this is definately the heart of the matter, isn't it? I think the mild sexism will be less pronounced in the real world, but of course you'll always have to deal with some people who can't handle a woman doing what they wrongly feel is a "man's" job. And I think most employers will generally avoid that kind of behavior because otherwise you could sue the heck out of them. Really though, money talks. An employer will hire you if you'll make them money. So forgot those lame guys who can't handle an "OMG A GIRL" being better than them.

On the subject of WHY I think things are this way... If I remember correctly certain studies have shown that women generally do better in just about Everything at early childhood compared to males. It isn't until adolescence and beyond that what I figure is probably social conditioning that reverses these roles. Women don't get the kind of support guys do to enter the sciences and engineering. After years and years of 'mild sexism' in school and various media many women who would otherwise be quite capable get turned away to something else. But I was in a Women's Studies class when I learned this stuff so for all I know the teacher used heavily biased research.

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Quote:
Original post by Emmanuel Deloget
Such employer can safely be considered as stupid as he don't even trust his employees, so you can move on to another place without any regret. He is just a sexist in disguise.


I disagree. I would certainly not trust my employees about writing good code, unless they are under double-checking stringent rules (unit testing, programming practices etc). And humans don't even have a genetic programming towards writing bad code. Now, consider the genetic programming towards being distracted by females...


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It is known that having female in a team of any kind of job usually improves performance of the male workers. The reasons for it may lie in the sense of competition, that still applies to any of us even that we are not aware of it and/or have girlfriends/wifes.

So knowing this as a manager I think you would have no problem getting a job, as long as your skills are sufficient for the position you apply for.

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Aquila

If you want a job, live near London Uk AND are a decent dev: email me.
Unfortunately I dont work in a Computer Games Company but we do pretty heavy software stuff (also pretty boring).

I would hire a female dev anytime for as long as she could do her job. Our office is 100% guys though and even though I hired a girl some time ago I had to let her go because she wasnt doing anything right.

I will agree that some Managers think that hiring pretty girls will cause problems because all the hormone driven geeks will stop paying attention and its actually true... then again that happens whenever a girl from Sales or any other department comes in... or there is an interesting show on tv, or anything else.
After a few days even the geekiest of nerds will either realise that the girl isnt interested, get the girl or simply find something else to get interested in (Wii and PS3 are coming out and i suspect that some guys wouldnt even look twice at a gorgeous naked girl rubbing against them if they could get their hands on a new console).

In short... if you are good you will get a job. If you are good looking you will have to put up with all the guys paying loads of attention to you but these days most geeks are actually good looking guys and a pleasure to speak with (hint hint!). Besides... attractive girls always draw attention anywhere they go...

As an aside: If you think that you are being hired just because you are attractive or if a coleague is making offensive remarks or making you feel unconfortable immediatly inform your superior. If he takes no action make a formal statement followed by a direct complaint to an Employment Law Court. Sexual harassment is a serious problem and should be dealt with with the utmost urgency.

by the way, I am willing to read and check up on C.V.s for Dev posts (non game related) anytime. We have no problem hiring interns or post grads. Check my profile for email. Both females and males welcomed.

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equal opportunities means different things in different countries, like here it means if you're a white male in order to get hired you have to be better than all the other candidates by a large margin.

If you're in a place like this being female will work to your advantage(being a visible minority also helps), as if you get compared to an equally capable male they'll most likely take you as it looks better for diversity purposes.

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Quote:
Original post by Aquila
Basically, is gender discrimination a big issue when trying for jobs as a (game) programmer?

Not as far as I know. If anything, women probably have it slightly easier (most people probably prefer a workplace with at least a few people of both genders).
Besides, it always makes the employeer and the workplace look better if they hire more diverse people. (Like said, a lot of countries *require* equal opportunities from all companies, and even if a company could get away with hiring only guys, it'll certainly make them look better if they have one or two girls as well)

But those are secondary considerations. The main thing is usually just your skill. In fact, you might "research" this just by watching the credits when finishing a game. There's usually some female programmers listed. Not exactly a majority, that's true, but there's generally one or two, from what I've seen.

Quote:

I know guys at school who get pretty annoyed that I, a girl, come out top in math and physics, the two 'male-orientated' subjects. I'm worried that this mild sexism could be magnified in situations of actually looking for jobs... realistically, is gender discrimination a big issue? If so, how to overcome it?

No, I can't imagine that being a problem. They just need to grow up. [grin]
Best way to overcome it? Make sure you stay ahead of them. If I had to choose between hiring a skilled, dedicated female programmer, or a less skilled guy who also can't deal with others being better than him, let's just say I don't think I'd have trouble deciding...

Quote:

Is it a realistic aspiration to wish to go into game programming, anyway? Having never done any programming before, but wishing to take a university course (bachelor of computer science + math), and prepared to try to learn as much as possible outside of that... like, I'm going to try and get the hang of at least one language (our library has good C# books and a mysterious absense of C++ books - since I'm poor [no job] and can't afford to buy any... guess it's C# for me!!) before I even get to university.

