Monday, April 4th, 2011

Women Needed to Fill College and University Information Technology Programs

Girl Geeks

Who comes to mind when you think of Information Technology?

Describe the type of person who works in IT. What immediately comes to mind? If you’re being honest, you’re probably thinking of something like this: a figure sitting behind a computer screen in a dingy basement, typing all sorts of nonsensical [what they call] “code”, with bifocals as thick as the coffee mugs they’re drinking from, wheezing away due to an allergic reaction to daylight, dust, and public interaction. This is it; our picture of the typical computer geek.

But in the famous words of Bob Dylan, the times they are a changin’.

The old face of the IT guy is as passé as Windows 98. These guys have put away the pocket protectors and have pulled out all the stops, creating stuff that we all love (i.e. iPad), and are gracing the covers of Newsweek, Forbes, and Time Magazine (a la Steve Jobs). However, one thing about the previous image remains: in your mind’s eye, you’re still seeing a guy, right?

“I’ve worked with some very talented female programmers, and I find it strange that more women aren’t in the IT industry”, says Francois Barnard, Principal of BTH Education Group. “In my experience, they’re as good or better when it comes to comprehensive programming”, he continued, referring to time spent managing a courseware & curriculum development department.

As a woman, I avoided having to understand what a computer language was or even what A+ Preparation essentially prepared you for… but no longer. It turns out that I’m quite the computer geek. I concealed my inner nerd for so long that, one day, she just had to get out.

I used to be bound by society’s convictions as to why women rarely entered the IT field: we are genetically predisposed to detest math and science, and are, subsequently, not very good at either. We are taught to expand our artistic sides, and are commended for our linguistic aptitude. However, it is high time that we cast aside our dictionaries and stop feeling content that the only “IT knowledge” we have is how to post photos onto Facebook.

So I challenge you, ladies: toss aside your lipstick and grab your flash drive. Forget about simply writing catchy advertisements and begin writing pseudo-code. After all, now is the time to embrace your internal computer geek!

Because a shiny new bracelet is no longer your best accessory; a new ultra antistatic wrist strap is…

Christy Hillier
Author: Christy Hillier
Christy Hillier works for BTH Education Group, a private career college located in Mississauga, ON with diplomas specializing in Information Technology.
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  1. Jen Says:

    Thanks you for this article. I am a 27 year old female and I am entering the software development program at Mohawk College in the fall. I am super excited about this program and cannot wait to explore the fine language of computers. However, As a mature student and a female I have quite a bit of reservations about it. I know that the enrollment for females in this program is extremely low. As well I am a little intimidated about starting as a mature student. I would like to know if anyone out their has any advice for an older female entering the programming world. Thank you.

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