Shortage of Female STEM Workers Hurts Tech Industry

  • @Joyfano Reading the article I think that part of the issue is actually exposed right there. They talk about women not entering tech jobs and then talk about needing STEM education. But, at least in the US, the best path to tech jobs is not via college and university. That is a great path to non-tech STEM jobs like scientific research, forensics, math, etc. But to programming and IT they are not. So our answer to getting women into non-traditional jobs is to push them more and more towards education that will take them away from those fields.

    I've long stated that one of the challenges that women face in getting into tech is that women are, traditionally, more likely to take "accepted education paths" to get to their careers - they follow the advice of parents and teachers and focus on social acceptable success paths. Men are generally more carefree and willing to challenge authority and look for alternative means of entering a field. IT and software engineering, more than any other field I know, reward the latter and punish the former. So the very behaviour that we push on girls to move them into IT is the very thing that I see moving them away from it.

  • One key difference is that IT is a field we expect people to enter young. Like in high school, in most cases. Guys looking to get into IT are encouraged to do so at a very young age and are making inroads into the industry as early as thirteen or fourteen years old. If a guy asked me how to get into IT at that age I would tell him to go intern for local companies, volunteer at church or school, get books and just start reading, get certs.

    We aren't catching girls early enough. By the time most girls get even exposed to IT they are six to eight years behind the boys who are already established. Girls are not encouraged at young ages to seek out tech career options and to pursue non-college paths to those careers. This is the real problem as I see it. Girls should be, like boys, taught programming before middle school, encouraged to do "real" computer learning through middle school and encouraged to go straight to the career world with interning, volunteering and alternative non-college education in high school so that they can be already working professionally by the time that they graduate or before they would have been out of college in the field where that is rewarded.

    As a company with a high school intern program, many boys are interested in participating, but not a single girl. This is the root of the issue, IMHO.

  • I wonder how social media will help or hurt women in IT. Here on ML, women are well represented with a significant portion of posts coming from women. But in some more established, larger and older IT social media women are actually far less represented than they are more broadly in the industry. People often think that making IT more social will encourage women to participate but is this true? Or does it solidify the "old boys club" feeling and actually push women away? Are women encouraged to participate in social media in the industry in the same way that men are?

  • Honestly i started to understand everything and got more courage to participate here. Thanks to everyone specially from NTG team.

  • I often get rejected in many companies here in our country.They thought that women can do nothing than man specially in IT field. Yes it really hurts. I also remember when i attended a training, all of the participants are in senior level also "old boys club" yeah they are under estimating women's ability. When i hold the Router and set up a network for domain set up practice they were staring at me like asking "Does this girl really know what shes doing right now?

  • The lack of women is and always will be the same in the IT industry. Young girls are not introduced to the tech world really until they are older, which is a huge disadvantage. Teen girls are not worried about ripping a computer apart and making it play games it wasn't meant to. Girls are into makeup and boys and texting. Boys just like computers are exposed to them very early on and get into doing things much much younger.

    It doesn't help that at least half the men in the IT industry automatically treat a woman like they have no clue when it comes to anything IT. The constant assumptions that I could only be the helpdesk dispatcher or call center helpdesk tech is annoying and demeaning. I think we are very lucky here at NTG to have 3 women that are techs and a few other women who would like to work for us. SW and ML are not the norm for how the IT pro's treat woman (well for the most part at least).

  • I agree with @Minion-Queen - young women are generally not encouraged to use their brains. Instead there are cultural norms that dictate girls to be agreeable, sociable, feminine, and somewhat obsequious.

    It's been an interesting career filled with shops of condescension, working twice as hard for half the recognition. On the other side of the spectrum are the stellar gigs where I had the support I needed from my coworkers to learn, grow, and shine. I'd be interested to hear from other women IT pros and trade notes on career paths.

  • I've never actually had a job experience in IT where I was treated like I didn't know what I was doing because I'm a female. I don't know if this is a reflection of entering the field at 27 instead of 20. When I was in elementary and high school, it never occurred to me to not be interested in science, and I never felt like I was discouraged from it. There were almost no official opportunities in technology, though, for anyone, not just girls. I think this is where Scott's argument comes in: he got access to a computer on his own and a young age, and decided to learn programming, whereas we had a computer when I was little, but I didn't even know it was possible for a kid to learn how to write code.

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