Sounds good to me. Don't worry too much about which language you start with. No single language will help you that much at university anyway, but just having looked at programming and knowing a bit of what it's all about can be invaluable. And yeah, if you get a degree in computer science (or CS + math is usually even more kick-ass. I know the CS+math people at our uni are damn good programmers usually), and are prepared to spend some of your spare time practicing and learning too, you should come out pretty well equipped to get a job in any area of programming.

At my university, the first language they teach is ML, and one reason is to ensure that everyone start at the same level, because those who already have programming experience have usually only looked at C++ or Java or similar. And in fact, those tend to have an even harder time learning ML than people who are starting from scratch... [grin]
As long as you're willing to put effort into learning at university, it's not too important what you do before you start there.

Quote:

Yeah. But. Is it a realistic goal anyway? Hm. All I know is that I'm stubbornly optimistic ^_^;;

That's probably the most important thing.
Good luck with it.

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Of course it's a realistic aspiration, don't be silly. What I can tell you about university is that when they say no programming experience is required they mean it. I started programming before university, but it's not really needed. They start right from the very start, plenty of resources to help you as well.

If you're good at maths/physics you will love game programming. Marvellous uses of it everywhere(like blowing up spaceships or something).

I noticed from your other threads you're from nz, I might be able to tell you some nz specific stuff.

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Quote:
Original post by eedok
equal opportunities means different things in different countries, like here it means if you're a white male in order to get hired you have to be better than all the other candidates by a large margin.

If you're in a place like this being female will work to your advantage(being a visible minority also helps), as if you get compared to an equally capable male they'll most likely take you as it looks better for diversity purposes.


Where's the raise eyebrow smiley...equal ops means simply that your given an equal chance to achieve your goals....and that people are NOT allowed to refuse you a job, becuase you're female or from a minority group, or disabled or a member of a particular faith.

I assume you're talking about the largley obsolete positive discrimination system. Which was designed to redress the imbalance of minority groups and genders in certain professions.

While effective it led to a bit of a backlash by the largley male/white majority in most places and as such its been replaced by the much more equitable, equal ops policies in place now. Those hired still had to be capable of doing the job however, so superior skills would have overcome a positive discrimination barrier.

There are very few places that practice positive discrimination these days (at least in the UK, it's different elsewhere) unless there is a serious imbalance in the racial/gender ratios that needs to be addressed.

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Quote:
Original post by BloodWarrior
Aquila

If you want a job, live near London Uk AND are a decent dev: email me.
Unfortunately I dont work in a Computer Games Company but we do pretty heavy software stuff (also pretty boring).


That is awesome. Will you still be interested in 4 years time?? I can't believe this place, haha. You guys are all awesome. Kekeke ^_^

Yeah, I know I live in NZ and all. But I was always going to move overseas at some stage after graduation... NZ's pretty boring, really, when you've lived here all your life. And if there's jobs overseas, all so much the better.

Infact, talking about jobs, how DO you get a job if you're a recently graduated CS student? All the programming jobs I see (looking on TradeMeJobs, a NZ job site - not even for game programming, just any programming) want something along the lines of "3+ years experience". I don't know if this is different overseas, or...? It'd be scary to come out of uni with a (NZ) $40k student loan, and no job X.x

Quote:
Original post by FlyingDodo
If you're good at maths/physics you will love game programming. Marvellous uses of it everywhere(like blowing up spaceships or something).

I noticed from your other threads you're from nz, I might be able to tell you some nz specific stuff.


^_^ That'd be great.

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I know thius may do you little good, but my university has a great club to help this..

WICS

Which helps promote women in informations and computer sciences, so it is good to know people ARE working towards it. Also, the Dean of ICS is a woman who is a very strong supporter of this, and we have connections with many big computer names; Microsoft, Google, Apple, Sun, etc., who regularly give speeches specifically for WICS and donate quite a bit of technology and even money.

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Quote:
Original post by Aquila
Yeah, I know I live in NZ and all. But I was always going to move overseas at some stage after graduation... NZ's pretty boring, really, when you've lived here all your life. And if there's jobs overseas, all so much the better.


I spent a couple of years in Germany, and I'd have to say the rest of the world isn't that much more interesting to live in, though some places are quite a bit richer. NZ is a nice place. There's a big difference between visiting a country and living there. Personally, I felt pretty isolated - I had to learn German as fast as possible, and never felt comfortable enough with it to make close friends. But then, I was 10-12 at the time and not all that out going, so your experiance may be entirely different.

EDIT: Oh, and for the moment my solution to the location problem is just doing a little contract work over the web. I'm still at school, so obviously I don't get paid much, but it's a gamedev related start, and proves it's possible.

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