Women in IT: The Time is Now
The fact that women are underrepresented in information technology jobs is well known. But it’s fair to say that, for the individual woman considering a career in IT, statistics are unimportant. Instead, she simply wants to know, “Will I be happy and successful in this line of work?”
While we can’t guarantee happiness or success, we at Carolina Career College are convinced that this is an excellent time for women to pursue careers in information technology. Here’s why:
IT jobs are rewarding for women for the same reasons they’re rewarding for men; e.g. high demand both now and in the future, reliable career advancement, a fast-paced work environment, a chance to do something important, and a realistic path to work-life balance. Regardless of gender, the field offers extraordinary benefits unmatched by several other careers.
Significant efforts are being made by major technology companies to hire more women. For example, Accenture, a global tech services company, has pledged to boost its workforce to 50% women by 2025. Chip maker, Intel, has doubled bonuses for employees who refer women to its IT openings. Google extended its maternity leave to five months in an effort to recruit and maintain more women. While these kinds of initiatives will vary from employer to employer, women seeking IT jobs are experiencing unprecedented acceptance.
But why? Why are corporations actively recruiting women for their information technology staff? Some may be simply obeying equal opportunity laws, others, reacting to outside protests. But according to an MIT study, gender diversity in the workplace helps firms be more productive. “Having a more diverse set of employees means you have a more diverse set of skills,“ explains Sara Ellison, the study’s author.
Often, women can offer a different perspective than that of men. For example, companies with a significant female customer base will obviously benefit from a female perspective. But in less obvious situations, a woman can offer “a new set of eyes” on a problem. Whether her take is better than his is immaterial. What matters is that both benefit from new information, leading to better decisions.
A more tangible reason why women are being recruited for IT is the growing role that “soft skills” play in the world of technology. In today’s business environment, the responsibilities of IT staffers go well beyond the construction, programming, and coordination of machines. Computers have to help people.
IT is no longer an isolated collection of “geeks” staring blindly into monitors but a team of support staff that interact regularly with customers and other employees, solving technical problems, streamlining processes, and generating accurate timely data needed for critical decision-making.
In their traditional business roles, women have demonstrated their ability to converse, explain, and reassure. Today, companies need more people who can speak softly with authority, who can translate computer-speak into everyday language, who can calm a worried customer, and who can help a busy executive understand a complex set of data.
Of course, these qualities are not possessed exclusively by women. But any woman who is comfortable in both conversation and computing will find she’s needed by today’s corporations.
Workers are increasingly demanding a healthy balance between their jobs and their personal lives. This balance is essential for parents who are the primary caregivers for their children.
With the advent of Cloud Computing, much of the world’s IT work is now done remotely, allowing staffers to work from any location, often with flexible schedules. In fact, studies have shown that workers are more efficient and less stressed when they work remotely. Information technology jobs are ideal for this approach, allowing caregivers of both genders to be productive on the job and also available for their families.
For women with a pioneering spirit and a determination to succeed, information technology is a frontier to be explored. In today’s complex world, technology lies at the heart of every major advancement. Women who join the tech revolution today will be among the leaders of this transformative force tomorrow.
In their traditional roles, women have instinctively pursued careers that nurture and support others. In today’s world, information technology has become a helping professional whose primary purpose is to make life easier on every level. Medical breakthroughs, time-saving devices, increased food production, energy efficiency, global communication, and space exploration are but a few of the areas that depend on technology.
We invite women to join Sally Ride, the first American woman in space, and all the other women who have opened doors previously closed to join the tech revolution. Get started today at Carolina Career College!