Why young women should want to work in tech
More and more graduates are considering a career in tech – but they’re not women, and that needs to change
For students enrolled in a university, the ultimate goal following graduation is employment. For some, that may entail scooping ice cream and crashing on a parent’s couch for a few years. For others, it may be an unrelenting position as an analyst, rarely seeing the light of day.
Whatever the ‘dream job’ may be of the college graduates of today, the technology industry is currently highly desirable to college students entering the workforce, considering millennials want to make a wider impact through their employers now more than ever.
However, of these graduates, the disparity between men and women interested in working in the tech industry is vast. According to a survey by Girls Who Code, 66% of girls ages 6-12 are interested in enrolling in computing programs, with that interest drastically dropping to 4% of girls in their freshman year of college. Though the tech industry is pervasive, with APIs and AI reaching into the most basic functions of our everyday life, female interest in computer science education does not match the pace of development.
According to 2011 U.S. Census Bureau statistics, only 26% Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) roles were held by women, despite business cases stating benefits like increased productivity, increased creativity and a satisfied diverse customer base as benefits of promoting a diverse workplace. There is an obvious void of women occupying roles to which they aspired as a young girl.
Though the numbers indicate low employment, not all hope is lost for women working in STEM roles. In fact, here at CA, female interns across several departments have ambitions to switch things up.
Currently an Accounting major at Fairfield University, Lauren McCarthy explained that the expeditious pace of the workplace drew her to CA Technologies for the summer.
“Technology is a crucial part of our everyday lives and the industry is continuing to grow rapidly,” McCarthy said. “Although I am in the Finance department of the company, I have learned so much about the software industry just in the two weeks that I have been at CA.”
For motivated individuals, like the young women just entering the workforce, a fast-paced and forward-looking sector is incredibly attractive. Pooja Shankar, a Masters student at the University of Massachusetts Boston and CA summer intern, is pushed to learn something new every day.
“The learning, the curiosity and the motivation to create and innovate something worthwhile keeps you going every single day,” Shankar said. “The defining moment for me was to experience what my mentors had taught me over the years. My guide at college had called it ‘The Kick’ and my mentor at work had called it ‘The Satisfaction’. The gratification, when you get to see people benefitting from your work, albeit in a small manner and the understanding that you are a part of it motivated me to keep doing what I do best – learning.”
Despite low engagement for women in tech, the industry itself can be incredibly attractive beyond the assumptions of a male-only environment. Though Silicon Valley may have the reputation of being rife with a “bro culture” mentality, there are gaps in IT that require women to be present. For one, a diverse perspective in any environment is beneficial. According to a recent McKinsey & Company study, a diverse workforce contributes to attracting a more diverse customer base, therefore putting women in the driver’s seat for boosting revenue for their company.
Beyond the economic benefits for businesses to hire women, young girls should just want to work in tech. Compared to other industries, the barriers to entry are lower, with fewer degrees required and more opportunities available, bolstered by equality initiatives. Furthermore, roles in this sector pay generously with impressive benefits. Finally, and most importantly, technology makes a difference. Engineering, solving critical societal issues, driving the economy through effective business, and improving lives through advances undeniably makes an impact.
CA currently implements programs to encourage women to pursue their goals, professionally in general, and in STEM particularly. For young women, CA currently is committed to the Tech Girls Rock initiative, with the help of Boys & Girls Clubs of America. The program hopes to expose children to career goals they perhaps previously may not have imagined. CA employees also have the opportunity to reach out to the young people, through day-long workshops and a continued mentorship role.
Exemplary work practices, like promised pay parity, a dedication to encouraging diversity, and generous parenting policies, attract women to roles within CA. Though highly valued, and vital to CA’s mission, these practices are not industry-wide, making CA a unique employer for women seeking to work in the industry. By standing up for what should be a universal approach, CA seeks to halt the 52% of female scientists, engineers and technologists who abandon their chosen careers.
As many companies strive to make their workplaces more attractive for women, CA is often recognized as a leader in that regard, with distinctions on lists such as “Best Places to Work in IT” by Computerworld and “Best Companies for Multicultural Women” by Working Mother.
“I realized the company culture is one of diversity, and equal to everyone,” Jiayu Peng, a student at Hofsta University and CA summer intern. “I really enjoy the work here, the people here.”
As we continue our professional journeys, it seems more important to defy the numbers now than ever. Women are currently the minority, but the opportunities to alter the status quo are increasingly prevalent.
“As a student studying finance at Providence College, I am lucky to look at the blank slate in front of me and begin to find a path for myself,” Molly Sasso, a CA summer intern, said. “I feel in order to turn this path into a long road ahead you must consider the future.”