Address the PR Issue

By Deb Perelman  |  Posted 2008-04-10 Print this article Print

There are several theories about how and why girls are losing interest in technology long before they reach college, but the most commonly heard is that computer science and the field of IT suffer from terrible public relations.

Many students-and, perhaps more pertinently, their parents-still believe that technology-related jobs are uninteresting because workers sit in front of computers all day, or unsafe because they could be easily outsourced.

"There's a perception that being a computer science major leads to a job as a programmer and you sit in a cubicle where you type 12 hours a day and have no interactions with other people," Block said.

Despite a forecast by the Bureau of Labor Statistics predicting that computer and mathematical science jobs would grow at faster pace than any other occupation through 2016, many still cite the dot-com bust as evidence that technology is not a secure field to work in.

"In 2001 the dot-com bubble burst and everyone decided there were no jobs in this field. This may have been the case for about a year but if you've talked to anyone in the field in the last five years, they have been desperate for people to hire. Maybe the female students have been more sensitive to this," Block said.

Yusupova noted that even if pure programming jobs are outsourced, opportunities still remain within a company for people to bridge the relationship between the outsourced IT vendors and the business side.

"These roles would probably be ideal for women who prefer to be in communication-focused roles, if they know computer science and can communicate to all parties involved," Nelly Yusupova, chief technology officer of Webgrrls International, a networking organization.


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