Factors Influencing The Career Choice In Software Development Among Female Undergraduate Students At Jomo Kenyatta University Of Agriculture And Technology, Kenya
ABSTRACT The retention of women in software development is a global problem. This report reflects on the results of a comprehensive study of female undergraduate students that was carried out at Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology. The Government policy on Gender (Sessional Paper No. 5 of 2005 on Gender Equality and Development) requires 30% of all jobs to be held by women across all careers. This study aimed at investigating the factors influencing the career choice in software development among female undergraduate students at Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology. A knowledge gap exists on the reasons for female undergraduate students‘ career choices in software development at university level. The independent variables of the study were gender perceptions, female role models in the software development industry, cultural norms and career guidance. The moderating and intervening variables were government and education policies and environmental and technological factors respectively while the dependent variable was the career choice of software development among female undergraduate students at Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology. Data was collected using questionnaires and secondary data. The sample composed of 100 students selected randomly from five departments; Computing, Information Technology, Electrical and Electronics Engineering, Human Resource and Development and Telecommunication and Information Engineering. The data collected was then coded and checked for coding errors and omissions. The coded data was processed in the Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) and analysed using percentages and mean scores to come up with data models to help in meeting the study objectives. The study was then be used to draw conclusions based on the data collected. Results from the data collected indicated that the career choice in software development among female undergraduate students at Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology is indeed influenced by career guidance, female role models, gender perceptions and cultural norms, in that order. This research therefore recommends that the stakeholders in the ICT sector map out strategies aimed at equipping women with more skills and training in software development from university level to the job market, in order to achieve growth potential in this dynamic industry hence making a significant contribution to the economy at large.