Becoming a successful female software engineer requires an understanding of the myriad benefits available to those who would seek out this rewarding path, while knowing how a career in IT fits into the context of current issues in workplace equality.

It is true that the field of software engineering is well known as a male-oriented work environment. It has a perplexingly low number of women making up the ranks of IT workers.  However, there seems to be a recognition of this fact in many areas of the industry, suggesting that if such gender-based issues can be addressed, the rewards for women IT specialists will be high. IT specialists have some of the highest salaries and widest selection of positions in any industry, as well as some of the most challenging jobs.

Understanding the Benefits

As the American job sector sees many areas of decline over the last five years, students and workers often wonder where they might best find success, as corporate downsizing becomes the new normal.

But software engineering has become one of the most readily available places to find jobs in a downturning economy: look at most job-listing sites and you will see a high number of positions for CS grads and IT specialists, many with high salaries and many benefits available.

CS Programs such as the University of Washington’s, for example, even see a vast swath of their graduates go on to the biggest companies in the IT arena, with students heading on to careers at eBay and Microsoft. Compare this trend with the declining hiring practices of law firms in recent years, with grads from even the best schools finding themselves with high student loan debt and no work, and the appeal of IT work, with its many positions, challenging problems, and high salaries, is obvious.

Encouragement from the Big Leagues

The glass ceiling effect is in many ways a lamentable aspect of some areas of society that must be gotten through. While a minority of negative voices sometimes seem to drown out the sensible notions of equality that all parts of society should join together in supporting, many companies are seeking to level the playing field in order to find the best workers.

While recent years have seen a decline in interest on the part of women in IT, with other areas such as scientific research — and even historically male-dominated areas of business such as executive leadership — noting an uptick in interest from female workers, a post on the site points out that the drop in women candidates for IT jobs could have its roots in anywhere from a potentially sexist part of the computer tech culture of the profession, to the cultures the women are coming from, and what the values of those cultures may be.

This negative trait in the field may end up playing to the advantage of new female hires, however. According to a recent article at, the gap in the market for female IT workers has made some of the biggest companies shift their hiring practices. Facebook, the article suggests for example, makes a point of seeking out female software engineers to better serve its hires, and companies like have also seen an enormous hiring boom for female IT workers.

For reasons such as career advancement, the challenge of creating important solutions to problems, and a rewarding salary, women wondering whether they will have a shot at a big league position in IT will no doubt face hurdles that may have largely evaporated in other sectors of the workforce. The question then becomes that of whether to invest in a profitable industry which is trying to change from an old-fashioned office model even while it offers workers a cutting-edge salary and sense of job security.