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24

Sep

Getting the future generation into careers in IT

When it comes to encouraging new talent into ICT careers, we need to start younger and do more.

Over the past decade and a bit, Intergen has had a strong and committed graduate programme. Our grads have always contributed hugely to our company culture, and very quickly become successful, fully-fledged IT professionals working on a wide variety of client engagements across Australasia and, thanks to our Seattle business, even building solutions directly for Microsoft Corporation. Every year we scour the universities of New Zealand for talented students finishing up their qualifications and readying themselves for the working world; and every year we’re rewarded by their creativity and problem solving skills, enriched by the fresh perspective they bring to finding technology solutions in always-evolving business situations.

But it’s not enough. The IT industry on the whole is growing rapidly, with annual employment growth in New Zealand’s ICT sector sitting at 6.7% (TIN100 Report 2013). ICT revenues are steadily inclining and as a sector we’re faced with an issue that’s more pronounced than ever: we just can’t get enough talent. Demand for IT professionals is far outstripping supply. And graduate programmes aren’t enough.

Over the past couple of years we’ve come to the realisation that as employers in the ICT sector we need to be doing more, and we need to be starting earlier. We have a duty – not only to our clients, who want to know we have the right – and the best – people in place to work with them on their technology journeys – but also to the wider ICT industry to help build a growing and self-sustaining work base that supports an industry set for untold growth.

As employers we need to be taking responsibility for helping to educate the future generation of workers about everything a career in technology has to offer. With the ubiquity of all things digital, it’s often said these days that all companies are IT companies, and – by extension – that most future careers will, as a given, call for a high degree of digital literacy. And we especially need to be encouraging young women into careers in ICT, as Diane Hannay, our Head of Marketing and Communications, wrote here last week. Across the IT sector at large, the global gender ratio of women to men sits at around 20:80. And locally, of all tertiary enrolments in ICT-related degrees or diplomas, less than a quarter of these are women. When you consider this, it’s no wonder that women are so underrepresented in the average ICT workplace!

As someone who has formed a successful career in the IT field, and as a woman who has seen how valuable, productive and successful women are in IT roles, whether these roles are technical, consultative, managerial, people-leaders, project management-related, client service or sales, or administrative, being able to actively encourage young women to consider IT careers is extremely rewarding.

Intergen is proud to be supporting the Wellington East Girls’ College Silicon Valley trip, starting later this week – 39 girls spending 11 days visiting industry giants like Microsoft, Facebook and Google and seeing first-hand just how diverse and exciting a career in digital technologies can be, and that the world really is these girls’ oyster when it comes to carving out a career that could take them down numerous paths.

Last Friday three of our 2014 graduates – Michelle Taylor, Nicola Crawford, Dharmistha Jeram – and I had the chance to wish the girls well on their trip and speak with them about our own experiences in IT.  

A lunchtime session with Wellington East Girls’ College Digital Technologies students.
A lunchtime session with Wellington East Girls’ College Digital Technologies students.

Nicola Crawford, Dharmistha Jeram and Michelle Taylor share their IT stories as recent graduates.
Nicola Crawford, Dharmistha Jeram and Michelle Taylor share their IT stories as recent graduates.

When it comes to encouraging new talent into ICT careers, we need to start younger and do more.

It was brilliant to see the girls’ enthusiasm and excitement about the trip ahead, and how it will broaden their horizons, and to be able to really connect with them in showing that it really is true: women can have great careers in IT.  And with the rate of change in the IT world – who can predict just what these careers will look like!

Posted by: Emma Barrett, Executive GM, Solutions & Services | 24 September 2014

Tags: Career


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