Digital Transformation Through Agile Delivery
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Digital Transformation Through Agile Delivery
IT Agility AbilityTM

Women under-represented in male dominated IT industry

By . December 20, 2018
It’s no surprise that the IT industry is lacking the female presence. The industry is predominantly a male oriented one with women accounting for a mere 17% of IT professional in the UK. Gender diversity is becoming a huge issue especially for the IT industry.

Contrary to popular belief there is a high demand for women in IT. The BBC organised a panel in September which addressed the issue in this sector.

Julia Whitney, general manager for BBC user experience and design said “The most important strength women can bring to the workplace is just being a woman in the workplace. I don’t want to be treated differently as a woman, but we do need to raise awareness about diversity.”

Although action has been taking to address the skills gap, the focus may be in the wrong place. Coding seems to be the leading in priority and schools are introducing coding as part of the curriculum. “Since September 2014, children aged five and up have been learning the fundamentals of programming in schools around the country” Computer World UK. In addition Prime Minister, David Cameron has announced a Computer Science GCSE that will come into fruition in 2016.

With an ever growing skills shortage it is predicted that in a few years the skills shortage in the IT sector will reach up to 300,000 workers, which is just in London. If we include Europe the shortage dramatically increases to 900,000 workers.

Is there too much emphasis being placed in the wrong area? Focusing and educating children with IT skills will help in the long run but how can we take action in the short term? A growing issue in IT today is the shortage of cyber security professionals.

During the BBC panel, Kate Russell explained that although there are approaches being taken to teach children technological skills, there is still a lack of role models for young girls considering tech careers. Angela Messer said “We must demonstrate to young women thinking about entering the industry the many opportunities that await them and reinforce for those currently working in cyber security that they have bright futures ahead”.

Why is this? According to a report “Women in information security are quickly converging on men in terms of academic focus, computer science and engineering, and have a higher concentration of advanced degrees”. Women possess the talent but are still a minority (10%) in an industry seeing a shortage and by 2020 the security sector could see a deficit of up to 1.5 million professionals.

According to Miller, the statistics show that the industry needs more talent. “Let's foster more talent and innovation, everywhere in information security. That means taking more risks and including more voices. Having hard data gives us the ability to assess industry gaps and shortages – and individual career objectives and expectations – in a more thoughtful and systematic way,” Allison Miller, product manager at Google.

Reporting and addressing the skills gap and woman being under represented are the first steps. The real question is how can the industry empower women to take on roles in the IT and IT security sector or does the issue go deeper and is down to the Hiring Managers? 

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