Why Software Engineering is the Hottest Job of 2017 for Women

Software Engineering is one of the hottest jobs in the world right now. There’s hardly a product, service, or activity not being improved by software in multiple ways, and the trend is accelerating rather than slowing. The world needs more coders!

And as companies get wise to the fact that diverse teams are winning teams, women who have other professional backgrounds are being sought for software roles by many employers.

Why is software engineering not only a skill in demand, but a great career path? There are three big reasons.


It’s no secret that being a software engineer pays well.  It’s a highly technical profession that requires constant learning and attention to detail.  Well-written and efficient code can have a major impact on a company’s bottom line. Yet there’s far more demand for engineers than there is a supply of them. Thus, the creators of that code are compensated accordingly.

The average software engineer in the United States makes an annual salary of $98,260, according to a 2015 report from the United State Labor Department.  This is more than double the national median salary ($44,148) according to TheBalance.com.  The average salary can be even higher in tech hotbeds such as San Francisco ($134,00), Seattle ($126,000), New York ($120,000), and Los Angeles ($117,000), according to Hired.com.

In addition to high salaries, many publicly traded tech companies provide their engineers with generous stock and bonus packages.  Other benefits, such as premium health and dental insurance, unlimited vacation days, and catered workplace meals provide additional forms of compensation.  If that wasn’t enough, there’s also a vibrant gig economy, in which software engineering skills can lead to contract work such as building apps or teaching courses.


Opportunities for Growth

The field of software engineering will continue to grow for the foreseeable future as more consumer products integrate digital technologies. Things such as televisions, cars, and even refrigerators are being manufactured with processing and networking capabilities.  Smartphones and wearables are becoming ubiquitous.  All of those products require capable software engineers to write the code that makes them function.  As the digital technologies continue to proliferate through new domains, more qualified software engineers will be needed to meet the increased demands of the market.

Behind the scenes, there are even more new opportunities being created by emerging technologies.  Advancements in artificial intelligence (AI) and virtual reality (VR) have created new demand for specialized software engineering skills.   This puts software engineers at the forefront of exciting developments such as self-driving cars and real-time language translations.

Even traditional fields are being infused with software smarts. Your organic strawberries may have come from a farmer who uses software to help them raise fresh foods sustainably. If you can think of it, there’s probably software for it now — software that’s constantly being improved to stay ahead.

Work Flexibility

While many jobs are concentrated in the tech hotbeds mentioned above, location has become increasingly less important when working as a software engineer.  The ability to work remotely provides great flexibility for those who don’t live near tech-heavy cities.  Collaboration services such as Github, Slack, and Google Hangouts reduce  the barriers for building remote teams. Working from home has become a lifestyle with its own online guides.

The possibility of flexible in-office work schedules is also common for software engineering jobs.  It’s not uncommon for software engineers to spend part of their week in the office and part of their week working from home — for people who spend hours at a stretch writing code, it’s an established way to let them get more done.

Finally, some startups and established companies offer generous vacation packages to attract in-demand engineers.  ‘Unlimited’ personal time off can be a huge selling point for a company competing for talent.  More companies are also offering more generous maternity/paternity leave to new parents, rather than risk losing hard-to-replace employees.

The Winners Hire Women

Women with other professional backgrounds have a unique opportunity: There are more unfilled openings for mid-level managers than there are for entry level coders. A former lawyer, teacher, scientist, analyst or marketer has relevant skills and experience that a lifetime hacker may not.

And companies of all kinds and sizes are realizing that in focusing on male engineers — intentionally or unwittingly — they have put themselves at a disadvantage to getting the best people for many still-unfilled roles. By contrast, Salesforce, one of the most unstoppable successes in software, has nearly one in four technical roles filled by women.

At many companies, breaking the barriers for women has become a priority. They’re looking past headcount diversity to workplace inclusion. The one firm requirement: Have the coding chops you need to do the job. If you’ve got those, you’re in bigger demand than you may know.


To learn more about the Software Engineering Courses Hackbright Academy currently offers for women, click here.

Experience Hackbright in Person with our New Campus Tours!

Have you been thinking about a career change as a Software Engineer, and looking around for the right school? If Hackbright has been on your mind, then come by to experience our program and see if it’s the right fit for you!

We’re excited to announce our campus tours, starting this week! Come visit the Hackbright campus and check out our classrooms, meet some of the staff and experience our location right in the heart of San Francisco! 

Register for your own 30-minute tour (with the option to even sit in on a class!) HERE!


Ready to dive in? Be sure to register for our upcoming Fellowship Courses on Aug. 4 and Sept. 13. You’ll make the career change in a supportive, encouraging community optimized to help women not only get into the industry, but thrive in a career afterwards.

RSVP here for your campus tour! Hope to see you around the campus!

