Yang Lyu, a back-end engineer at Australian technology services firm Kablamo, is one of a handful of women in her team in the male-dominated field associated with software development.
But that wasn’t always the case in the early years of coding. During World War II, a majority associated with women operated some of the world’s first computational machines used in code breaking. Today, just 25-30% of software program developers are women, going by some industry estimates.
The industry can do better when it comes to gender diversity. The lack of awareness of the IT profession among students and unconscious biases are just some of the challenges that must be overcome before ladies representation within software advancement teams may improve.
During a recent BrightTalk webinar , Computer Weekly brought together a group of women technologies leaders and professionals in various stages of their software growth careers in order to unpack some of these issues and what the industry can do to plug the particular gender gap.
The discussion covered the range associated with topics, including the difficulties to greater gender variety, and how having more role models, support systems, and building both competence and confidence are vital for women in order to succeed in the tech industry.
Role versions needed
The lack of role models is a key challenge, said Rachel Teng, junior front-end developer in Acronis, a cyber security and backup software provider.
“There are usually many successful and respected [male] software developers plus men in IT. Seeing the lack of women makes me think, ‘Are there even actual career paths [for women] that will last 20, 30 years? ’”
Archana Manjunatha , executive director and head associated with platform transformation at DBS Bank’s consumer banking group, agreed that will the lack of female role models is a big problem that will be compounded when one moves higher up the corporate ladder.
“It gets lonelier at the top because there’re even fewer females as you climb the particular corporate ladder. Having a lot more role models means that other females won’t feel so lonely and don’t feel that they can’t do it. To some extent, it’s hard to become what you cannot see. That’s exactly how people choose careers plus paths – when these people see somebody, then it’s easier for them to say, ‘I want to become like this person’, ” stated Manjunatha.
“Today, when you believe of an SRE [site reliability engineering] , architect or engineering lead, a person often conjure up the male image. We need to start replacing that will with more female images, so that women entering the industry are not deterred at all. ”
On the other hand, progress has been made to welcome more ladies. Kwong Yuk Wah, adjunct professor from the School of Computing, National University of Singapore, pointed out that there are more initiatives today in order to highlight female role versions and encourage women to enter the particular IT business.
For example , the Singapore Pc Society has, in 2020 and 2021, celebrated females based in Singapore who have inspired their communities and made significant contributions to the technology industry, with the Singapore100 Women within Tech list.
Another challenge is an unconscious bias that sets in early, where even primary school-going children view math- and science-related fields as being more suited for men, mentioned Manjunatha.
Kablamo’s Yang, who also participated in the particular webinar, said that education by family and schools can help to change that bias. She grew upward thinking that the tech industry was a lot more suited to men, but over time, family, school and teachers have helped to change that perception.
Yang also noted that the path in order to a tech career may sometimes take the scenic route, with the availability of multiple pathways. She had graduated along with an architectural design degree, but only discovered her flair with regard to coding whenever she landed a job as a telecommunication engineer , which eventually set the girl in the direction of a computer science degree.
Nowadays, as the back-end engineer at Australian technology services firm Kablamo, she describes her journey as “rewarding and amazing”.
Have support systems
An additional challenge regarding women is to thrive in their careers through the different life stages, exactly where they possess to juggle bringing up children plus work, or even taking some time off intended for family before re-entering the particular workforce. Kwong suggests establishing support techniques can help women through difficult stages.
Manjunatha added: “Do not hesitate to lean in and ask to get help. Because you’d be surprised with how many people want to make this easier pertaining to you, so that you probably don’t have to drop off entirely, but actually if you do, a person can make a comeback at a certain point in time. ”
Teng shared that her family offers been very supportive, which includes her husband who works in cyber security. He has helped the girl with advice on how she can improve in her role, and how to navigate working in the tech industry.
Key elements to succeed
The conversation then turned to the key elements critical for women’s success in the tech market.
Regardless of gender, it boils down in order to competence and confidence, stated Archana. “Building your competence is extremely important, plus with that will competence comes confidence. Keep learning, build your competence, become confident about yourself, and don’t end up being worried about too many setbacks, ” the girl added.
“When you are a subject matter expert, the particular agenda is usually almost invisible at the table due to the fact people are listening to you for your expert opinions, for your knowledge in the area. And you want respect from that. ”
While more could be done to encourage sex diversity, Manjunatha called for women to upskill often.
“ Maintain yourself updated , ” added Manjunatha. “Technology is constantly evolving. What got a person here is definitely not going to get you presently there tomorrow, so always keep yourself up-to-date. The growth mindset plus that ability to want in order to keep learning that’s really, very important if you’re in this space.
While upskill, e-learning or retraining can become achieved without going via a certification course, Kwong noted that certification can be a means to benchmark one’s competency and skillsets .
For example, Singapore is currently working to develop artificial intelligence (AI) ethics and governance skills and having such an accreditation programme will help encourage individuals to create new competencies.
Besides proficiency, Kwong mentioned comfort is certainly another important factor, adding: “We shouldn’t doubt ourselves, but feel happy and end up being comfortable, therefore that you can speak up within settings like meetings where the majority are usually men. ”
Both Kwong plus Manjunatha noted that achieving a more balanced gender representation in tech teams and the sector as a whole would deliver much better code, products and technology.
“We live in a world where there is somewhat 50-50 parity in sex representation, ” said Manjunatha. “For example, at DBS Bank, our customer base is nearly a 50-50. Therefore , items cannot be designed and developed by a good imbalanced technologies team… whichever area within tech, diversity of thought is extremely important. Otherwise, you end up catering to just one section of society. ”
Greater advocacy might help, emphasised Archana. “We are living in much better times, but it is still such a long way to go. If it’s only the 20% of us who are trying to solve the issue, the problem is not really going to be solved, or it will get longer. The particular remaining 80% or so must turn out to be part of the solution. Otherwise, it’s just ladies talking about needing equality and parity. ”
While problems exist, many opportunities exist for ladies in the technology industry. Yang said: “There were many times when I felt unsure if I’m smart enough for this. But one thing my art teacher said regarding putting the particular hours issue more than talent inspires me. Instead of asking if you are smart enough, just put in the hours, be willing to learn, really try and give it a go. ”