Attitudes of sixth form female students toward the IT field

Acm Sigcas Computers and Society 40 (1):34-49 (2010)

Abstract

It is well known that girls are not interested in computer science, information systems, and software engineering studies. While the underlying reasons for this phenomenon have been studied in the US, Canada, and Australia, only a few studies have been carried out in Europe and in Scandinavia. To fill this gap in the research, we have analyzed the qualitative responses of 64 female sixth form students concerning their attitudes towards studying information technology, including computer science, information systems, and software engineering disciplines, and their views about IT as a profession. The results suggest that the IT field is seen in quite a positive light by the girls. Although many of the respondents do not consider IT to be their profession, they nevertheless have positive attitudes towards the field. According to the respondents, the field is growing and developing; it is respected, and seen as the field of the future. Girls who want to become IT professionals see that the profession entails good employment possibilities and benefits and is respected. Some girls have negative views towards the field. These views illustrate the underlying reasons why these girls do not want to study IT. The girls did not perceive the field to be human-related. The need for skills in mathematics and physics are also listed as key reasons why some girls do not want to become IT students. The results of the study suggest that there is a need to clarify among sixth form students the fact that IT jobs can be divided into computer science, information systems, and software engineering, all of which require different competences.

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Mikko Siponen
University of Jyväskylä

References found in this work

Opting Out?: Women and on-Line Learning.Sheila French - 2005 - Acm Sigcas Computers and Society 35 (2):2-2.

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