As of 2015, women made up only about one-third of the tech talent pool in Silicon Valley. And despite much-ballyhooed diversity initiatives, the gender gap in tech isn't growing noticeably smaller.
Coding skills challenge platform HackerRank decided to analyze its data and figure out where, exactly, the best female developers in the world could be found, and which countries had the highest percentage of female tech talent. HackerRank uses coding skills challenges to help developers practice their skills, and lets companies recruit talent based on technical ability.
HackerRank doesn't gather data on their approximately 2 million users' sex or gender, so they had to do some guesswork based on users' first names; they also excluded unisex names like Taylor or Riley, which could skew the data somewhat. Their final data pool encompassed about 80 percent of their total user base.
But the results are interesting, nonetheless. HackerRank estimates that 17 percent of its users are female, overall, but by narrowing the data set just to 2016 they found that 24 percent of users that year were female.
They also found that India, the United Arab Emirates, Romania, China, Sri Lanka and Italy are the six countries with the highest percentage of female developers. It's interesting that Asia and Eastern Europe are so highly represented -- the only Western European country in the top 10 is Italy. And the U.S. comes in at number 11. Could it be that these countries invest more in STEM education, or that there are different cultural norms around females in technology?
The research also found that developers from Russia, Italy, Poland, China, France and Romania scored the highest on algorithms challenges, which involve, for example, searching for keywords, sorting data and dynamic programming, among others. A coincidence that Russian developers (regardless of sex or gender) score highest in this area, considering Russia's rise as a cyberpower. The country understands the power of software and how to compete in a digital era.
You can see the full results here, and read more about the data and the analysis. But the bottom-line is that if you're restricting your search for female tech talent only to the U.S., you are missing out.