Tech savvy women are increasingly pursuing careers in information technology but new data suggests they might be missing out on many of the highest paying jobs within the sector.
Early results from the Financy Women’s Index for the June quarter, due for release this week, found that an increasing number of women are studying information technology after they completed high school.
The sector recorded 11.7 per cent average annual enrolment growth for women over the past five years, compared to 12.5 per cent growth for men over the same period.
But according to one of Australia’s biggest registered training organisations (RTOs), Upskilled, women aren’t chasing the highest paying career paths in the tech sector.
Women make up almost half the workforce for graphic and web designers and a third of it for information communications and technology (ICT) sales assistants and ICT trainers.
Conversely women are lagging severely behind men in roles such as telecommunications, computer network professionals and ICT Support and Test Engineers.
Why should they though? With IT being one of the best paying professions, isn’t it about time women started finding equal status across all job roles?
Traditionally it has been difficult for women to enter more technical IT roles but with the growing availability of online courses specifically tailored to meet the needs of those who require flexibility and support, it can be hoped that the picture will start to change.
With the diversity of IT professions comes the need for a matching diversity of options to study IT online.
Upskilled believes there are at least three areas of IT employment with strong future growth where women.
- Telecommunications (future growth ‘strong’)
Technical telecommunications specialists develop, monitor and support telecommunication networks. This is very much a hands on role and a level of comfort with hardware is required. A telecommunications technician will need an Advanced Diploma or Diploma along with possible vendor qualifications.
- Computer Networking (future growth ‘strong’)
Computer network professionals develop, implement, maintain and manage networking strategies. They work with both hardware and software providing user support and monitoring performance. A computer networking professional without at least five years experience will require a Bachelor Degree.
- ICT Support and Testing (future growth ‘very strong’)
Support and test engineers are responsible for the procedures and strategies that quality assure IT systems. An entry-level support and test engineer without at least five years experience will need a Bachelor Degree at minimum.
Gaining qualifications at these levels may initially seem like a tall order but education providers like Upskilled are increasingly making this easily accessible for busy women by offering.
- Both Diploma and Advanced Diploma online courses in our course menu to ensure that everybody has access to a course at their optimum level. For example the Diploma of Information Technology Networking would be ideal for women wanting to work in Computer Networking.
- Providing Graduate Certificate qualifications, which sit at the same qualification level as a Bachelor Degree but take less time to complete and can easily be studied as a flexible online course. For example, the Graduate Certificate in Information Technology Sustainability would be a great launching point for IT careers in ICT Support and Testing.
- Guaranteeing a level of flexibility that will allow all learners to move through learning and assessment at a pace that suits them.
- Developing a program of ongoing student support that can advise and help from online course selection to course completion.
The evidence above strongly suggests that if women want to narrow the gender gap in IT careers opportunities, the most obvious first step is to study IT online.