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Women in Tech

Emergence of Gen Z

Insights based on 12,211 women developers


From the newest discoveries in medicine to the latest advances in renewable energy, software is touching every aspect of people's lives across the globe. Given this, it's vital that the creators of software are as diverse as the populations that will be affected by their work.

For anyone, especially talent leaders like myself, who is invested in building and empowering more diverse teams, HackerRank's 2nd annual Women in Tech report is an invaluable resource.

After surveying more than 12,000 developers who identify as women, we've found eye-opening insights, particularly about Gen Z women (those born from 1997 onward). Our findings will help you better understand Gen Z women developers' skillsets, motivations, and job interests. Unlike other generations, Gen Z women are digital natives — because of this, their interests and values are different from those who came before them. 

For years, we've only been discussing Millennials in the workplace but 2019 will be the first year where members of Gen Z will enter the job market en masse. It's now time for us to focus on supporting the next generation of coders who will transform the world!

We'd love to hear your thoughts on the report and how you're working to build and engage diverse teams. Feel free to tweet us @HackerRank or send us an email at

Maria Chung
VP of People


Gen Z women learned how to code and do algebra at the same time

Gen Z women are coding at a younger age than generations before them — almost 1 out of 3 Gen Z women learned to code before they were 16 years old, compared to 18% of women from previous generations.

This can be explained by a rise in the number of educational opportunities that expose more women to coding at an increasingly younger age. Given the rising need for software engineers, schools have begun to offer coding as part of their curricula and the number of organizations dedicated to teaching children to code after school or during the summers has grown. In fact, in the UK and Australia, the fundamentals of coding are now a mandatory part of school curriculums for students as young as 5 years old.

Age women started coding


Speaking their language: Gen Z Women know 2 of 3 languages employers want

As Gen Z women prepare to enter the workforce, they have most of the technical skills that hiring managers look for: JavaScript, Java, and Python proficiency. While half of Gen Z women know JavaScript, the majority of them know Java and Python.

Gen Z women have similar proficiences in comparison to Gen Z men. Half of Gen Z men also don’t know JavaScript. There are slight differences: More Gen Z women know Java (72%) than Gen Z men (66%) and more Gen Z men (63%) know Python than Gen Z women (59%).

C and C++ also topped the list for women and men under 22 years old. This is likely because C and C++ are some of the first languages taught to students when they are introduced to coding.

Language proficiencies hiring managers seek

Languages Gen Z women and men know


And plan on quickly closing the gap for languages not known

59% of hiring managers are looking for JavaScript proficiency. And while only 50% of Gen Z women know it, 35% of remaining Gen Z women are planning to learn it this year.

Currently, women in this generation also don’t meet hiring managers’ needs for C# and Go, but they are working hard to bridge that gap — 42% will be learning C# and 34% will be picking up Go this year.

Languages Gen Z women will learn and languages they know


Gen Z women value prestigious company brands twice as much as previous generations

Developers of all ages and gender identities consider professional growth and learning to be the most important aspect of a job.

However, Gen Z women are twice as likely to seek out an employer with a prestigious brand as women from previous generations: 14% of women who are 21 years old or younger think it’s important for their future employer to have a prestigious company brand while only 7% of women from previous generations feel the same. This is likely because as digital natives — 25% of them had smartphones before the age of 10 — they have spent most of their lives surrounded by, and engaging with, prestigious digital brands like Apple, Snap, and Twitter

Gen Z women also prioritize competitive compensation differently than previous generations — 26% of the latter consider compensation an important factor in a job while only 16% of Gen Z consider it important. This can be explained by the fact that most Gen Z women currently do not have the same financial obligations that their older counterparts do, and can thus move compensation lower on their list of priorities in favor of other factors like company prestige. This might change as more and more Gen Z women enter the workforce and progress in their careers.

What women developers look for in a job


Lack of interview prep is one of the biggest turnoffs

Like all developers, lack of clarity around open roles is the biggest deal-breaker for Gen Z women and men when interviewing for internships and jobs. However, Gen Z is new to the job market and has limited interviewing experience, which most likely explains why both Gen Z women (47%) and men (45%) are particularly turned off by employers who don't adequately prepare candidates for what to expect during the interview process. In fact, most new grads feel unprepared for job interviews: 66% of university students say they don’t feel ready for interviews.

What turns Gen Z developers off from employers

Future of Tech

Gen Z women are less confident in Silicon Valley's future

Silicon Valley was the #1 choice overall for the global center of tech in 5 years for women developers in all regions except Asia-Pacific. However, Gen Z women across all regions are less likely than previous generations to believe that Silicon Valley will remain the epicenter of tech. A declining interest in Silicon Valley could be due to the rising cost of living, which is forcing entrepreneurs and company headquarters to relocate.

Notably, for Gen Z women across all regions, Shanghai was a top choice for the next big global tech hub. Recently China been strongly focusing on turning Shanghai into a global center of innovation, which is most likely why many are starting to see the country as home to the next big tech hub. In fact, China had more venture capital money invested in startups than the United States in 2018.

Asian-Pacific Gen Z women also believe that Bengaluru has a high chance of becoming the center of tech in 5 years. Bengaluru’s appeal is most likely due to the fact that the number of software developers in India is growing at such a rapid rate that the country is projected to have the largest population of developers in the world by 2023. Bengaluru is also home to the largest number of tech startups in India and third largest in the world.

Where women think the global tech hub will be in 5 years

Key Takeaways


Recognize that Gen Z women are digital natives

What worked with Millennials, Gen X, and Baby Boomers will not work with Gen Z since they’re the only generation born into the age of the internet and they’re learning to code at a younger age than those before them.


Talk about what problems new hires will be solving

Get Gen Z women excited to work for your company by highlighting the interesting challenges that they’ll encounter, how they’ll be making an impact with their work, and how the company will help them grow their skills.


Focus on your tech talent brand

Given how digitally savvy they are and how important company brands are to Gen Z women, it’s imperative for you to build a tech talent brand and have a multi-channel strategy to attract new technical talent.


Let candidates know what to expect during the interview process

From your initial conversations with candidates, make sure you and your hiring manager clearly outline what the role is and how your company will be conducting interviews with candidates.


Talk about what problems new hires will be solving

Get Gen Z women excited to work for you by highlighting the interesting challenges that they’ll encounter, how they’ll be making an impact in the company, and how it will help them grow their skills.


Keep in mind that not all candidates are interested in working in Silicon Valley

Gen Z women are starting to look at different cities around the world as potential locations to work in so it’s important for employers to consider options like remote work.


A total of 12,211 developers who identified as women from over 100 countries took the online survey from November 5 to November 27, 2018. Survey takers who were 21 years old or younger are categorized as belonging to Gen Z in this report.

The survey was hosted by SurveyMonkey and HackerRank recruited respondents via email from their community of over 5 million members and through social media sites. 

Tests of significant differences were conducted at the .01 level (99% probability that the difference is real, not by chance). Percentages may not always add to 100% due to rounding.

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