Computing a New Future for Women in I.T.

Computing a New Future for Women in I.T.

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Technology breaks down barriers. Its endless series of 1s and 0s is blind to distance, race, national origin and gender. But that's not always the case in the actual "career world" of technology, especially regarding gender comparisons. Even in I.T., women still lag behind their male colleagues when it comes to compensation. In the ongoing InformationWeek National I.T. Salary Survey, the median salary for male I.T. managers is $72,000, compared with $67,000 for female managers. The gap is slightly larger for I.T. staff: $55,000 median base pay for men vs. $49,000 for women.

But there are signs that the gap may be narrowing, at least among managers. Female I.T. managers earned a 7 percent pay raise this year compared with 6.8 percent for males-but men in staff roles received a median 7.1 percent pay boost vs. 6.7 percent for women.

Technology is a field that is constantly growing and changing. According to the recently-released labor projections of the next 10 years by The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BSL), computing-related occupations are predicted to grow the quickest among all “professional and related occupations.” The BSL projections predict the growth of computer and mathematical science occupations to be about 24 percent over the next decade, adding 822,000 new jobs to the field.

Now that’s a rosy prospect. If you have a knack for computers and know what the acronym HTML stands for, a job outlook such as this one should be enough to make you sit up and take notice.

But if that wasn’t enough to light a fire under your proverbial bottoms, the National Center for Women & Information Technology conducted a study in 2005, finding that though women make up 56 percent of professional jobs in the United States, only 27 percent of jobs in computer and mathematical careers are held by women. The study also found that women are especially underrepresented among computer science faculty, where only 18 percent of new tenure-track faculty members were women during the 2004-05 academic year. As for full-time computer science professors, 10 percent were women.

 

According to its Web site, the NCWIT “hopes to draw attention to the disparity for women in all ranks of information technology, and in doing so to prompt change in the attitudes and conditions that discourage women and girls from pursuing careers in I.T.” Visit www.ncwit.org for more information. And from the looks of recent efforts of huge companies, such as Google, there is now a strong effort to promote their female I.T. employees.

Ladies, as we can see from the above information, the technology job market water is fine and there’s plenty of room for women to take the plunge and make their mark in the technological industry. Don’t let society hype daunt you if you love math and can run circles around your peers when it comes to all things computing. Just like anything else about fabulous you, if you’ve got it, flaunt it!