Archive for August 13, 2010

Too few women game developers

Really interesting piece about the lack of women game developers, and why the industry wants them.  What I didn’t see discussed here is, “Why aren’t there women in video game development?”  What’s keeping them out?  This is a different question than why there are so few women in CS — after choosing CS, most women are choosing not to develop games.  Why?

While women are playing in greater numbers, working in the industry can feel as lonely as battling aliens on a remote planet in Halo.

According to the Entertainment Software Association, 40 percent of video and online game players in the U.S. in 2010 are female, having inched up from 38 percent in 2006. The number of women working as game developers, however, is much smaller. In a 2005 demographic survey by the International Game Developers Association, only 11.5 percent of the respondents were female.

At Columbia College, Mindy Faber was shocked to discover that the school’s 2009 graduating class of game design majors had one woman out of 26 students. The ratio barely improved in subsequent classes, inspiring Faber to organize a four-day summit about girls, gaming and gender that will take place at Columbia next week.

“Our feeling in our department is that clearly, we can make better games if we diversify the designers,” said Faber, academic manager in the department of interactive arts and media. “If the game designers out there are more inclusive and representative of our general culture, we’re going to make better games that reach more people.”

via Female gamers: Recruiting women as game developers – chicagotribune.com.

August 13, 2010 at 11:53 am 1 comment

Students don’t take CS because of H-1B program?

I don’t think that the data support Senator Schumer’s claim — enrollments in CS declined before the H-1B program, and I doubt that there’s any correlation of further drops with rise in H-1B visas.  However, the belief he describes in the last paragraph is probably accurate, that students don’t see Computing degrees as being worth it in the face of global competition.

Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) says that the H-1B program has created “multinational temp agencies” that undercut U.S. wages and discourage students from entering tech fields.

Schumer said the H-1B program has morphed into program used to hire foreign tech workers “willing to accept less pay than their American counterparts.” He spoke on the Senate floor in advance of its approval Thursday of $600 million for border security that includes an H-1B visa fee increase.

The impact of the low-wage workers is also “discouraging many of our smartest students from entering the technology industry in the first place,” said Schumer. “Students can see that paying hundreds of thousands of dollars for advanced schooling is not worth the cost when the market is being flooded with foreign temporary workers willing do to tech work for far less pay.”

via Senator Schumer: H-1B use undercuts pay, discourages tech enrollments – Computerworld.

August 13, 2010 at 11:48 am 5 comments


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