Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

Which Countries Have the Most Female Developers?

Written By Ritika Trikha | January 17, 2017

Female developer working on laptop
Update: This article was picked up by Fast Company and Business Insider 

It’s no secret that there’s a gender gap in coding.

Women make up less than a third of the tech talent pool in Silicon Valley. At Google and Facebook, women make up just 17% and 15% of technical positions.

One of the problems could be that recruiters look for talent in the same places — MIT / Stanford — leading to bidding wars for pedigreed candidates and the illusion of a skills shortage, especially among underrepresented groups. When, actually, companies are overlooking thousands of qualified female developers simply because they don’t look good on paper.

We were curious to find out: Where do the best female developers live? We decided to analyze our data of 2M+ developers.

At HackerRank, we create coding challenges to help find top talent and help developers get jobs. Hundreds of thousands of developers from all over the world participate in challenges in a variety of programming languages and knowledge domains, from Python to artificial intelligence to distributed systems.

About 17% of people who have solved HackerRank coding challenges are female. According to our data, India and Italy have the highest percentage of female developers, while women from Belarus, China and Russia score the best. We also found that female developers are unusually likely to take our Java challenges, and are not drawn to our challenges on security or artificial intelligence.

Which country has the largest population of female developers?

We began our analysis with an attempt to assess exactly how many HackerRank test takers are female. Though we don’t collect gender data from our developers, we were able to assign a gender to about 80% of developers based on their first name. (We did not include first names with equal gender distributions, such as Taylor or Riley.)
Percent of Female Test Takers on HackerRank Chart

The vast majority – 82.9% – of developers on HackerRank are male. Though the gender balance is far from equal, it’s significantly more balanced than the 5.8% female StackOverflow survey result.

Next, we looked for trends within countries. Below is a breakdown of the share of female developers from each of the top 50 countries with the most developers on HackerRank. For each of these countries, thousands of developers have participated in a HackerRank challenge.

Chart of Female Developers by Country

What does looking abroad teach us about the gender gap in coding?

For starters, we see further evidence that the United States, which ranks 11th in terms of percentage of female developers and should improve…especially in regards to Java development. In comparison, women in India are growing up with coding stitched a little closer into their culture.

But we also 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.

India, which contributes nearly 40% of HackerRank’s developers, leads the pack with about 23% female developers. Experts have found that India’s education and tech industry culture is more conducive to gender equality in computer programming.

The United States, the second largest contributor of developers, falls just shy of the top 10 with 14.8% female developers. Chile had the lowest representation of women, with fewer than 3% female developers.

When women do take our challenges, which computer programming domains are they particularly drawn to?

The chart below shows the percentage of female test takers for each of our challenges.

Chart of challenges female developers take on HackerRank
Women account for 21% of developers in tutorial and Java challenges. The tutorials domain includes our 30 Days of Code Challenge, which is heavily Java-based. Women spend the least time on artificial intelligence and security challenges.  

Does more female developers mean better female developers?

We looked at women’s average scores on algorithms challenges (which account for more than 40% of all HackerRank tests taken) to find out. Algorithms challenges include sorting data, dynamic programming, searching for keywords, and other logic-based tasks. Scores typically range from 0 to 115 points. We examined the 20 countries with the most female developers in order to have large sample sizes.

Top ranked countries with female developers
Russia’s female developers, who only account for 7.8% of Russian HackerRank developers, top the list with an average score of 244.7 on algorithms tests.

Russia is closely followed by its European counterparts in Italy and Poland. Though India has the largest share of female developers, they rank 18th, with a middling average score of 146.2 points.

Practice coding on HackerRank today. Get Started!

NEXT: Read the 2019 Women in Tech report here.

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