Moraine Park Technical College (MPTC) is doing our part to help increase the number of females in IT with our Girls Make IT Happen, #ITgirls event on June 26 through June 29. The event will feature one day in each of the following IT disciplines: IT Tech Support and IT Network, Graphic Communications, IT Web Developer, and IT Mobile Apps and will run from 1-4 pm each day. The event is geared towards young women entering grades 9-12 this fall interested in exploring IT careers.
Women are greatly under-represented in Information Technology (IT) careers. According to Ashcraft, Eger, and McLain (2016), only 25% of the workers in IT are women. The IT field needs to do more to attract and retain women in its workforce. Unfortunately, there is a stereotype that exists about how IT professionals are nerds. Norman (2012) believes that the lack of women in IT issue may have to do with cultural norms and the stereotype of who works in IT.
“It might come down to something simple like the difference between buying your son an erector set and buying your daughter a doll” (Norman, 2012). Norman (2012) says to encourage young girls to tinker and take things apart and put them back together because it has an impact on their confidence and determining how they feel about certain careers. IT is a great career with lots earning potential. In general, IT professionals enjoyed a 5 percent pay increase over the past year, up from $81,327 in 2011 to $85,619 (Samson, 2013).
One way that companies are helping to create interest for science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) is to create programs that expose middle-school students to STEM disciplines. Early exposure will help erase gender stereotypes and help establish a more diverse IT workforce (Norman, 2012). AT&T sometimes hires women who show a propensity for technology and then trains and molds then into IT pros (Norman, 2012). San Antonio-based Rackspace Hosting Incorporated created a diversity program which includes mentor groups and networking events (Norman, 2012).
Well-paid jobs in IT are available all across the industry. Sales Force states that they are not able to hire fast enough and feel that they are not alone in this situation. (Armstrong, 2017). Female role models must also emerge and inspire generations of young female students to aspire to a career in IT (Armstrong, 2017). Marissa Meyer of Yahoo has certainly been a great role model for young girls across country. Her tenure at Yahoo is proof that girls can climb the ladder in IT companies and make it to the top.
You can learn more about the event at our website www.morainepark.edu/itgirls. There are only 20 seats available for this great opportunity, so register today!
Written by Dominic Garofalo, Web Developer Instructor