Women in Tech: Comparison Between Women and Men Developers

Women in the StackOverFlow Developer Survey 2020

Photo by ThisisEngineering RAEng on Unsplash

It is well-known that there is a gender gap between women and men in the tech industry. Instead of trying to analyze why it is the case, as someone who is enthusiastic to be a part of the tech industry, I think it would be interesting to explore the data and learn more about women in tech.

I’m particularly interested to analyze and compare the job types, preference, and background between men and women developers, as well as how it translates into their salary. How’s their answer compared to each other? Are there any starking difference/similarities?

By looking and exploring the StackOverflow Developer Survey 2020, it might give us a better understanding of women in tech.

What Are the Education Background and Undergraduate Major of Women Developers? How About Their Age Distribution?

Education Level

The above figure shows that most women and men have Bachelor’s degree as their highest (formal) education level.

Among women developers, 51% of women developers have a Bachelor’s degree, 25% have a Master’s degree, and 3.9% have a Doctoral degree, while for man, it is 45%, 22%, 2.8% respectively. It suggests that more women in tech have a higher education degree compared to men.

In addition, it can be observed that, among men, there are more men developers without a college degree or who have secondary school as their highest degree compared to women. Is it somewhat easier for men to get into the field?

Undergraduate Major

The above figure shows that the top 3 undergraduate major for women are: Computer Science (52%), followed by Information System (7.4%) and Natural Science (6.7%). While for men, it’s Computer Science (63%), Another Engineering (9.5%), and Information System (7.8%).

Interestingly, women have a higher percentage of various background that is not programming-related such as from Natural Science background (6.7%), Humanities discipline (5.6%), and Social Science (4.8%) compared to men (4.2%, 1.6% and 1.5% respectively). This suggests that breaking into the field may not need a tech-related degree or background.


The above figure shows that the age range for both woman and man is between 21 and 31 years old, and the woman has a higher percentage (57%) in that range than the man (49%). However, the age of 9.4% men developers are between 41–50 y.o, while only 7% of women are in that range.

Curiously, man has a higher percentage between 11–20 y.o (8.5%) while woman only 5.7%. Since this survey results include students who are learning to code, the latter may show that more men start to code earlier than women.

What are the popular developer types among women and men?

Based on the figure above, for women and men, the developer type is dominated by the back-end, full-stack and front-end developer.

From those 3, front-end developers (15%) and full-stack developer (18%) are more popular among women than men. Woman also has a higher percentage of data-related jobs such as data scientist/machine learning specialist (3.8%) and data or business analyst (3.5%), but there is almost no difference between man and woman for the data engineer job.

Whereas among men, more men prefers a desktop developer (7.6%), DevOps (3.9%) and system administrator (3.4%) jobs.

What are the popular programming languages among women and men?

The figures above indicates that there is a similar pattern of the programming language choices by women and men. Lots of women and men use JavaScript (14% men and 13% women) and HTML/CSS (14% men and 12% women).

Additionally, languages with the higher percentage among women compared to men are JavaScript, HTML/CSS, SQL, R, Python and Java. The high percentage of SQL and R corresponds with the type of women developers since more women also prefer data analyst or data scientist/machine learning spealist jobs.

While some languages with the higher percentage of men compared to women include Bash/Shell/PowerShell, C#, and C.

How does women and men salary differ between each other?

Developer Type

The figure above shows the difference in salary between woman and man according to their developer type. It is pretty clear that Senior Executive Job has the highest median for both woman and man. Interestingly, woman has a higher median salary and wider range in this position ($132k), Engineering Manager($111k), and Site Reliability Engineer ($91k) .

Despite the popularity of full-stack, front-end developers, data scientist or data analysis jobs among women, the median salary is lower (59%, 51%, 56% and 53% respectively) than those jobs previously mentioned.

Other than that, the rest of the median salary for each developer type is quite similar between woman and man, with some exception such as woman median salary ($45k) is considerably lower than men ($56k) for embedded application or devices developer job.

Programming Language

Based on the figure above, women who use Go, Scala and Perl have the highest median salary. Women who work with Go and Dart ($85k and $48k) earn more than man ($71k and $36k) eventhough the percentage of men who use both language is higher. However, women who use Rust, Objective-C, Swift, VBA, C++, and Assembly have lower median salary than men.

Similar to developer type, the more popular language such as JavaScript, HTML/CSS, SQL as well as Python bring less money compared to the less popular ones, but the median is similar between women and men.

In general, this might show that the ones who use less popular language are more likely to earn more.

Education Level

Women who have doctoral degree ($69k) have the highest median salary and have close median with men ($71k), followed by Bachelor’s degree and Master’s degree. So, having higher education have the tendecy to earn more.

Althogh the range is quite different, but the median is quite close between women who have Bachelor ($58k), Master ($54k) or Associate degree ($51k). Another interesting thing that can be seen is that men who don’t have higher degree, such as who never completed any formal education, tend to earn more than women. Looking back to the previous finding, men without a higher degree are more prevalence than women, and they are paid more too.

Years of Coding Experience (Professional)

The figure shows that women who have > 31 years of experience tend to earn more (also applied for men) and women tend to have higher median salary and a higher range for experience between 31–35 years. Basically, if you have more experience, you tend to earn more.

An interesting exception from the data is that there is only one median salary for women with experience > 50 years, although from before, at least there is more than 100 women who are > 50 y.o. Does this mean women usually start later to code? We can’t really conclude from this one occurrence, and further digging into the data is needed.

Conclusion and Final Thought

We’ve looked at the StackOverFlow Developer survey 2020 that shows us differences and similarities of women and men developers that can help us understand the developer community better. Although women only represents approximately 5% of respondents in this survey, it’s definitely worth to look at. Here are the summary of the finding of women in tech:

  • Women developers mostly have Bachelor’s degree as their highest education level and women tend to have a higher degree than men. Mostly, women have Computer Science major and have a more various background depicted by their major (e.g., from Natural Science or Social Science) than men. Mainly, women and men developers are between 21–30 years old.
  • The popular developer type for women are full-stack, front-end developer, and back-end developer. This is similar to men. But data scientist and data analyst jobs are tend to be more popular in women.
  • The popular language used by women developers are JavaScript, HTML/CSS, SQL, which is also the same for men. Additionally, R is also quite popular among women.
  • Women senior executive, engineering manager, and SRE earn the highest and they earn more than men too! Women who use Go earn the highest (and higher than men), followed by those who use Scala and Perl. This shows that the less popular developer type and language tend to earn more.
  • Higher education level is affecting salary for both women and men. Although it seems like there is no significant difference between having Bachelor/Master/Associate degree.
  • Women with more than 30 years of experience tend to earn more than men.

Overall, there is no starking difference of the salary between women and men with similar preference, job type, and background, which means that women get the same appreciation as men. The finding also suggests that women in tech, even though known to underrepresented, tend to be more educated, can get into the field with various background, and earn more in executive/manager level!

Keep in mind that this is from observational only and we can still explore so much more from this data.

For all aspiring women developers, are you excited to get into this field?

Check my Github for the code and more analysis, and graph. Thanks for reading!

A struggling generalist who likes to play with data and is fascinated about the merging of healthcare and tech