Females in Games programming


I'm just trying to get an idea of how easy it is for XX's to get into the programming side of games creation.


mcdrewski's picture

There aren't many - so if you've got the skillz you should be snapped up! We need more XX's in the industry badly...

Check out [url="http://www.sumea.com.au/snews.asp?news=1741"]this news story[/url] from just recently.

Chaos's picture

Yeah, agree with above.

Mdobele's picture

Personally I dont care if you are female or not. I would never hire a games programmer purely because she is a she... Thats a sure fire way to throw money down the drain.

I will always hire someone based on their abilities, personality and communication skills regardless of thier sex and it would be a poor manager / hr person who was biased towards one side or the other.

Miranda's picture

No different to being a guy... if you have the skills, you'll get the job. I have heard that a few companies would love to have female programmers on board. But you won't be hired soley based on your gender of course.

fyi, I'm a female programmer, but I'm not exactly in the games idustry...

Rips's picture

From what I've heard, most women in the games industry have art roles. I also know of women in QA or design but not programming. It's strange because I know of a lot of women in programming roles within other IT-related companies. In that news story Mcdrewski linked, someone commented "The fact is, women just aren't interested in videogames." Maybe that's just it.

mcdrewski's picture

I've always said that all generalisations are inaccurate. Including that one. Damn. [:P]

However, saying that "women aren't interested in videogames" is pure flamebait. For example, try [url="http://crystaltips.typepad.com/"]Wonderland[/url], there's links there galore.

I do agree with Mdobele 100%, it should always be the best person for the job - always. In management-brain though, you don't just hire twenty "best people" and expect them to wok together perfectly. Different people have different technical vs social vs analytic vs instinctive ways of working, and mixing the team up is often a good thing. Employers do end up with a preference for "minority" employees simply to complement the team they already have. After all, hiring is a crapshoot half the time anyway, which is why there's that 3 month probation. If there are two people with the skills and the experience, their gender may be the only thing tipping the balance.

Kizza's picture

The latest issue of The Escapist has some great articles about women in gaming. They don't talk about women in the games industry, but it's an interesting read. Even if you don't agree with their points of view it'll likely get you thinking.

davidcoen's picture

//generalisation warning
thought one of the problems was that male nerds tend to have low self esteam so can easily be bullied by company into doing a LARGE amount of overtime, and females are not quite that dumb, so companies tend to hire males. also, looking at (and smelling) most programmers i know in the game industry, i personally doubte that most femals would want to work them. (to my defence, i shower every day weather i need to or not)
//end generalisation warning

Rips's picture

Oh no doubt that women are interested in games, I was referring to female programmers. Being a female student, I know a lot of girls doing IT courses and whilst a lot of them play games, none of them are as passionate about gaming to think of making a career out of it.

On Triple J only this arvo, Bond Uni did a study and apparently 30% of gamers are women (4000 participants). Another study done by the Entertainment Software Association of America (ESA), reported 43% of gamers are women (these figures include games like solitaire and mobile phone games i think).

BTW, sorry to flyladyhawke for taking the thread somewhat off track. I'm sure that games developers consider female programmers just as much as men and as Mcdrewski mentioned, it might also be that females have a slight advantage because they're a minority.

Jacana's picture

I agree that a company will hire based on if you have skills or not, but (IMO) they will also be more likely to hire a female if she does have the skills. I say this only because: 1) Being female you therefore are different and do not need to "sell" yourself to standout, you already stand out and 2) Having females on teams really does change the dynamic of how a team operates.

Going on from that, there are not many female games programmers that I know of in the industry in Australia. Unless things have changed you have, Kate at Atari, Tess (Lead Programmer) at Imaginary Numbers, and another at Ratbag (Midway). There use to be (iirc) another female audio programmer at Atair but she left.

As for reasons why female programmers are not more prolefic in games, I do not know. Many can speculate about the reasons. From my own view and what I have listened to from other women there are issues such as quality of life and wanting a family. This is not to say that the games industry is bad, it is just to say that there are other areas that support what you want better.

I want to post more but have to get ready for work - so I'll edit in a bit.

lorien's picture

There is actually written proof, direct from a CEO who I'm NOT going to name, that the only woman on the acmipark team was refused a job only on grounds of her gender.

She's an IGF finalist.

Another company played what amounted to a soft-porn video of the Tokyo Game show to all staff over lunch last year. "Zooming in and out on their assets" apparently (yes I've got that email, but not from who you might think).

Go for it girls, much respect earnt for attempting such a male dominated career. I wish it were easier for you.

