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Comment: Re:Boys are naturally curious... (Score 1) 602

by buddyglass (#48243749) Attached to: Solving the Mystery of Declining Female CS Enrollment
Interesting. At the university I attended, a top 25 state school, the College of Engineering school was much harder to get into (and stay in) than the College of Natural Sciences, i.e. where you'd be if you were pre-med, or the Business School, i.e. where you'd be if you were studying finance. In terms of post-university "prestige", though, "Doctor" and "Investment Banker" both beat "Civil Engineer".

Comment: Re:Boys are naturally curious... (Score 1) 602

by buddyglass (#48241541) Attached to: Solving the Mystery of Declining Female CS Enrollment
Yeah, my guess is that most high ability female high school graduates with C.S./Calculus exposure who don't eventually get a degree in C.S./Math/Engineering/Physics end up in finance or pre-med.

That said, given your wife hated programming, why did she gravitate toward pre-med (and then finance) instead of, say, Mathematics or Physics? Or one of the non-programmy engineering disciplines, e.g. Civil? Was it mainly about the money, with medical and finance careers likely to have a higher payout for someone of your wife's ability level? Or was there something about "doing medicine" and/or "doing finance" that was more intellectual interesting than "doing Computer Science", "doing Math", "doing Physics" or "doing Engineering"?

I obviously don't know your wife, but it sounds like she wasn't interested in academia, which is going to be the end-game for many Math and Physics graduates who don't eventually end up doing some sort of coding. Given that, I can see why she avoided Math, Physics and C.S. But the non-coding Engineering professions seem like they might have been a viable option. Again, though, money's better in medicine and finance.

Comment: Re:Boys are naturally curious... (Score 1) 602

by buddyglass (#48239543) Attached to: Solving the Mystery of Declining Female CS Enrollment
Here's what I would love to see. Take the set of graduates in a given year from some set of universities. Say, AAU member universities. Identify the graduates who, as high school seniors, met a certain SAT/ACT threshold, with a higher threshold in math, and who also took at least one C.S. or Calculus course in high school. Let's call this set "students who, upon graduating high school, were potential C.S. majors".

First question: what percentage of this set are women? Probably less than 50% given the way it was constructed, but probably higher than 18%, which is percentage of women earning C.S. degrees. Now, take the subset of the women from this set who did not earn a C.S., Math, Engineering or Physics degree, and ask them why they didn't pursue one of those fields. I suspect their answers might be interesting. This a group that, on paper, was not disadvantaged either in ability or exposure to C.S./Math. In fact, it's a set whose interest in C.S./Math is likely to be higher than average since C.S./Calculus are almost never required to graduate high school. So, in high school at least, the members of this set showed some interest in C.S./Math. Why, then, did they choose not to pursue either at university? On an aggregate level, what did they pursue instead?

Another interesting avenue of research might be to look at those silly Myers-Briggs personality types. Come up with an expected % of C.S./Math/Engineering/Physics for each type based on actual real-world data. Then examine whether certain types that produce a disproportionate number of workers in those fields are overrepresented among male high school seniors vs. female high school seniors. I'm guessing this would explain some (but not all) of the gender gap in C.S./Math/Engineering/Physics. As an example, maybe it's the case that there are just way more male INTPs than female INTPs and the INTP type tends to disproportionately favor those fields.

Comment: Re:Boys are naturally curious... (Score 1) 602

by buddyglass (#48239307) Attached to: Solving the Mystery of Declining Female CS Enrollment
Yeah. I don't buy the argument that it's more meaningful to focus on the absolute # of women getting C.S. degrees instead of the %. It might should, though, change the question we're asking. Instead of "what motivated women to stop getting C.S. degrees" maybe we should be asking, "Why were women not affected by whatever phenomenon suddenly motivated tons more men to start getting C.S. degrees."

Comment: Re:still need to know... (Score 1) 602

by buddyglass (#48239305) Attached to: Solving the Mystery of Declining Female CS Enrollment
Possibly. But the first dip was in 1985 or so, which would have been 3 years after the movie came out. So the change seems like it must have come around 1981. There are a lot of possible candidates in that rough time frame. The Atari 2600, though released in 1977, really only came into its own toward the end of 1979. I'm not old enough to remember that, but I do remember the marketing of video games in the early/mid 1980s and they certainly targeted boys. If people came to the (false) conclusion that "C.S. = making video games" (which, if anything, War Games reinforced), and video games were seen as exclusively a boy's thing, then I could see that being a possible driver.

Comment: Re:Boys are naturally curious... (Score 4, Insightful) 602

by buddyglass (#48237569) Attached to: Solving the Mystery of Declining Female CS Enrollment
Was this less true prior to ~ 1980-81? Because the % of women CS grads peaked in 1984-1985 at 37% before dropping to its current level of 18%. The % of female grads in other fields (that had around the same % as C.S. in the early 1980s) continued to rise.

Any reason given for the low rate of women in C.S. must explain why the trend shifted around the mid 1980s.

Comment: still need to know... (Score 2) 602

by buddyglass (#48237561) Attached to: Solving the Mystery of Declining Female CS Enrollment
...why the sudden change started around 1984-85. Did the labor market for CS grads suddenly start its "drastic swings" around that time frame? Or, since we're looking at % of graduates, about four years prior (e.g. 1980-1981)? If not, then I'm not sure how women's (alleged) aversion to "drastic swings" explains the sudden change.

Comment: Re:Missing the point (Score 1) 129

I can positively say that no company I've worked for in the past 15 years would have hired an 18/19 year old with a GED and no work experience. Even for an entry level position. Though, we're talking about a sample size of five companies, so maybe they're not representative.

Comment: Re:Missing the point (Score 1) 129

The question isn't whether I'm representative of most individuals with GEDs, but whether I'm representative of individuals holding GEDs who happen to have pursued careers involving substantial software development duties.

I assumed that was implied. My mistake. To clarify, I don't think you're representative of individuals with GEDs who have pursued careers in software development. I will suggest that a random high school student who has just finished his junior year and who wants a career in software would be better served by finishing high school and getting a 4-year C.S. degree (from the highest-ROI university available to him) than he would by getting a GED and spending the next five years doing something else.

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