Female Face of Programming in Kazakhstan: Obstacles, Stereotypes and Opportunities

There is a widespread stereotype in Kazakhstan and around the world: programming is a profession only for men. Unfortunately, statistics confirm this. According to Stack Overflow * experts, the number of women in the global IT industry today is only 5%. However, things are slowly changing.

We talked with Samsung Innovation Campus mentor Zhuldyz Sotsial, a programmer who teaches at Astana IT University. She teaches the basics of programming at Samsung Innovation Campus. Most importantly, Zhuldyz is dedicated to helping students overcome stereotypes.

Photo of  Zhuldyz Sotsial

Programming is not about math

I entered the field of IT consciously and with a clear intention. I started my career in mathematics and engineering and gradually moved to programming.

Here I learned the first important thing: programming is not about math. The main thing in this field is persistence and common sense. Of course, developing complex and multifunctional apps requires advanced logical and structured thinking. But all math involved is limited to arithmetic.

Fear and discrimination prevent children from realizing their potential

I have been teaching programming for over three years. During this time, I have observed distinct differences in how girls and boys learn. Due to some negative comments, girls often encounter an indifferent attitude towards their coding efforts. As a result, their mistakes are overlooked, and they receive lenient assessments. This leniency puts them at a disadvantage in the competitive world, as it hinders the development of their true skills.

The world of programming has its fair share of flaws, with discrimination being a notable issue. While it's not always openly discussed, it certainly exists. For example, in robotics, boys are often preferred due to the misconception that heavy equipment requires strength. However, physical strength is not necessary to use microcontrollers.

Against this background, it is not surprising that programming is often seen as a “male” profession. A girl’s interest in coding is frequently perceived by the public as a temporary hobby that will fade with age. This perception leads to missed opportunities and unrealized potential.

Zhuldyz Sotsial teaching programming to students

Gender doesn't matter, skills do

Putting pessimism aside, discrimination is gradually diminishing. I notice this every day. Many girls and women are starting their own startups, learning programming languages independently, and teaching these skills to others. My motivation is to continually learn something new. Programming is always ready to surprise and challenge you.

Everyone can find their niche in coding. To be a successful programmer, you need persistence, intelligence, and experience; without these, you won't get far. I always tell them that gender doesn't matter; your skills do.

Photo of  Zhuldyz Sotsial

Achieving success through hard work

Teaching has always been close to my heart. When I was in university, I started by teaching elementary school students, and then I moved on to high school students. Through these small steps, I progressed to teaching at the university level. I wouldn't say it's any kind of talent; it's all achieved through hard work.

It’s no wonder that many teachers say they treat their students like their own children. If you love your work, you will try to convey all the information so that the listener can understand everything: you carefully describe the algorithms and explain every number and point. Ultimately, you want your students to successfully apply the knowledge they’ve gained in life. So, you start rooting for them wholeheartedly, cheering for their victories and grieving with them for their failures.

These are the things that attract students to Samsung Innovation Campus. As my students say, here they not only help you successfully master Python, Big Data, or Android development, but also support you in every way, find like-minded people for you, and always keep you interested in something.

Samsung programs make studying at university easier

As a teacher, I especially appreciate Samsung's education strategy. For example, we have an IoT (Internet of Things) course that is integrated with the curriculum of Astana IT University. The process is as follows: university students take this elective course at Samsung Innovation Campus, receive certificates of completion, and this counts as a completed subject at the university. It's a very nice cooperation.

Samsung Innovation Campus is an international social and educational program by Samsung Electronics that helps students learn the most in-demand IT specialties for free: artificial intelligence, Internet of Things, mobile development, and big data. Since 2014, approximately 119,000 students worldwide have graduated from Samsung Innovation Campus. Currently, it is implemented in more than 30 countries. In Kazakhstan, the program was launched in 2017, and about 10,000 young Kazakhstani people have participated in it since then.


• Stack Overflow: 2022 Developer Survey


• Samsung Electronics Newsroom (Kazakhstan): Қазақстандағы бағдарламалаудың әйел келбеті: кедергілер, стереотиптер және мүмкіндіктер

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