Inspiring women to work in technology
How can we deal with the gender gap in IT and technology industries? The fifth International Girls in ICT Day is a worldwide initiative that looks to encourage girls and young women to consider studying and working in technology.
A number of successful women in the tech industry to described their thoughts on this global effort, and share their views on the gender gap in tech.
Studying ICT in school doesn’t just benefit those looking to work in computing, it can also open doors to a wide range of technical fields. Doris Mattingly, Director of Engineering at Lantronix described her experience: “When I was searching for a job, I knew I wanted to work with devices and equipment, so there was a natural tendency to gravitate to the M2M (Machine to Machine) area. The degree I studied was in electrical engineering, which provided me with plenty of hands on experience with hardware and low-level software.”
Joanne Ayres, EMEA Marketing Director at Tintri argued: “Although the glass ceiling of the IT world is slowly rising, it is by no means shattered”. She went on to explain that "initiatives such as International Girls in ICT Day are paramount to raising awareness of the opportunities that exist in our industry, for all genders equally. It’s about time we break out of this idea that ICT is a career choice for males only - I see plenty of females around me in an IT working environment every day who never fail to inspire and impress me and their male colleagues.”
Ayres finds that her workplace thrives through diversity, arguing that “my team works well because of the mix of people, skill sets and personalities – no restrictions attached. I would love to see institutions fuelling the education and interest of young women around the globe to become more involved in IT, diminishing any stereotypes or fears in terms of their own competence that might be holding them back. By empowering women we empower their ambitions, outlook and self-belief: the rest will follow.”
When asked whether women bring a different mindset to the technology industry, Connie Stack, CMO at Digital Guardian, had said: "If you look up the definition of mindset you’ll find something to the effect of, ‘the established set of attitudes held by someone, often informed by their unique experiences, cultural norms, etc.’ So yes, women would bring a different mindset to IT. For me, a broader mix of mindsets equals more diversity. Numerous studies have demonstrated the benefits of a diverse workforce and yet the IT industry remains male dominated. There’s no doubt that we should all be trying to change this – the question is, how to effect the change?
"I believe it starts very early on with parents, educators and community leaders collaborating to convince the next generation of women that computer science, coding and technology isn’t the exclusive domain of men. As more and more industries leap into the digital age, technology will permeate literally every aspect of our economy. Technology has become one of the fastest-growing fields in business, one that needs more top talent. And one in which women simply cannot be left out.”
For Kat McIvor, Senior Learning Consultant at QA believes that this all begins with education. She argues that (contrary to most iterations of IT gurus in popular culture) studying computing can help students improve their social skills, specifically their ability to explain technical details. She explained: “Studying computing helped me to acquire both the social and technical skills to fulfil my role. As a student I participated in numerous group projects, which helped me to develop the skills to be able to explain things to people. The technical side just happens when you’re studying Computer Science, security or AI. Nowadays I don’t attend classes, however I continue to learn new things every day.”
“My every day job involves talking to people about technology. I'm involved with teaching, creating new courses and consultancy for companies of all sizes. I have to be able to explain how a new programming language or tool works, to both people with no experience and those who have been programming for years. I also have to be able to explain to the CEO of a company why a specific tool is amazing and why those working in his organisation need and want the training I provide.
“In order to do all of this, it’s essential that I understand and use these tools on a daily basis. Learning is continual; keeping up with emerging technologies is fun and always keeps me on my toes!"
GfK and VMware: Innovating together on hybrid cloud
GfK has been the global leader in data and analytics for more than 85 years, supplying its clients with optimised decision inputs.
In its capacity as a strategic and technical partner, VMware has been walking GfK along its digital transformation path for over a decade.
“We are a demanding and singularly dynamic customer, which is why a close partnership with VMware is integral to the success of everyone involved,” said Joerg Hesselink, Global Head of Infrastructure, GfK IT Services.
Four years ago, the Nuremberg-based researcher expanded its on-premises infrastructure by introducing VMware vRealize Automation. In doing so, it laid a solid foundation, resulting in a self-service hybrid-cloud environment.
By expanding on the basis of VMware Cloud on AWS and VMware Cloud Foundation with vRealize Cloud Management, GfK has given itself a secure infrastructure and reliable operations by efficiently operating processes, policies, people and tools in both private and public cloud environments.
One important step for GfK involved migrating from multiple cloud providers to just a single one. The team chose VMware.
“VMware is the market leader for on-premises virtualisation and hybrid-cloud solutions, so it was only logical to tackle the next project for the future together,” says Hesselink.
Migration to the VMware-based environment was integrated into existing hardware simply and smoothly in April 2020. Going forward, GfK’s new hybrid cloud model will establish a harmonised core system complete with VMware Cloud on AWS, VMware Cloud Foundation with vRealize Cloud Management and a volume rising from an initial 500 VMs to a total of 4,000 VMs.
“We are modernising, protecting and scaling our applications with the world’s leading hybrid cloud solution: VMware Cloud on AWS, following VMware on Google Cloud Platform,” adds Hesselink.
The hybrid cloud-based infrastructure also empowers GfK to respond to new and future projects with astonishing agility: Resources can now be shifted quickly and easily from the private to the public cloud – without modifying the nature of interaction with the environment.
The gfknewron project is a good example – the company’s latest AI-powered product is based exclusively on public cloud technology. The consistency guaranteed by VMware Cloud on AWS eases the burden on both regular staff and the IT team. Better still, since the teams are already familiar with the VMware environment, the learning curve for upskilling is short.
One very important factor for the GfK was that VMware Cloud on AWS constituted an investment in future-proof technology that will stay relevant.
“The new cloud-based infrastructure comprising VMware Cloud on AWS and VMware Cloud Foundation forges a successful link between on-premises and cloud-based solutions,” says Hesselink. “That in turn enables GfK to efficiently develop its own modern applications and solutions.
“In market research, everything is data-driven. So, we need the best technological basis to efficiently process large volumes of data and consistently distill them into logical insights that genuinely benefit the client.
“We transform data and information into actionable knowledge that serves as a sustainable driver of business growth. VMware Cloud on AWS is an investment in a platform that helps us be well prepared for whatever the future may hold.”