Diversity in Software Engineering

Diversity & Inclusion is a pivotal challenge of contemporary software engineering due to the lack of women and underrepresented groups in general among software professionals. Software is eventually an artifact crafted by developers and used pervasively on a global scale by all kinds of people. However, it is still developed by an overall minority of professionals, missing some potentially crucial perspective that might be overseen. Therefore, the inclusion of underrepresented professionals is one of the best options to build software teams that can truly craft “software for all”.

Gender Differences in Personality Traits

For sure, one of the biggest underrepresented group are women in STEM. In this project, in collaboration with Klaas-Jan Stol, we run a large-scale study of about 500 software engineers assessing their personality traits. Thus, we analyzed the traits differences between self-identified men and women using several Bayesian statistical approaches and Network analysis. By understanding such differences we advanced the following implications relevant to build a more diverse environment.




Individual job performance

Women have higher Honesty-Humility personality trait, which is a strong predictor of job performance, compared to men

Including women in software teams increases team performance and decreases workplace delinquency such as absenteeism and alcohol abuse

Team performance

Men are emotionally more stable but have higher psychopathic traits than women, which score higher in Openness to Experience

As both men and women exhibit negative and positive traits linked to teaming, mixed-gender teams will perform better than non-mixed teams

Championing change

Extraversion has the average shortest paths between the other traits. The paths to pass through Extraversion are shorter than other traits, and it is also easier to pass from the other traits to Extraversion

Extrovert employees are best suited to drive long-term, organization-wide transformation processes

Prototypical transformation

Honest-Humility better predicts the direct impact of one node to the entire network and is the most central node within the network

Software professionals who score high on the Honest-Humility personality trait are best suited to conduct pilot evaluations of new practices and tools.

Management of complexity

Women have more relations between the traits, with respect to men. More nodes spread information to others than men’s

Women software engineers can deal better with complex social tasks, especially in relation to people