June 14, 2015
June 14, 2015
June 17, 2015
Computing & Information Technology
26.328.1 - 26.328.18
Career Priorities and the Challenge of Recruiting More and Diverse Students to ComputingThis paper explores the compatibility between computing occupations and the career priorities ofundergraduate college students, and makes recommendations for encouraging more students, andparticularly more women, to pursue computing careers.To assess students’ career priorities, we analyzed data from the ** Project, which surveyed 7505undergraduates across the United States about their experiences and attitudes towards science.Students rated 15 career characteristics in terms of importance to their future career satisfaction.Overall, men’s and women’s mean ratings were similar, and where gender differences weresignificant, most effect sizes were extremely small. Exceptions were a moderate effect of genderfor Helping Other People, and small effects of gender for Working With People Rather ThanObjects and Having Lots of Family Time, all of which women rated as being more important.Using data collected by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, we show that computing occupations rankhighly on many of the criteria that were most important to students. Computing’s exceptionalgrowth rate, the high volume of jobs expected to become available over the next decade, and thesizeable discrepancy between degrees awarded and projected jobs indicate that computing is afield with abundant job opportunities. Educational requirements are moderate (typically abachelor’s degree), and compared to jobs with similar educational requirements, computing jobspay very well. Weekly work hours in computing professions are typically reasonable, addressingstudents’ concerns about quality of life issues such as having time for family. Furthermore, thewide distribution of computing jobs across industries allows workers the flexibility to seek outthe kinds of employers that offer schedules, wages, benefits, and geographic locations that bestmeet their needs.Although computing occupations meet many of students’ career requirements, negativestereotypes and lack of experience with computing may deter students from these careers. Inparticular, we suggest that for students to believe that computing will use their talents andabilities – the highest rated career criterion for both genders – computer science must be offeredearlier and more widely in K-12 education, and should employ teaching philosophies such asgrowth mindset that promote confidence and success. Class assignments, role models, andclassroom examples should portray the diversity of career opportunities in computing and avoidreinforcing negative stereotypes. Emphasizing the collaborative nature of computing and itspotential for helping people is particularly important for attracting and retaining girls andwomen. These recommendations are broadly applicable to other STEM fields experiencingrecruitment deficits and gender imbalances.
Achenbach, G. G., & Cintron, L. G., & Cohoon, J. M., & Sadler, P. M., & Sonnert, G. (2015, June), Career Priorities and the Challenge of Recruiting Women to Computing Paper presented at 2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Seattle, Washington. 10.18260/p.23667
ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2015 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015