Over the years, learning computer programming skill has been ranked among the most challenging, brain tasking and difficult task to master.
After several investigation and research studies into the reasons behind the difficulty it poses, among the key points stated is the fact that programming in general always involves logical reasoning and fast problem solving abilities. However, despite the huge difficulty that surrounds its learning and usage, the interest, benefits and opportunities that are attached with programming skill outweigh its challenges and its stated difficulties.
Outwardly, many students who prefer to study computer science care more on the fancy and marketability nature of the course and care less in knowing the rudiment that makes up the course itself. Basic understanding and application of programming is a core course in computing field, although one may later specialize in other sub fields of computing which have less to do with programming, as such, this unpreparedness by most admitted students in computer science usually result in poor performance in programming and mathematics computing related course.
Another reason which may be traced to this poor performance is the learning environment, especially in an environment where the so called Dry running a program is the main routine. In such case, students have less or no exposure to the practical aspect of programming let alone building themselves up by writing series of program to become conversant with programming routine.
Note: To be a guru in programming, constant practice of programming is highly important and encouraging.
Women and programming
Thorough investigation into gender difference in programming skill has revealed the fact that not only there is low representation of women in programming but also there is poor performance of women in computer programming. Although there exist a dearth of empirical study to backup this claim.
To contribute to the domain of knowledge and to also re affirm the state of mind as regards to the gender difference in programming skill, a survey of students examination in computer programming courses was carried out, using two sessions of four semester results in computer programming courses as a case study for the experimental purpose.
This study involves large number of students and examination results details, as such data mining techniques can be recommended in such a research study like this. It performs better when dealing with large number of data set.
The Four main procedure of the techniques were considered: Data collection stage, pre-processing stage, classification stage, and result analysis and interpretation stage.
Results Analysis and Interpretation
Unlike the general perception of people over the years, that there exist low percentage of women in programming, the result of this study shows insignificant difference with respect to thier population. The average means of their population were almost the same and that shows how well represented the women are in learning or studying programming courses. However, the result of the analysis shows poor percentage of results emanates from women with respect to performance analysis.
Some of the reasons behind their low performance in programming were investigated further and the following factors were revealed:
Factors responsible for low performance of women in programming
- Attitudes of women towards programming
Attitudes has been highlighted as one of the factors responsible for low performance of women in programming field, especially in developing countries where students usually crams programming code for the sake of the exam only. Programming should be a thing of joy, because programming allow you to see the result of your effort put into practice and that can only be achieved if it is practical oriented but in a dry running a programming scenario, it makes it hard to enjoy the sweetness of the effort put into the coding development, as such this increase the negativity of the females as against their males counterpart.
Fear has also been attributed as one of the factors which may be responsible for the poor performance of women in programming. Fear creates a loss of interest and that later affect their overall performance.
- High school performance in mathematics and physics
This factor has been proved by many researchers who have carried out research study on 'the factors determining the performance of students in programming courses', it was revealed that the performance of students, both female and male in high school mathematics and physics most times determine their performance in programming irrespective of gender differences.
- Lack of resources
Most students in developing countries lack the basic resources needed to excel in their career. In a practical oriented course like programming, lack of resources like laptop, electricity among others affect both the females and their males counterpart.
The purpose of this article is to contribute to the body of knowledge in determining the low representation and performance of women in programming field despite its huge opportunities and benefits. The result of the study presented here may not be the same in another environment, especially in developed countries where there is adequate resources and environment seems to be more convenient for learning a course like programming.
All effort must be put in place in order to ensure fairness and equality of gender representation in programming field. Doing this will not only increase the social gender representation in computing field but also in other fields.
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