According to the Data Buddies Survey (2018), undergraduate students with pre-college coding experience tend to have higher sense of belonging in computing. Given the importance of sense of belonging for retaining students in the field of computing, this finding highlights the potential long-term benefits of engaging students in coding early-on.
Computing Research News
According to the 2017 Data Buddies Survey, significantly higher percentages of students who are underrepresented in computing (29% and above) felt like an outsider in computing than majority men with no disabilities (17%). This lack of a sense of belonging was highest among the students with disabilities who are women or racial/ethnic minorities (45-46%).
Gender is complex; while many people identify as either “man” or “woman”, others identify as something other than traditional binary gender options (i.e. “non-binary” gender). CERP data indicate non-binary students report lower levels of peer support compared to their men and women peers.
In recent decades, there have been many Women In Science and Engineering (WISE) initiatives aimed at increasing the participation of women in these fields. In computer science and engineering, the percentage of women pursuing degrees and careers has remained relatively low. According to CRA’s annual Taulbee Survey of Ph.D. granting institutions, less than 15 percent of undergraduate computer science degrees were awarded to women in the 2013-14 academic year . Given the significant increases of women in other traditionally male dominated fields such as law and medicine in the past 50 years , computing’s persistent low representation of women is rather disappointing, to say the least. Women’s low participation is also alarming when we consider the increasing number of jobs in computing, as well as the positive impact of improving gender diversity on innovation in research settings  and on collective intelligence . So the question becomes, how do we change things?