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MIAMI (CBSMiami) — In the gender battle among the tech world, the latest round just may be going to the ladies.
New research analyzing the program-sharing service Github suggests that women programmers write better code than their male counterparts. Github is an open source community that allows users to post their work, collaborate and get feedback from others.
Researchers at California Polytechnic State University and North Carolina State University looked at the behavior of more than a million Github users and found that, on average, code written by women were rated more highly than those of men.
That is, only when the work doesn’t mention it was actually written by a woman.
In cases where the work was identifiable as that coming from a woman, user ratings dipped by about 10 percent, according to the study.
Other than gender bias, certain factors could possibly have played a role in skewing the information, the study said, including “bots” making thousands of pull requests, difficulties in determining gender for certain accounts, gender misrepresentation, and others.
It is possible, as well, that because women make up such a smaller percentage of coders, there are fewer “casual” coders creating what could be considered mediocre work.
“One explanation is survivorship bias: as women continue their formal and informal education in computer science, the less competent ones may change fields or otherwise drop out. Then, only more competent women remain by the time they begin to contribute to open source. In contrast, less competent men may continue,” the study said.
The study also theorized that women take fewer risks when writing code, which would mean less bugs.
The paper is still awaiting peer review by experts.