Click here to monitor SSC
SQLServerCentral is supported by Red Gate Software Ltd.
Log in  ::  Register  ::  Not logged in

Would I encourage my daughter to pursue a career in IT?

By Lynda Rab,

That is the question I have been mulling over since I was forwarded two articles on Women in IT:   "Why the Number of Women in IT is Decreasing" and "The Vanishing IT Woman - System i Women Respond".  As the titles suggest, these articles discuss the fact that the number of women choosing to study computer related courses in college or university is decreasing at a much higher proportion than males and the fact that many women are leaving the IT field.  They outline why these trends are developing, the dangers of these trends continuing and talk about ways the trends can be diverted.    

There was much talk about males and females having different skill sets that are both needed in IT… Well, I can't say that I have found it to be true!   I don't give much credence to the 'women are better listeners, analysts and relationship builders' and 'men are better at complex mental visualization and abstract thought' argument.  I think that a successful IT team is comprised of individuals with different, complementary skill sets, personalities and motivations, be they men or women.

I don't believe that skills sets or personality types are stereotypically male or female, but I do think that in many cases what motivates men and women is often different.  Recent changes in the IT industry might have made it less appealing to women and these changes may be why more women are leaving IT and young women are deciding not to pursue an IT career.

The IT industry has changed dramatically in the last 10 years.  Since the crash of the tech market, IT has been hit with lay-offs, downsizing, increased competition for fewer jobs, fewer high paying jobs, slashes to training budgets and out-sourcing.  There are less motivators for both males and females to enter or stay in the tech market, but possibly a few less motivators for females.  Women are often the primary caregivers in a family with conflicting priorities, especially when they have young children.  I feel that most women are looking for, among other things, a flexible, fairly secure and stable environment to work in.  

Now back to my original question:  "Would I encourage my daughter to pursue a career in IT?"  My initial response was "no" which left me with another question:  Why did I say "no"?  I have been extremely happy and successful with my career in IT and am now in the enviable position of having several career opportunities available to me.  I have never encountered problems relating to the fact that I was female and I have never thought that the fact I was a female would hinder me in any way in achieving whatever goal I set for myself.  My career also gave my financial independence at a young age.

After thinking about it for a while longer, I changed my answer to "yes" thinking that the pros of an IT career might still outweigh the cons for both males and females.  I think I would recommend it, provided that my daughter had the aptitude and characteristics that I think would improve her chances of balancing a successful IT career and happy family life.   Some of the key characteristics I would be looking for would be confidence, adaptability, the ability to learn quickly and good organizational skills.

From an employer's perspective, if they want to attract and retain more females in IT, they should make the work environment more flexible, stable and family friendly.  
Would you encourage your daughter to pursue an IT career?  Have you noticed a drop in the number of women in IT?  Do you think doing something about the declining number of women is IT is important?  What can employers and educators do to attract more women into IT?
Lynda Rab

Total article views: 20 | Views in the last 30 days: 1
Related Articles

24HOP Needs Women!

“Next 24 Hours of PASS on March 15-16 2011, celebrating Women’s History Month with 24 female speaker...


Women and Men - Same or Different?

Today we have a guest editorial from Wendy Pastick, co chair of the Women in Technology Virtual Chap...


Technology: Where have all the women gone?

Longtime author Kathi Kellenberger brings us a guest editorial today on what is happening with women...


Women in Technology

Warning: rant forthcoming. I don’t get the women in technology problem. Oh, I understand and see th...


Women in Technology

Warning: rant forthcoming. I don’t get the women in technology problem. Oh, I understand and see th...


Join the most active online SQL Server Community

SQL knowledge, delivered daily, free:

Email address:  

You make SSC a better place

As a member of SQLServerCentral, you get free access to loads of fresh content: thousands of articles and SQL scripts, a library of free eBooks, a weekly database news roundup, a great Q & A platform… And it’s our huge, buzzing community of SQL Server Professionals that makes it such a success.

Join us!

Steve Jones

Already a member? Jump in:

Email address:   Password:   Remember me: Forgotten your password?
Steve Jones