It’s well-known that women are underrepresented in the world of tech. Turning this around will take a concerted effort, both within education and the workplace. Women-only tech training could be part of the solution.
A little while back, the Director of DevOpsGroup Academy received an enquiry about our Foundation Certificate in DevOps course:
“We are super-keen to run one of these for women only. Would it be possible to have a female trainer lead this?”
Our answer was a resounding ‘yes!’. And this week, our database specialist Bethan Guy, and Agile Delivery Manager Angharad Edwards, are leading a two-day training program for 15 women at Willis Towers Watson, a leading global advisory, broking and solutions company.
“We want to give our women technologists a variety of learning spaces to they can find one that they feel most comfortable to fully engage with and gain more from the learning.”Karen McDonagh Reynolds, Director of Cloud Transformation & Architecture, Willis Towers Watson
What are the benefits of women-only training?
When PricewaterhouseCoopers interviewed 2,000 A-level and university students, it found that only 27% of female students would consider a career in technology. This compared to 61% of male students.
Women who do pursue an IT career are also more likely to abandon it. Earlier this year, an op-ed by Avanade CEO Pamela Maynard on Forbes cited a study led by Accenture and Girls who Code which “showed that 50% of women abandon technology careers by the age of 35 and that women are leaving tech roles at a 45% higher rate than men.” The study also found that only 21% of women believe the technology industry was a place where they could thrive. This dropped to 8% for women of colour.
The Accenture and Girls Who Code research report Resetting Tech Culture says women who leave tech roles identify non-inclusive company culture as the major driver. It suggests that the ‘worlds’ where women study, then work play an important role:
“One of these worlds represents the crème de la crème: Its colleges with tech programs and offices with tech jobs make women feel encouraged, safe, free to be creative – and free to be themselves.
“The other world represents less-than-ideal scenarios: Its colleges and offices are places where women feel overlooked, discriminated against and discouraged by the lack of flexibility as well as the dearth of role models.”
Women-only tech training is one way to create an inclusive, supportive environment that is free from gender discrimination, whether implicit or overt.
Bethan’s experiences as a woman in tech
The studies and reports mentioned above strongly echo Bethan’s own experiences. She’s keen to encourage more women to consider a career in IT, and to boost their technology skills throughout their professional lives.
“As a female engineer, I’ve always been in the minority. It started at school and continued in university – there were 30 students on my course and only five of us were girls. I’ve managed to adapt, but there have been some big challenges along the way that male colleagues haven’t had to deal with. Now I’ve got a few years’ experience I’m more confident, and I want to help other women feel the same way. I’m excited about leading the Foundation Certificate in DevOps course for Willis Towers Watson and can’t wait to meet the delegates!”Bethan Guy, Database Administrator, DevOpsGroup
The Willis Towers Watson training
Bethan will head-up a two-day training program delivered via Zoom for the 15 female employees from Willis Towers Watson. The course introduces core principles of DevOps as well as practices and techniques. It’s geared towards non-technical leaders and managers who would benefit from an understanding of DevOps as well as IT professionals.
Our Chief Operating Officer, Kate Jones, says women-only technology training can be especially beneficial for women who don’t have a technical background:
“As a non-techie who has worked in technology companies for most of my career, I know that training like this can be daunting; even more so when you feel that you’re different from those around you. There can be fears about asking questions or appearing naïve. Creating a safe space to talk about what you don’t know as well as what you do know can remove some of the barriers and enable women to thrive. As an industry we need to take the gender gap seriously and do what we can, where we can, to help overcome it. Women-only training in the workplace is one measure that can help make a difference.”Kate Jones, Chief Operating Officer, DevOpsGroup
We’ll be sharing photos and feedback from the Willis Towers Watson training soon. Sign up to our blog to receive updates on this as well as regular insights from our team.