Pursuing an IT career has evolved from faux pas to downright fashionable. No longer are we compelled to mercilessly tease the nerds who aced maths and science in school, as they have certainly proven that hard work pays.
Techies “working in engineering, computer science and many other traditionally ’nerdy‘ careers is the new rave,” according to CareerCast. Adding fuel to the fire, software developers and systems analysts are singled out to be the best jobs of the future by Business Insider.
Despite all this, data shows a troubling trend among students in Australia. A steep decline in maths and science participation among students, particularly female students, who are opting out of these key subjects in droves: only 6.6% of girls took advanced maths last year, and a startling 1.5% of girls in Australia’s most populated state, New South Wales, took the traditional trio of advanced maths, physics and chemistry.
Australia is not the only country to suffer from such an epidemic – the US and UK are struggling to keep schoolgirls interested in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Maths). Governments are acting to reverse this by investing in programs such as the collaboration of the USA Office of Science and Technology Policy with the White House Council on Women and Girls, and the not-for-profit UK organization created to create gender balance in the STEM workforce, WISE.
While there are many reasons that may be attributed to this decline, the most poignant is the message that society continually imposes on young girls: working in IT is too hard for you, darling. With the tech industry set to sizzle 2014, according to Mashable, now is a good time as any to prove society wrong.
Nitro is already on the case. We are the proud platinum sponsor of Go Girl, Go For IT – an Australian education tradeshow held at Deakin University, Melbourne on 12 August 2014, and will be donating Nitro Pro to all attending schoolgirls at the event.
But we need your help, too. Reversing the “too hard” perception of IT is in your power. Instead of complaining about how tough your IT role is, focus instead on the challenges it offers. And when your daughter or niece moans about how tough algebra is, show her how solving equations are at the core of some of the coolest inventions – such as silicon chips and MRI medical examinations.
Let’s get girls thinking about possibilities. Follow the story of women in IT on Twitter, #womenintech.