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Big Data Set To Appeal To Women To Break The IT Barrier

by Caroline Vutagwa
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Women in IT

New technology trends are set to make IT a very appealing career prospect for women in future, says IBM.

Ocea Garriock, Software Group Technical Leader of IBM South Africa, notes that women remain under-represented science, technology, engineering, math jobs.

In South Africa, the statistics show that at the post graduate level, the number of women has increased but women still represents less than 10% of enrolled students. In the workforce, women make up 18% of the core IT workforce while they represent 75% of the IT end users in the country.

In a recent research by the University of Pittsburgh and the University of Michigan exhibited that women may be less likely to want careers in science, technology engineering and maths because girls with high maths ability are also more likely to have a high verbal ability. This results in their having more career options, and they frequently elect to embark on careers investing their verbal ability.

The researchers concluded that attracting more women to these careers was not so much a case of boosting girls’ aptitude, but about making careers in these areas more welcoming, accessible and financially attractive.

We believe new technology trends – notably Big Data management and analysis – will do this,” says Garriock.

Enterprises are expected to invest in Big Data analysis skills in future, presenting moneymaking career opportunities for those with a combination of skills and personal strengths – including the ability to multi-task, understand business objectives, assess statistics and communicate findings at a high level.

In some fields, such as communications, product design, public sector service delivery, customer service and marketing, Big Data analysis experts and scientists will also need to possess some understanding of sociology or psychology in order to seek insights that are relevant within the vast data sources.

Because the skills shortage in the Big Data field will soon become critical, it is likely that businesses will go to great lengths to ensure that women see IT as an appealing career choice.

“At IBM, we have long had a culture and environment in which women feel welcomed and valued.  Indeed, since 1995, our global women executive population has increased 523% and represents 24.9% of the global executive population, while 65% of our global executive women are working mothers. We endeavor to get girls excited about IT careers through initiatives such as our global EX.I.T.E. (+Ex+ploring +I+nterests in +T+echnology and +E+ngineering) camps and Women in Technology (WIT) Schools. As a Big Data technology pioneer, we now see opportunities opening up that we believe will interest scores of young women who may previously not have considered careers in IT,” said Garriock 

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