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.
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 help companies find developers based on coding skills. Also, hundreds of thousands of developers from all over the world solve challenges on HackerRank to practice, compete and get jobs.
About 17% of people who have solved HackerRank coding challenges are female. According to HackerRank data, India and Italy have the highest percentage of female developers, while women from Belarus, China and Russia score the best. Click to Tweet.
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.
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.)
The vast majority - 82.9% - of developers on HackerRank are male. Though the gender balance is far from equal, it’s a significantly more balanced than the 5.8% female StackOverflow survey result.
We also narrowed our data to just last year and found that 24% of developers on HackerRank were women in 2016.
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.
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.
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.
So, 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.
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 9th, with a middling average score of 146.2 points.
So what does looking abroad teach us about the gender gap in coding?
It's interesting to 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.