Closing the Gender Gap: How certifications can attract more women to IT

Share this post: The issue of attracting women into science, engineering, technology (SET) careers has been a constant concern for many years. Literally, there have been dozens of initiatives to attract women to SET subjects starting in elementary school. Many of these initiatives have had great success. Despite all the progress made by SET initiatives, the gap between men and women in IT is still very wide.

CNET research shows that women only make up about 30% of the U.S. technology workforce. However, they make up 51% of the total workforce and 51 percent of the US population. It is remarkable that, even a few decades back, there was a much lower number of women in IT security and computer science. This shows that all the effort to get girls interested in SET subjects has paid off.
But that’s not all. The picture is not so bright when you look at some of these numbers, such as the percentage of women in leadership or executive positions or in IT security. IT security is a male-dominated industry, with women making up only 10% of the workforce. Companies like Microsoft have women making up around 30% of their workforce. However, only 16 percent of women in leadership positions are women. The numbers at other tech giants like Google and Twitter are similar. Women, who make up more than half the population, are severely underrepresented.
How did ITProTV’s women get started in IT? This video will tell their stories.
Gender Gap Explained
It’s becoming increasingly difficult for girls to claim that they have fewer learning opportunities than boys, given the number of initiatives to encourage girls to take SET subjects early in their lives. While this is a concern, experts believe that the industry itself is responsible for the gender gap in IT.
The following are some of the factors that may contribute to the gender gap:
Computer science and IT are dominated by a male-centric culture. It’s not surprising that IT, being male-dominated, doesn’t always offer the most welcoming environment for women. Women working in this field report that cultural differences are a major reason for them leaving or changing jobs.
Leadership doesn’t see any problem. There’s a good chance that leaders are seeing women at every table, with a 30 percent or higher percentage of women in many companies. They may not realize the number of women in their company and don’t feel they have to do more to increase diversity.
Women aren’t even being considered. It is a common belief that a tech-related degree is necessary to succeed in tech. Meg Whitman and Sheryl Sandberg, two of the most prominent women in tech, have business degrees rather than tech degrees. Many tech companies don’t hire women with business backgrounds. Women with MBAs and other advanced degrees also aren’t interested in tech. The number of female leaders remains low.
Pay Gap. The primary reason women are not able to get into SET jobs is the gender pay gap. It is not unusual for women to earn less than men in general, but it is even more evident in the tech industry. Researchers found that women in Silicon Valley earn on average 61 percent less than men for similar jobs.
Solving the Problem
What’s the solution? While there have been many suggestions for increasing the number women working in IT, certifications are gaining momentum.
Since long, certifications have been used to assess job applicants’ knowledge and abilities. Employers can also use them to verify that their staff is knowledgeable. For example, someone who has completed Microsoft PowerShell training and earned the appropriate certifications can be expected to manage the company’s framework.
Certifications can be a great way for women to get into the IT industry, climb the ladder and increase their earnings potential. According to a survey, IT workers who have certifications can earn more than 8 per cent than those without them. A certification gives women credibility that is difficult to achieve on their own.
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It is not difficult to see the importance of certifications and education for women in IT. Cisco, ISC2, American Express and American Express have all created programs and networks for women in IT to support and encourage women as they develop their careers. IS

Author: Victoria