Virgin: 'Astonishing' Lack of Women Studying IT at University
Fewer than 18 percent of undergraduates studying computing are women according to research just released by Information Age, something which Virgin Media Business finds ‘astonishing’.
At a time when STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) subjects are increasingly at the top of the educational agenda, it seems not enough is being done to encourage young women into studying IT in higher education.
The information, revealed via a freedom of information (FOI) request, found that just 18 percent of students enrolled in computing courses in the 2014-15 academic year. This compares to the 19 percent that graduated from computing degrees in the last academic year and 20 percent the year before.
Responding to the findings, Gerry Arthurs, Virgin Media Business’s education lead said:
“It’s astonishing that well under a quarter of those studying computing at university are women, given the increasing recognition about the importance of STEM subjects by the government and the introduction of coding into the national curriculum, and within industry at large.
“Technology is incredibly important in a modern education and it needs to be across the board, from primary schools all the way through to further education in universities and colleges.
“It is essential that people aren’t put off from pursuing the careers they want, or are denied a competitive advantage, due to a lack of digital or technical skills.
“Technology is at the heart of every successful business so it’s bad news all round if people, male or female, feel that they can’t or don’t want to study subjects like computing.”
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.”