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Women in STEM 2019

Technology is massively influencing the world around us

iStock / Getty Images Plus / gorodenkoff

Eimear Michaels

Strategy Lead, CWIT

Technology will enable the youth of today to learn, create, innovate, engineer and shape their future.

No matter what young people choose to do with their lives, it is highly likely that technology will play a large role. This provides tech companies a huge opportunity, but with this opportunity comes massive responsibility. A responsibility to be inclusive and empathetic in the products and services that they design and build. A responsibility to influence the education curriculum to be more appealing and accessible to students, particularly girls. A responsibility to improve the gender diversity imbalance in the tech sector.

It is no secret that there is a growing skills gap in the tech sector. For young people today who choose to pursue a career in tech, the world will be their oyster when they graduate from college. It is predicted that, globally, there will be 3.5 million unfilled jobs by 2021 in cybersecurity alone. Right now, unemployment in the cybersecurity sector is at 0%. Girls are under-represented in STEM-based careers with only 30% of Europe’s ICT workforce currently made up of women.

Tech companies offer great careers for all

I have worked in a large global tech company for the last 14 years. At the beginning, I didn’t really think about the positive societal impact that I can have working in a tech company but, over the years, as the world has become more tech-dependant, I realise I am having an impact by being involved in some of the great initiatives that we drive in my company and in the CWIT network.

I get to work with kids in primary school, introducing them to coding through Minecraft; I get to mentor young, female teenagers who are working on tech projects as part of their Transition Year projects and I get to see the impact that we can have on people lives through designing inclusive products.

I love working in the tech industry. I love being a part of a network of like-minded females.

Through Microsoft’s dedicated education hub, DreamSpace, we have committed to providing 100,000 girls and boys with an immersive digital skills experience, which opens their eyes to the opportunities STEM can enable. All of these things and more inspire me to come to work every day.

I am not a coder; I studied Business in College, but this has not stopped me from having a fantastic career in a tech company, working alongside and collaborating with colleagues from all professions and all walks of life.

The world is changing at such a fast pace – technology is changing as such a fast pace(!) so, from my perspective, working in a tech company means I have been able to learn and grow at a really fast pace, which is exciting. There is a misconception out there that tech companies are full of male coders. That is not the case at all. Tech companies are vibrant places where there are great careers waiting for men and women of all disciplines.

Opening your mind to the possibilities in STEM

I am passionate about young girls having the option to choose the subjects that boys have the option to choose in school, and about creating an environment where they feel comfortable choosing those subjects. I have three young daughters in primary school. One wants to be a teacher. The other wants to be a ballet dancer and one wants to work with me because she sees how cool my place of work is! Whether they want to be teachers or ballet dancers, or coders, I want to open their minds to the possibilities that STEM subjects can offer them and to be aware of how much technology will shape their future.

I love working in the tech industry. I love being a part of a network of like-minded females – like CWIT – who are all striving to make the industry a great place for girls to pursue a career.

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