Ways for Women to Enter Information Technology Fields

Hodges University News

It’s a career that offers high profitability, low unemployment and a society that is increasingly dependent on the expertise of those in the field. Just over half the U.S. population are women, yet less than one-third are in this field. This is a career that is projected to have 3.5 million job openings by 2026.

The field is information technology.

This is a vital professional field that is missing the valuable perspective and creative energy that women can provide. While there are many reasons there are fewer women in the field, one way to address the issue begins in our K-12 schools and continues through higher education.

In the Southwest Florida region, we have a chapter of the National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT) Aspirations in Computing (AiC). This chapter’s purpose is to provide a long-term network of support and engagement for females to learn, network and be recognized for their skills in technology. These women also have access to scholarships, internships and job opportunities.

Each year, we host the Southwest Florida Regional NCWIT Aspirations in Computing (AiC) Awards. These awards are open to all women in grades 9-12 who are active and interested in technology. Recipients are selected for their achievements in computing, proven leadership ability, academic performance and plans for post-secondary education. There are regional and national winners. There are several large corporations who sponsor these awards, including Apple, Bank of America, Microsoft, Motorola Solutions Foundation, and Symantec. They recognize the importance of increasing the number of women in the technology field.

Last year, we had 30 regional winners and 18 honorable mention winners. They represented the high schools of Barron Collier, Cape Coral, Dunbar, Gulf Coast, Lely, North Fort Myers, Pine View and Riverdale. Our winners received recognition during our awards ceremony, internship opportunities, various prizes, and admission to our peer-network of technical women in the NCWIT AiC community. NCWIT serves all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam and all U.S. overseas military bases.

The National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT) is a non-profit community of more than 1,100 universities, companies, non-profits and government organizations nationwide working to increase girls’ and women’s meaningful participation in computing. NCWIT equips change leaders with resources for taking action in recruiting, retaining, and advancing women from K–12 and higher education through industry and entrepreneurial careers.

Our region will be hosting our AiC Awards on April 6, 2019 at Pelican Preserve in Fort Myers. Applications for the 2019 awards are now being accepted. The deadline to apply is November 5, 2018. To apply, go to www.aspirations.org.

Information technology is a fast-growing sector with great career opportunities. Let’s all do our part to help ensure that more women realize their potential in the technology field.

Professor Tracey [Lanham] is the associate dean of the Fisher School of Technology at Hodges University. She is also the Southwest Florida Regional Coordinator for the National Center for Women and Information Technology (NCWIT) Aspirations in Computing Award.

AiC Awards
When: April 6, 2019
Where: Pelican Preserve in Fort Myers.
Applications for the 2019 awards: Are being accepted. The deadline to apply is Nov. 5. To apply, go to www.aspirations.org.

*Article published in the News-Press on Sept. 16, 2018.

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