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Why Girls with an Interest in IT in High School Do Not Choose IT Careers – An Extended Study

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2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Seattle, Washington

Publication Date

June 14, 2015

Start Date

June 14, 2015

End Date

June 17, 2015





Conference Session

Women in Engineering Division Poster Session

Tagged Division

Women in Engineering

Tagged Topic


Page Count


Page Numbers

26.1738.1 - 26.1738.14



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Paper Authors


Tanya Stanko P.E. Innopolis University

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Tanya Stanko is a Vice-Provost for Education at Innopolis University. She specializes in launching new universities from scratch, including setting up curricula and polices, as well as recruiting faculty and students. She holds a Ph.D. in Computational Aeroacoustics from the University of Leeds and worked as a researcher at Technical University of Munich. Her current research interests include investigation of the professional competencies, foreign learning environment, gender diversity in engineering, relations between universities, industry, and government.

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Why girls with an interest in IT in high-school do not choose IT career – an extended studyThere is a great need for IT specialists in the world in general and in Russia inparticular. By 2020, Russia plans to employ at least 600,000 more IT specialists. Atthe same time, the existing Russian universities graduate only about 25,000 studentsin the IT profession every year. In order to address the problem of the lack of ITspecialists a new IT University has been established in 2012 in Kazan, Russia. Thedifficulty is that in Russia approximately 90% of the high-school graduates areadmitted to some other universities. Therefore, in order to populate the newUniversity we need to attract applicants from other professions and investigateanother potential source for future IT specialists – women.In one of the previous studies we have discovered that the proportion of girls with aninterest in IT in high-school is over 30%, while women population in the universityand IT career is around 10%. The study attempts to investigate the reason of why girlswith an interest in IT in high-school do not choose career in IT.Here we present qualitative results from the focus group interview and feedback fromindividual respondents. The focus group consisted of eight young women, who wereactively involved in extra curriculum education in IT area during their final years atschool, but have chosen different profession after. Individual respondents reflect theopinion of men and women in their mid-career. As a result of the interviews we haveidentified the following factors influencing respondents’ decision for not choosingcareer in IT: self-perceived lack of aptitude to succeed in IT, unwillingness to dealwith numbers, self-perceived insufficient knowledge for admission for IT degree,parental influence, stereotypes of IT profession, unattractive image of IT specialist,uninteresting subjects of the IT program. Finally we have suggested actions in orderto make IT profession more attractive for young women.

Stanko, T. (2015, June), Why Girls with an Interest in IT in High School Do Not Choose IT Careers – An Extended Study Paper presented at 2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Seattle, Washington. 10.18260/p.25074

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