March 11, 2015
Why the Technology Industry Is In Need of Females
If recent reports are to be believed, the technology industry is experiencing a huge boom at the moment, and it does not look as though this growth spurt is set to slow its pace anytime soon. As the need (or desire) for more tech permeates modern society, the need for skilled and qualified workers in the sector continues to increase. How do women, in particular, fit into this growing trend and why does the tech world need them to ensure its longevity?
You see it in the news everyday: tech company X has invented some great new gadget that is set to change the future of how we slice bread, drive cars, and feed our already obese egos - I"m looking at you, Facebook likes! In a short time, we are promised in giant-fonted headlines, the hard work of hipster coders will allow us to stream across the sky in jet packs and shoot laser beams out of our glasses that, as it so happens, also allow us to record (in HD, no less) the people we zap with our newfound powers.
Of course, what we do not hear about or read in the papers is how the United States is staring down the barrel of a potentially serious gap in technology growth. It has nothing to do (on the surface, at any rate) with technology or innovation, either. Instead, it comes down to a simple equation any business major is familiar with: supply and demand.
As the demand for technology grows, so, too, does the need for skilled labor and employees that can create and maintain that tech. While universities continue to pump out high-tech graduates each year, the vast majority of those students are men. The problem with this is simple: there are not enough male workers to fill the gaps.
All told, women make up 50% of the workforce in the United States, yet only a little over 10% of computer science majors (and graduates) are women. At the current pace, there will soon be far more technology-related jobs than there will be employees to fill them in the U.S. This causes a domino effect, as American companies will have no choice but to look outside of our own country to fill the void. With American dollars being pumped into foreign tech companies, we could, in turn, begin to lose the competitive edge we currently enjoy.
Sound pretty dire? Do not despair, as the tipping point has yet to be reached, and there is still time to stem the tide. Thanks to non-profit efforts like those of Girls Who Code, the gender gap may begin to shift. If you are unfamiliar with the NPO, you will probably become more familiar with them in the years to come.
Founded in 2012, the group has garnered the attention (and by attention, we mean support) of such tech giants as Google, Twitter, and Amazon. Seeing the importance of the organizations end-goal, more and more tech companies are signing on-board to help create initiatives and programs to get women interested in technology careers.
While it is still too early to tell if it will be enough to overcome the technology needs of tomorrow, it is a promising sign of things to come. Who knows, in ten years the tech realm may no longer be viewed as a "boy"s only" club. Only time will tell!