A lot of research confirms what we already know about the disproportional gender representation in the IT industry. Interestingly (but not surprisingly), one of the main reasons why women do not pursue a career in a technical job stems back to the simplistic approach that the tech industry still has that geeky, computer nerd image attached to it, and this is definitely making such a choice even more difficult and unappealing.
The fun of working with cutting-edge technologies ends up overlooked from the years of education already, perpetrating women's underrepresentation in the IT industry. This, of course, comes as no surprise in a society where the career standards are different among genders. Women are expected to thrive in jobs which require caregiving and entail a people-oriented approach, while men are mostly encouraged to pursue a career in science, technology or economics (STEM).
Part of Codaisseur's mission is to abolish such a stereotypical approach and offer equal opportunities to all the (unprecedented) groups in the IT industry. We have multiple examples to showcase (not to mention, feel proud) of women that have changed their careers with one and only goal in mind: leave their mark in a male-dominated industry.
Another rising factor that is holding women back from pursuing a career in development is the lack of female role models in the IT industry. Truth is that there are only a few depictions of women involved in a tech-related career and most of them are even portrayed with negative connotations or an unfavorable manner. Let's take as an example Sandra Bullock's role in the Hollywood movie ‘The Net’. Bullock’s character is presented as a nerd who experiences a life-or-death drama caused by the fact that she works in an IT career.
From the classrooms, where the lack of female computer science professors is prevalent, to media, where women IT specialists are presented as the exemption to the norm, the social barriers that hinder a successful entry of females into technology-related fields are domineering.
It's time for a change.
Since a role model doesn't necessarily need to be a movie star, we would like to present you with three different (not to mention, inspiring) stories of women who successfully changed their career path and have already conquered the IT industry in their own way.
Atieh moved to the Netherlands as an expert in designing sales and marketing strategies and she decided to take the huge leap into development while she has stated herself that she initially was afraid of coding.
In an attempt to combat this fear, she joined the Academy in June 2020 and was hired as a Software Engineer at the start of this year. Atieh's professionalism and hard work have led her to carry great technical responsibility while developing complex product components.
During her job search period, she mastered AWS and MongoDB while she was attending intensive Dutch courses. She acquired a full professional capacity in the English language in a year. To us, she's the human equivalent of a swan; she may strive a lot under water, but always looks cool on the surface.
Carlijn van de Weijer
Carlijn has been working in Recruitment and HR for quite a while, before deciding to turn her career around. She has been training data professionals so she was familiar with related terminology and stacks.
Carlijn's motto is: "I haven't tried that before, so let me do and conquer it." We see her soul animal as a tiger; she's fast, efficient and always hunting new experiences.
She has been challenged (if not overwhelmed) by the fact that there are so many things that she doesn't know yet, but also inspired by the motivation to introduce a modern workflow and, hence, bring a new perspective to her company.
And what a typical achievement at her new job looks like?
"One of the senior developers is working on a big project for a big client and part of it is in React. Today in the standup he asked for help, so I offered (thinking it would be too hard, but nice to try and learn from it). Within half an hour with lots of googling and reading GitHub issues, I worked it out! This made my day, honestly, and I feel super proud now! It definitely shows how skilled juniors from Codaisseur are at working out solutions for bugs."
Willemijn used to work as a growth marketer while she has an educational background in Psychology. As Willemijn is keeping her mind open to new experiences, we view her soul animal as a dog; she's kind, people-focused and hardworking.
She joined the Codaisseur Academy in May 2020 and she started working as a Front-end Developer and Junior Tester in November. So far she has experienced that working as a full-time developer is completely different from learning in the academy. She learned a different language, worked with tools, workflows, and development lingo she had never seen or heard before.
Sometimes, she had her doubts and felt like an imposter, while the next moment she had a small victory and “aha”-moment. It got better every day, and that was really cool to see.
When she started the academy, she couldn’t imagine that she would build and learn so many things on her own in just a couple of months. And now she's contributing to a milestone project for her organisation!
How Willemijn made that happen?
"The most important part is to be patient and find a place where you can grow. I got lucky with pretty amazing colleagues who always help me out when needed. However, they are also bold enough to let me swim for a while so that I get the hang of things on my own. The imposter syndrome is still there, but let’s remember, Rome was not built in one day either."
Wow, how can I get there?
Simple! All you need is passion, energy and determination to reappraise your career goals. Considering that technology is all around us and will continue to (re)frame and define our lives (or at least our habits), it's time for us to embrace it.
In the meantime, let's break some stereotypes, too. 😉
- Iwu, R. U., & Azoro, A. V. (2017). A study on the barriers to participation of females in science, mathematics and technology education in Imo State the way forward. Education Research and Reviews, 12 (17), 832 - 838.
- Brown, R., Ernst, J., Clark, A., DeLuca, B. & Kelly, D. (2017) Engaging Females in STEM. Technology and Engineering Teacher, 77, (3), 29-31.
- Yeloushan, K. (1989). Social Barriers Hindering Successful Entry of Females into Technology-Oriented Fields. Educational Technology, 29 (11), 44 - 46.
- Thomas, T., & Allen, A. (2006). Gender Differences in Students’ Perceptions of Information Technology as a Career. Journal of Information Technology Education, 5, 165 - 178.