I work in an industry that’s still rife with stereotypes. When I asked my then eight-year-old daughter what she thought I did all day at work, she thought I spent my whole day fixing iPads and helping people with computer fails. Because that’s what the IT people at her school do.
Fixing devices is a worthy career choice (shout out to all the people who have helped me over the years). But we need to understand all the amazing things in our lives that technology contributes to. I let her know that technology is actually how paypass works, that it supports her obsession with Minecraft and asking Alexa to play her favourite song next. She now thinks I’m slightly cooler.
One of the things that I’ve always valued about my work, apart from the coolness factor, is that I work for a company that recognises its responsibility to the communities in which we live and work. We support many causes in various ways, but a consistent area of focus for DiUS and our people is creating future colleagues, by educating and mentoring young people to consider a career in tech.
Our involvement is driven in part by the scale and the seriousness of the growing Australian technology skills gap, and our recognition that creating a future fit workforce is everyone’s responsibility; the problems and solutions are multi-faceted and complex. But we are also passionate about this cause as we want to help our next generation understand that while tech skills will be a cornerstone of almost every future career, a career in technology is also exciting, fun and full of possibility.
So to help move the needle on career choice, we give DiUS-sponsored time to our people who want to run a Code Club at their local school, to those that support the not-for-profit Flying Robot School founded by some of our DiUS colleagues to encourage young people in rural areas to consider a STEM-related career, as well as contributing to a mentoring program for technology students at RMIT.
And because it takes a village, we also sponsor social enterprises that are doing great work in advocating and supporting young people to consider a career in technology. That’s why we’ve signed up again to sponsor Code like a Girl in 2019 to help them reach more girls and women in Victoria and New South Wales who’d like to learn about coding as well as supporting more females to enter a career in software engineering.
Our sponsorship of Code like a Girl also speaks to DiUS’ aspiration to help improve gender diversity within the tech industry. We are committed to hiring more women, but finding experienced candidates remains challenging. So, while it’s not a complete solution, we’re attacking it from a pipeline perspective to help grow the pool for everyone.
We all know that diversity drives better outcomes. Indeed, this year’s tagline for International Women’s Day is #BalanceforBetter. This year DiUS is marking International Women’s Day at special Business Chicks events in Sydney and Melbourne and showing our support for driving gender balance across the world with equal gender representation at our tables.