Better specify, coz my name's ambiguous, I'm a he.

PocketMonster's picture

As a girl who programs (and wishes to program games), i often wonder why there are so few females who have the same level of interest in game development. I know quite a lot of other females who like playing games, and I do know (very few) other female programmers - so I'm not sure what's up.

My guess is that game marketing still being totally aimed @ men might b a factor.
I know there have been efforts to make games more aimed @ girls, marketed @ girls, etc. but they r still being marketed BY men ... so we end up with things like FFX-2 where half-naked chicks sing crappy pop-song because "girls like that stuff", and stangely enough females feel distanced to (maybe even offended by?) the world of games.

Anyway, enough rant, I think the industry is actually pretty welcoming to women who want to be involved, but u still gota have the skills.
Good luck :)

unknownuser2's picture

Pocket Monster: Whilst I agree with your comments regarding marketing wholeheartedly - I have to point out that Square do have females in charge of clothing and environment design and have done since about Final Fantasy VIII. In my mind a very wise choice because lets face it, as a general consensus, females have a much better taste for fashion than we do [:O]

Although Testuya Nomura handles the cheif designs - Fumi Nakashima has been in charge of a large degree of costumes for the Final Fantasy characters, right through to the Kingdom Hearts characters - Sora and Kairi.

Point ultimately being, Kudos to Square for seeking out a womens touch, I think it brings something totally unique to the environments, settings, characters and overall atmosphere of the game and as a result, I personally believe so many other companys are nowhere even close to achieving such an in depth and spiritual atmosphere and environment in their games. This is one thing Square Enix does *extremely* well.

Off topic as its more an art related comment, but thats not to say women programmers shouldnt be able to have the same impact. Im all for it - get in there and make your mark. [:)]

PocketMonster's picture

Yeah, don't get me wrong, I love square games, and I know that they have quite a large percentage of female employees (many Japanese companies have a solid amount of female artists and programmers on their teams actually). I even liked FFX-2, the design was beautiful - so perhaps a bad choice in my rant there.
I think the content of games is becoming more appealing to women as more women have a hand in creating the content of games, and when games are marketed more "cleverly" at women - (or even just not "not for women") it's a good thing.

Definately didn't want to come off as a square-hater [^]

Angel's picture

We don't get a lot of female applications at work and we can't hire girls if they don't apply. So why are they not applying?

Are women just not capable of learning the necessary skills? Unlikely. There are plenty of talented chicks out there in other industrys.

Are they just not interested in games? Could be a big factor... but a lot of women play games.. check out WoW and the Sims.. what about simple ones like Neopets and Solitaire? I think this could be part of the problem, but certainly not the biggest issue.

Perhaps women aren't aware that they can find a satisfying career in the games industry?

I'm a girl and I stumbled into the games industry from series of unlikely events - it never even occured that people would get paid to make games. Then when I realised it was possible, I still faced the problem that most wannabe's have: where do I start?

Of course, when I finally found out what I needed to know, it only took a further 2 months to get an internship and another 4 months of unpaid employment to break in and get my first real job.

Now, the issue that I described is not one that is unique to women.

(C'mon.. how many moobs do you know of that seem to ask the most stupid questions... how many times have you replied "Why don't you do some research and find out what it's all about! You don't even know what a game developer does!")

The point I'm trying to make is that I believe we need to promote awareness about games careers... and we need to make sure that we're making it accessible and welcoming to both men AND women. And perhaps if we're lucky, we might also do some good for the local (australian) industry. Fresh blood, more talent, better resources for companies to make better games... better games for better money... Ah, I'll just leave it there as the perspectives on what I've said so far are already bound to differ greatly.

Anuxinamoon's picture

quote:Originally posted by Angel
The point I'm trying to make is that I believe we need to promote awareness about games careers... and we need to make sure that we're making it accessible and welcoming to both men AND women. And perhaps if we're lucky, we might also do some good for the local (australian) industry. Fresh blood, more talent, better resources for companies to make better games... better games for better money... Ah, I'll just leave it there as the perspectives on what I've said so far are already bound to differ greatly.

I totally agree! I never even knew I could make games untill I was 18 and going to Qantm. After I got into the industry I went back to my country school and did a presentation on the games industry and tell those kiddos that they can makes games for a living if the work hard. Unfortunately no girls were really interested but atleast they found out you can get a job making games, which was 100 times more information than what I knew at their age.

Angel's picture

I believe that there are many games out there that were designed with a male audience in mind (and this is so primarily because the majority of developers are male themselves).