What It’s Like to Be a Woman at a Tech Conference

6x7bVo5l.jpg-largeAbout the Author: Chloe Condon, Hackbright Grduate Dec ’16. A former musical theatre actress and Hackbright Academy graduate, Chloe is now a Developer Evangelist at Codefresh. Pre-Hackbright, she spent her nights and weekends performing in the Bay Area as a singer/actress and worked in tech by day. To support her theatre career, she started to learn to code on her own through online resources. Now a Hackbright Ambassador and Mentor, she is now the first female engineering hire on her team, and is passionate about bringing people with non-traditional backgrounds into the world of tech.

Not too long ago, I attended my first conference as an engineer. To give a bit of context, before I made my career transition into software engineering, I was a musical theatre performer. Theatre, unlike STEM, is a field that is in dire need of men. Seriously, want to do musicals? Can you kind of carry a tune? Are you a dude? You’re cast! But I digress…

So, imagine my surprise when I attended my very first engineering conference as a woman… it felt a little like this:

Here’s how my inner-monologue sounded:

“So…many…dudes… oh! Is that a woman? Hmmm, no… she’s on the catering team. Oh wait! Is that another one? NOPE just a dude with a man bun.” 😐

The irony of all of this? I am more often than not giving talks on diversity at these conferences. Which, hey, is great! It means that the people running these conferences see that there is a problem and we need to fix it. But, seriously… this begs the important question: Where are all the women in tech? Or, to put it more casually… where my ladies at?

I think it’s important to note that with the many attempts to get “more women in tech” and “add diversity to teams”, it’s important to approach this issue with passion and enthusiasm, but also with a sense of humor and forgiveness. You’ll notice that this article does not come from a place of anger, but from a place of understanding. As a feminist, and a female engineer, I make it a point to be approachable and not get upset at people for their missteps or assumptions of me in this industry. Much like I wouldn’t want a male engineer to chew me out over assuming he’s an engineer based on his plaid shirt and Patagonia jacket, I wouldn’t ever want to be aggressive towards a male for assuming I’m not an engineer. I don’t look like the classic stereotype- mistakes happen. We should all be able to have a healthy conversation about this. 👬👭

And so, I’ve put together a top 5 list of most common experiences that’s I’ve had as a woman at these conferences. Ladies, here’s what to expect/perhaps what you’ve experienced. Gentlemen, here’s an insight:

Most People Assume I’m Not a Developer 🤷‍

As a female engineer at a tech conference, I find myself constantly having to prove myself to most people I meet. Be that by dropping engineering buzzwords, wearing one of my engineer inside joke shirts (“World’s Okayest Engineer” is one of my personal favs), or simply saying my job title; more often than not, people assume that I must be “some girl they hired to run a booth who is trying to get some swag” from them or “someone’s daughter tagging along to the conference” (to be fair, I used to play teenagers during my acting days… but I digress).

To give some context, I’m a quirky 5’2″ blonde girl with sparkle glasses and, on occasion, sporting pigtails or a bow in my hair. At first glance, an individual may think “oh- she must be Zooey Deschanel’s stylist”. But I promise I’m an engineer you guys.

Bathrooms Are Empty 🚽👻

Ah yes, one of those rare occasions where the women’s line is… well, non-existent. I’ve started to have some fun with this by having impromptu photoshoots in them. Enjoy these gems:

                                                                                 Ghost town
                                                                               Party time!

The After Party Can Get Awkward 😐

Imagine being the only women at a bar on Saturday night (this is unfortunately not The Castro or Capital Hill in Seattle 🏳️‍🌈). Now imagine that same bar, but rented out by a cool tech company with several open bars.

Ok cool- now you know how I have felt at almost every after party I’ve been to at a tech conference. Luckily, I’ve only had 1 awkward oh-god-please-leave-me-alone situation so far (pro-tip, never call anyone a “hott nerd” to break the ice).

You’re Probably Not Going to Get Any Shirts in a Women’s Size 👔 

                                                                      Hand- where r u?

Or speaker jackets. Or socks for that matter. Yeah, just don’t expect any apparel to remotely fit you. 😑

I’m always thrilled when a swag booth carries women’s sizes, and take a lot of pride in the fact that Codefresh always has an ample amount of women’s apparel in all sizes. Shoutout to MapboxDropboxGitHubDocker, and Women Who Code for being the only companies that have provided me with shirts I can sport proudly without feeling like a 5 year old wearing her dad’s shirt at a sleepover.

I (usually) Find Another Awesome Woman to Vent With Who Is Very Cool 👯

Though there may not be many, there are usually a handful of other lovely, smart, interesting women at these things. My favorite example of this would have to be Shilpa Rao, a 15 year-old who I met on the conference floor at DockerCon. Shilpa and I wandered the expo floor for a bit together and chatted about what it’s like to be a woman (and young adult) at a tech conference, and how sometimes it can be difficult to have people look past stereotypes. Shilpa seemed to be experiencing similar assumptions as a younger person as I was as a female engineer. Jokes on them, though; she is the co-founder of STEAM Team– a youth led organization geared towards bringing education and resources to the children of underprivileged communities in the Bay Area, and she even edited the following video for her company.

Look out for this one, you guys- she’s fierce. Keep smashing those stereotypes, Shilpa!

Read Chloe’s blog in entirety HERE! Interested in Hackbright? Check out our upcoming events!