15 Dec Gender gap in IT
Best advice you would give a young woman looking to enter into IT training / IT employment:
Ofelia: I am studying at Techtorium – IT training institute, and it is awesome. You get to go out and build the future every day. In spite of what you might think, giving the few number of females at Techtorium and in the IT industry, it’s a pretty good place for women to work or study.
I have found that when I tell my male team-mates that they are smart and talented, they already know it and I’m not telling them anything new. When I tell my female coworkers that they are smart and talented and doing a great job, they blossom as if they’ve just heard something that they hadn’t allowed themselves to believe.
So believe in yourself. Ask for forgiveness, not permission. Go out, build stuff, break stuff and state your ideas and opinions with confidence, and remember – those doubts and fears, they’re just in your head.
Rumbie: Girl you have all it takes! The only thing between you and where you want to be is you. It’s all about what you tell yourself and what you constantly feed your mind. You will get so much advice from everyone but sometimes you got to follow your heart and do something for yourself and no one else. Don’t get me wrong, you need people in life but they are there to give you information, the path and destiny is yours to choose. It’s not worth missing opportunities for people who might not to be in your life in a couple of years from now or for people who are confused about what to do with their own lives. IT is an industry where I believe any woman can thrive. IT is broad and you have so many options, it just depends on what you want to do.
Are the challenges you face specific to being female or being the minority group -which happens to be female?
Rumbie: I scratched my head on this one. I don’t recall being in a position where l felt l was left out simply because l was a girl or a minority. Maybe it does happen to be honest but l never pay attention. I have my reasons for being where I am and as long l’m getting where I want to be, l’m satisfied! No matter the circumstance, l never see myself as a minority that’s my policy. One may join the industry and come across issues like these. Just be prepared and always remember the gem that you are and why you are here.
How do you get support for any challenges you face?
Ofelia:In this day-and-age, it seems that everyone is running short on time. There aren’t enough hours in the day, and there isn’t any room in the schedule for learning. But during my time at Techtorium I learnt that teamwork is the most important part of employment and out in the real world. Techtorium teaches us how to help others and ask for help. I couldn’t have overcome all the challenges I faced in class if it wasn’t for the help from my peers and also the help from the amazing trainer. All Techtorium trainers are always available for all the student that need help.
Rumbie: l must say l’m surrounded by awesome trainers and peers who are always ready to help. I am also grateful for Ofelia, she is literally my go-to person and l think it’s because of the female support which just gives you that sense of comfort you might not always get with the guys. At Techtorium in particular, it’s great because of the Student Services team. They are there to help you in whatever situation, yes whatever! Whether you need help deciding what to cook for dinner, having course problems, need counselling or you are having boyfriend problems!. They are the go-to team.
Looking at the future of the IT industry: will the inclusion of more women influence change or do you feel it will happen once women are in management roles?
Ofelia:I believe that having female leaders changes the norms about who can lead and what qualities are necessary in leadership. Having women in leadership roles is breaking down cultural and structural barriers, improving leadership around the world and showing everyone what women can achieve. Women bring different skills, structural and cultural perspectives to drive effective solutions. In short, female leaders change the way global solutions are forged.
That is why it is important to keep pushing forward. Fairness and equality are admirable goals in themselves, and women have consistently proven that they are able to benefit the future in important ways.
Rumbie: l guess it sometimes takes a woman who has actually gone through the experience of working in a male dominated environment, to want to empower other women to progress in the industry. On the other hand, the young girls out there dreading to pursue careers in these industries, they need the established women to motivate them. How do they go for IT if all the ‘heroes’ of IT are men? What is going to motivate them if the women in power don’t put themselves out there as the role models?
Do you have any tips for future female IT students?
Ofelia:The first thing you should do when faced with a difficult problem is to start with a positive outlook. Sometimes our first reaction is to fear uncertainty. That’s pretty natural. However, I’ve realised over the years it is the unknown that has given us, as individuals, the curiosity to try new things and aim for the stars. Look at it as an opportunity to learn something new and to test your ability and wit. Emotions or stress can sometimes affect our thinking and judgment. Do not let these cloud your mind. In most cases, problems are best dealt with logically. Try adopting a rational mindset and let your mind govern your actions.
1. Have a vision of where you want to be, this is not a personal skill but it’s one thing that is going to keep you focused in the industry so no matter who discourages you, if they are not part of your vision then treat the discouragement as a life event and keep going!
2. Socialise. Be someone who is confident enough to talk to someone new. Who knows where your next opportunity is coming from?
3.Live the moment! Especially us women. If we only focus on the challenges we face in the industry, a good chunk of life is surely going to pass you by. You are
definitely going to miss all the beautiful moments focusing on issues that are not critical. You will only get this moment once in your life, why not make the most of it?
Techtorium is planning on hosting another “Women in IT” event in 2018.
We want to keep encouraging young women to join this fast growing industry, so watch this space!
Join us now by starting your online application or come visit us on-site to meet all our current women in IT 🙂