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Attracting Girls to a Career in Programming: A New Zealand Investigation

Alison Hunter, Raewyn Boersen


Various interventions to attract girls into computing careers have been instigated around the world in recent years. There have also been many efforts to understand factors influencing girls’ career choices, and several career choice models have been developed.

This pilot study investigated the career preferences of teenage girls who participated in a New Zealand-based intervention, the Programming Challenge 4 Girls. Results revealed three sociability needs as the girls’ primary factors influencing career choice. The girls wanted a career that will allow them to engage socially, with a sense of fun, and in a ‘cool’ environment.

The study also investigated sources of information about programming careers. Most girls did not know where to seek programming career information and their parents and career advisors were found to need more knowledge about IT careers. A government careers website was unsatisfactory with respect to teenage girls’ preferences, whereas an industry-based programme partially addressed girls’ needs. The paper distinguishes between formal and informal sources of programming career information and proposes a modification to a widely-cited model of girls’ career choices. 



Computing; career choice models; girls; interventions; programming

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