IT trade association CompTIA has brought its Dream IT initiative to UK shores, to create female role models within the tech industry and to promote careers in IT.
The not-for-profit launched the Dream IT programme in the US last year, offering free online resources to inspire young girls to take up careers in tech or to encourage women to switch careers or re-enter the job market. CompTIA claims the US programme is on track to reach 10,000 people this year.
The programme provides ready-to-use presentations and seminars, along with resources for young women to learn about the opportunities a career in IT can offer. The materials are designed to equip role models with the tools needed to present within schools, colleges, universities and careers fares. Articles are included which demonstrate what a career in IT is like and what skills are needed to get started.
Speaking to WeAreTheCity at CompTIA’s recent EMEA Conference in London, Nancy Hammervik, Senior Vice President, Industry Relations at CompTIA, said: “Women are 51% of the population and 60% of graduates are females overall. We are doing the IT industry a great dis-service if we don’t encourage more women to join. Women have been known to be more creative, better leaders and are the primary household buyers – they should share a perspective on products before they go to market.”
“Unfortunately only 9% of girls say they have considered a career in IT, so we have a responsibility as an industry to share what roles in IT look like. You have to interface with technology in every industry, whether it’s fashion, medicine, if you run a restaurant or you’re a coder. We need to take away the fear to ensure tech isn’t seen as a chore.”
“The other side of this is that we want the women who are already here to feel good about themselves, empowered and to be able to share that. It’s not just about the women – about 30% of our male members are now on the roster to support with women in IT initiatives.”
She added: “There is an appreciation and frustration from women in the industry who want to give back. They appreciate that they are not in an industry where they are going to be replaced or downgraded and they have a sense of frustration that not many know how great a career in IT can be.”
Estelle Johannes, Director, Member Communities UK at CompTIA, said: “We follow where the need is and we’ve been localising the presentations and the video to ensure it engages the right people. Before the launch there was already a group in the UK who expressed their interested in launching the programme over here.”
“The materials aim to show that there is a place in IT for everybody.”
Cathy Alper, Director, Member Communities US, CompTIA, said: “Ensuring that more women enter the IT industry is hugely important for diversity and helping address the industry-wide skills gap. Women are actually well suited for a career in IT, which requires all sorts of skills, not just programming. Women bring leadership and interpersonal skills, which are a benefit to the IT workplace. In fact last year, we found that 73% of female IT professionals believe that their jobs make good use of their skills.
“We’ve been working closely with our UK member community over the past year to develop these new materials that will help ensure that women and girls hear about the opportunities and benefits of a career in IT.”