Archive for June 15, 2011

Programming is for boys

Programming is for boys.

This is a response to Alfred Thompson’s post

Programming is for girls.

That men are logical women are emotional is a standard fact.
MSNBC Report

Programming is all about mathematics, mathematics is logic. The reason men thrived more in coding is because of their innate logical nature. For a man, 1 + 1 is always equal 2. For a woman, well…it depends. The first mathematicians are programmers or vice versa, which makes sense to find more women in coding back then, but over time, we didn’t push them off, they left themselves.

This is the same reason there are more men in mathematics now than women.

Women have been competing with men in quite a number of fields, but not in programming. The few here are rather leaving.

The reason why boys spent more hours in the computer center and still have lower grades was because of pacman. I remembered my experience, while we (boys) spent a lot of time on pacman, the girls just come on, do their assignments and leave. Then after hours of pacman, 30mins to the close of the lab, we hurriedly put something together and we get a B instead of an A. Some geniuses among us even manage to get an A.

But pacman was good. At a point we began to think, wouldn’t it be nice to have a pacman that can shoot bombs or guns at the enemy indefinetly? oh, this pacman is becoming boring, there should be a way to build walls so that enemies can’t come close, etc etc. These kind of thoughts gave birth to our interests in computer programming. One of the reasons I decided to learn how to program was because I wanted to play nintendo gameboy on my computer (I couldn’t afford one). Of course we often don’t get to complete such projects, but they birth the interests in us. Today it is still difficult to find a woman who is very good at computer games, for boys, it is almost natural.

For me it is pacman, for some other boys, it is some other form of distractions, but the key point here is, if the boys attack their projects the same way the girls do, they definitely will also have good grades. In school, I know of guys who don’t attend classes and still do well, do very well at academics. I don’t know of such women. The funny thing is those boys who don’t attend classes might not do well like the girls at academics, but at practicals, which is what coding is all about, they do very very well. They might not be able to define a turing machine like the course manual defines it, or tell you what normalization is, but they can code well.

Boys are not planners, most of us are like that. Women are natural planners, but boys are logical. Planning will get you past R&D, logic will build the code. People who plan generally become managers, not programmers. Planning will help you write a program that conforms to specs, not generally a good program. Planning is good, but not all that there is to programming. All good programmers are inquisitive (daring) which is generally not a woman’s thing. Focus is another key, most programmers can transfer that same focus that make them excel at pacman to their code. A man could focus on the TV so much that he won’t hear the kids fighting, a woman couldn’t. This un-divided attention contributes to some of the things that make men good/better programmers than women. There are other things that make a good programmer and planning is one of them, but not planning is not ALL.

Of course there is always a midpoint, where you find a good programmer who is a woman and a good planner who is a man. But generally, I think women should be more of managers than programmers.


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