Historically the IT industry has been dominated by men, but is there space for women in the computer room?
“My opinion is that women are afraid to go into IT as it is predominantly male at present,” says Kim Palmer, Director of On the Ball College.
Palmer reflects on her early days as a young woman entering the IT sector. She recalls the challenges of being seen as incompetent simply because she was a woman, and dealing with questions like “how will you understand what IT is about?”
Despite these challenges Palmer encourages women to follow her lead into this exciting, fast-paced sector.
“Information Technology has helped me sustain myself in an unstable economy. It has helped me to be able to perform in my many roles as a women.”
Empowering women in IT
Things have not changed much in the IT industry over the last decade, reports Palmer.
“Amazingly 17 years later, I can see that the challenges are still in the industry as the number of female IT employees in companies are still rapidly low.”
However there are some organisations who are helping to transform mindsets and grow female IT professionals. For example women in IT and Code4CT are some of the voices leading the local discussion, but according to Palmer this discussion needs to be a global one.
“The awareness needs to be greater to impact the industry. This is not just a local challenge but an international one.”
Why choose a career in IT?
IT has many advantages in terms of career options and opportunities. Palmer highights some of the reasons why the IT industry is perfect for women.
“IT allows you to grow in salary and career path much quicker than any other industry.”
As IT becomes more embedded in every area of business and human life the possibilities for careers increases.
“Through technology I could assist communities, give employment to others and help others become employable. Women have the ability to multi-task, our role is to nurture, teach, grow, be creative and lend a helping hand. Information technology through innovation gives us as women that platform.”
What do I need to work in IT?
Palmer offers advice to prospective IT students.
You need to be able to adapt to change and love challenges.I.T pushes you to think out of the box and grow continuously.A good foundation is key in IT to ensure you have a foundation that builds you to the career path you are seeking.
“I would recommend that you decide what your future plans are and choose the IT career path that will get you there. That's the amazing part of IT. You can actually pave your own future through choosing the correct career path. For example, if you don’t want to be restricted to an office and instead work flexible hours, development ,web-design or app development could be an option.”
"I had no prior IT knowledge at 18 years of age and pursued a career in IT as I came from a school that had no IT. I became a Systems Engineer and later evolved into the IT education sector. For me IT is all about passion and innovation. You can obtain the necessary qualifications and skills if you have those two things."
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