Women derive a lot of pleasure from social activities, hence entertainment like soapies are a lot more of a rewarding experience to girls.

Men seem to derive pleasure from team goals and hunting related activities, like football and FPS games. I believe that girls don't often make up a big portion of our 'hardcore gamer fans' because they don't get the same kick from most of our hardcore games as the boys do.

Besides, girls don't really need to simulate social activities in a game because they can have the same rewarding experiences just by socialising in real life. Men..? Well, they can play sports but that requires some degree of fitness.. It's much more convenient to sit at home on a computer in your boxers with a beer (or a can of V) in your hand. And the hunting kick? Well, let's just be thankful that it isn't too easy for guys to go around shooting people.

If girls don't like to play games then why would they want to develop them? Perhaps we need a few more chicks in the industry to give that 'feminine' perspective that's nice to have (though admittedly, in small doses) - it could help influence the game design so that it doesn't unintentionally exclude girls. And if we manage to get more girl gamers, we might be able to attract a few more female developers.

Female developers could help attract more female gamers, which in turn could attract more female developers. Hmm... it's all kind of a catch 22 situation isn't it?

Jacana's picture

These ideas should be taken up with GDAA. They are the body, that I believe, would be best to support these ideas. Understand, that while ideas alone a great, the GDAA would still need help to champion these ideas.

Also, think of who you really want to target. I believe the best targets are going to be year 6 and 7 and then again at university and tafe enterance. You can do a catch-all with the younger girls and then target the young women who are going in programming or art related fields.

Anonymous Dogg's picture

I say games need female involvement, it could only enhance the game with female perspective ideas and creativity. Doesnt really matter what type of audience the game was intended for. They would need to be as good and as educated as the males though I dont think special acceptions are fair.

Boroma's picture

As a female who tried to get into game development for over a year and a half, I think the industry only has itself to blame. I tried everything from winning scholarships, doing work experience, networking, studying and working my butt off to improve my skills and demo reel and to this day I still have never even got to the interview stage. What more could anyone do to at least get an interview - please tell me!

I'd also like to make it known that on one occasion I did some investigation as to why my job applications weren't getting replys, I later found out that the HR manager of this company (who shall remain nameless, but they know who they are) was refusing to hire women. Not all companies have the same mentality but its amazing that in this day and age there are people out there that still think so archaically. Why would women from other industries bother making the change when attitudes like this exist?

As for me I've given up on game development for now. I've been focusing on other industries and have had much more success than I ever did with games.

Just my 2 cents anyway lol!

Neffy's picture

I?ve always played games but it never crossed my mind that I could actually do art for games, it was a fluke I found out about a short course at the AIE for basic 3D modeling. I did that course fell in love with 3D and will be looking for a job in the industry end of this year.
Now when I get asked to help tutor the short courses run in the holidays I always pay a little bit more attention to the girls and show them just how fun it is. I hope that by showing them a good time and making sure they don?t get too frustrated with max, that they will be more eager to continue in this line of study. So far I?ve only had positive responses and one little girl that couldn?t stop thanking us for running such a great course.
I think that?s important, not just talking about it but showing them if they see your having fun they might have fun too and decide this industry is the place for them.

Nintanya64's picture

...Where are all the female programmers?

In Uni, trying to get enough education to be looked at by the Australian Game Developers out there!

I'm doing a Bachelor of Info-Tech at Flinders Uni, and although getting into game developing would be a dream come true, it's a lot harder than just applying.

Speaking of which, if anyone knows of a company offering work experience, let me know so I can go there and do it!

supagu's picture

Flinders uni, Adelaide,
there are only about 2 game companys in Adelaide, The Krome studio, and another small company as far as i Know.
I doubt you can get work experience at either of these.
I remember when i was trying to get in to the industry there isnt much you can do except make your own games to show off.

groovyone's picture

[quote]I later found out that the HR manager of this company (who shall remain nameless, but they know who they are) was refusing to hire women.[/quote]

Damn.. are you positive? I certainly hope that this HR manager whoever it is actually had a better reason than not wanting to hire females. If you have solid proof that HR manager could have legal action taken against them as there's this little law called the Sex Discrimination Act of 1984

Again if it's purely their choice not to hire women, then they're either stupid and/or ignorant and shouldn't deserve to be working as an HR person. I'm sorry, but I have little tollerance for people like that. Some of the best people I've worked with in the industry are women and I think more should be attracted to game development.

The games industry is notoriously difficult to get into so don't take things too personally. All you can do is try to get more experience doing what people want you do have to get in and don't give up your dreams.groovyone2007-01-04 03:25:06