Women in web development: Coding is not exclusively for men!

Published on 08 March 2021

Reading time 8 minutes

Who said web development was a man's job? In tech jobs, gender doesn't matter! Meeting with the 9th class of Wilders from Toulouse.

From the get go, coding was a woman's job

Initially, IT jobs - especially programming ones - were occupied by women. Cosmo even glorified them in an article on "computer girls" in 1967! From the 1970s onwards, the profession became more male-dominated due to recruitment biases and uses linked to the microcomputer revolution.

Today, many young girls no longer consider this career path and the proportion of women developers is stagnating at 30%, as in other tech professions.

How to bring about a change in web development? By promoting women developers!

To make things change, two essential actions are needed:

  • do not stigmatize "female developers": we never hear about "male developers" and understandably, the developer's profession is not gendered;
  • promote women developers  in order to inspire other women and girls to realize that they can dare!

We need to complete the panel of role models: beyond a few emblematic figures visible in the media, we also need to promote the "computer girls" of everyday life: it's your baker who geeks in her free time by tinkering with an app to manage her stocks, it's the mother of a lead dev student in a start-up, it's your 15-year-old niece who has difficulties at school but who programs home-made robots...

Keep your eyes open, they are everywhere... and especially at Wild Code School! ☺️

little girl building an electricity circuit

Feedback from our Toulouse campus’ Wilders

As little girls, they dreamed of becoming pharmacists, dancers, actresses, midwives, teachers, painters, pastry chefs... Surprising? Not really: jobs with a tech dimension are not valued among young girls. However, some of our Wilders already projected themselves into activities traditionally considered more masculine: architect, lawyer, athlete, mechanic, astronaut, firefighter or pilot, their imagination was already running wild!

As their professional lives rarely matched the plans imagined during childhood, they took a completely different path and ventured off on careers that were quite unrelated to the digital field. But why did it turn out this way?

"With no digital background at all, I thought I didn't have the intellectual capacity to understand this universe and to succeed in understanding its workings." (Sophie, 37 years old, former payroll manager)

"I was not aware of this profession back then and the image I had of developers was very 'geeky' and masculine. Also, I thought I had to be computer literate and math savvy." (Emilie A., 35 years old, former claims manager)

"I didn't have the idea before: this profession wasn't very highly promoted, let alone promoted to women." (Coralie, 28 years old, former buyer)

After a while in their professional life, they realized that they were no longer thriving in their job. But what prompted them to think about web development?

"I was tired of my various experiences. Web development seemed to me the ideal job where I will never get bored!" (Coline, 30 years old, former web marketing manager)

"My job was rich on a human level but intellectually, I was bored. I tried to fill the gap with puzzles, puzzle games and logic." (Emilie D., 35 years old, former ambulance driver)

"In my day-to-day work as a payroll manager, I noticed that I took great pleasure in developing new tools in Excel to improve our daily lives. I liked to put myself in the position of both the user and the person who will have to process the data, and to rack my brains on the development of the functionalities of these tools... so I thought I could make it my daily routine." (Sophie)

"I wanted to do something I really liked!" (Léa, 20 years old, teleconsultant)

"To protect my health because my job was physically demanding." (Maïlys, 31 years old, former self-service employee)

"To find a job that motivates me every day by the diversity of its tasks and its creative dimension." (Emilie A.)

It is one thing to become aware of your desire to change your daily professional life. But it's another to take the plunge... What was the trigger?

"The fear of winding up as a teacher for the rest of my life! And having found a course that matches my criteria." (Lisa-Lou, 28, former English teacher)

"Covid! 😂 A big thank you to covid!!!" (Jessica, 31 years old, former cabin integrator in aeronautics)

"I quit my job and then thought about my future. All the information I could find on this job pointed me in the right direction." (Coline)

"I had time to devote to it." (Louise, 29, former UX designer)

"I already had an interest in web development, but I was just doing it for fun, without knowing that I could make a living out of it. I came across Wild Code School's website by chance, while I was trying to help a friend's brother switch careers." (Emilie D.)

"A simple discussion with my boyfriend! But why didn't I think of it before?!" (Marion, 25 years old, former communication officer)

"Economic layoffs in 2020, new mom... Might as well change everything. 🙂" (Coralie)

hands typing on a keyboard

Conversion project underway, let's go! How did their peers react when they broke the news: "I'm going to become a developer”?

"They loved it and all thought it was a promising career." (Jessica)

"They were happy, they immediately saw an opportunity for me (even if they didn't understand everything!)" (Marion)

"They were a bit confused, with a very masculine image of the profession... like the geek with greasy hair closed in on himself and in front of a screen for 24 hours straight!" (Emilie A.)

"My loved ones supported me. My brother is a developer himself and he encouraged the idea. He shares the same point of view on what attracts me to the profession, i.e. the thirst to learn and to investigate." (Sophie)

"Everybody found it logical but... ‘Aren't you afraid of all these geeks?’!“ (Louise)

"My husband supported me and pushed me, he was convinced that I could do it. My family was a little worried because I was leaving the security of my job for the unknown. Now that they see that I'm doing well, they're a little more reassured... and I think they won't be completely reassured until I've signed a permanent contract." (Emilie D.)

That's it, they finished their five-month course a few weeks ago! Congratulations for this great start! How do they see their future as developers?

"In a small firm or a startup to begin with, and then why not working in freelance, or creating my own firm. In any case, in a company that has values that appeal to me!" (Lisa-Lou)

"Radiant! I've found my way and it's a pleasure to get up every day to take on new challenges!" (Emilie D.)

"I have an entrepreneurial project, and I think that my business skills and my new development skills will be considerable assets!" (Coralie)

A little girl power tip for those who hesitate to take the plunge?

"We have to go for it! Women too have the right to have fun with a keyboard!" (Coline)

"For me, being a girl in this job is an advantage, take advantage of it. Go for it, be yourself and believe in yourself!" (Lisa-Lou)

"You can do it!!!!" (Marion)

"No more clichés of the pimply-faced geek developer with glasses locked in the dark! Web development is within the reach of anyone who is motivated and invested! As women, we can bring something different to the profession. I've noticed that we sometimes have a sharper eye for the practicality of certain features. We can be an asset to a team and we shouldn't be afraid to take the plunge." (Sophie)

"No matter who you are... A computer won't make a difference. Don't underestimate yourself!" (Louise)

"The web developer field needs more women! We have an eye for detail. Feminine rarity makes us an asset." (Jessica)

"Being a girl is absolutely not a hindrance! If you are drawn to this job, if you like challenges, and if you are willing to never stop learning, then go for it! Don't rely on preconceived notions about tech jobs, we have our place! And recruiters appreciate our profiles." (Emilie D.)

"We can do it!" (Léa)

"Development jobs are not incompatible with a bit of femininity and clean hair 😉 On the contrary, I have the feeling that women are very well sought after in companies: they bring a bit of freshness, a different approach in this still very masculine profession." (Emilie A.)

"Failure is much less of a risk than not embarking on a great adventure. 🙂" (Coralie)

"You go girl!" (Maïlys)

Ready to take onto the web development journey? To find out if this job is made for you, you can start by taking our free web development prep course, it will allow you to acquire the initial basics.

And if you are still hesitating to take the plunge, discover other testimonies of the Toulouse Wilders about their career transition!