Women in Coding, Opportunities and the Future

Technology is often considered enablement in the back office or something to support a business. However, in this post-COVID-19 period—there is a growing awareness, and technology is making a shift to the foreground. As technology becomes the competitive differentiator for how companies and ecosystems operate, this rapid development creates new opportunities in every direction.

A growing number of companies are hiring web developers, software engineers, and other technology workers who use technical skills to streamline their operations and leverage the power of technology within their organizations—going on to highlight that the industry is driven predominantly by talent. As a matter of fact, employment for software developers is projected to grow 22% from 2019 to 2029 (according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics). However, the biggest challenge the tech industry faces today is talent acquisition across genders.

Diversity is imperative in tech as it ensures future products are better, safer, and consider everyone. Yet, women in tech are outnumbered. According to the ‘2021 Women in Tech Report’ by TrustRadius, 72% of women say they’re outnumbered 2:1, and 26% say they are outnumbered by 5:1. The same survey also highlights that women in tech have been impacted significantly by the pandemic compared to their male counterparts. A whopping 57% reported burnout due to work-from-home, and 42% took on more household responsibilities in this time.

Interestingly, a McKinsey report found that diverse companies perform better, hire better, have more engaged employees, and retain better. So then, why do we see this gap? 

Let’s touch upon a few critical reasons. Overall, women technologists make up just 28.8% of the tech workforce today. While this is an increase from the past decade, it is still at a snail’s pace. Instead of focusing on having women at the C-Suite level, we must emphasize hiring women at the entry and managerial ranks. It is a vicious cycle—women are currently over-looked for entry-level positions, hence can’t gain relevant experience as quickly as others. Therefore, placing them at a disadvantage in the hiring process is due to a lack of the appropriate knowledge, skills, and network they need. Another challenge the tech industry faces is showcasing more female tech role models to inspire future generations to choose a tech career. In a survey by the Women in Tech in the U.K., most respondents felt that it is the responsibility of schools (31% agreed) to make a change regarding the disproportion of women in tech by fueling a passion for tech in females students at a young age. Simply put, we’ve got to start early.

Research shows us that the presence of women on technical teams increases their collective problem-solving ability and creativity.

We need female entrepreneurs to develop unique solutions to new and upcoming problems. Inspiring young women to take computer science from a young age is critical as more industries step into the digital age. Technology is a growing industry, one in which we desperately need top talent and one which needs its women to grow and lead. Creating an unbiased and un-prejudiced work environment in traditionally male-dominated sectors like I.T., followed by better acknowledgment in policymaking, is one way to start.

For purposes like this and more, MIT xPRO’s latest offering, Professional Certificate in Coding: Women’s Cohort, is designed to create more options to meet the growing demand for software developers who can leverage the power of technology for their organizations. With this online offering, women anywhere in the world can develop the skills to be a full-stack developer—gaining both the tools and the confidence to advance careers in software development.

T.C. Haldi, Senior Director, MIT xPRO, says, “Computer Science and Engineering – two of the most lucrative STEM fields – remain male-dominated. It’s time to close the gap and give women equal opportunities to pursue and thrive in STEM careers.

Erin Rosenblatt, Director of Professional Certificates at Emeritus, has been working towards bridging the gender gap in tech.

“Role models are critical for helping women believe that they can have success in this field. When they imagine a software developer or a computer scientist, people often have a certain picture in their minds. It is our endeavor to start by creating a shift in that perception.”

By Neha Mulchandani

This article first appeared on LinkedIn Pulse

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