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Technology degrees help close information technology gender gap

Joe Taylor, December 1, 2008

Under pressure to diversify its workforce, the information technology industry still struggles to find something that even the deepest investor pockets can't seem to buy: qualified female job candidates. According to industry analysts, many women frequently tell recruiters that they avoid information technology careers because:

  • Companies often emphasize gadgets instead of solutions.
  • "Geek" stereotypes rarely feel appropriate for female job seekers.
  • Many candidates perceive themselves as unqualified for non-technical roles within information technology firms.

What do Employers Look For?
Hiring officers, especially at larger information technology companies, note that women with strong customer service or sales backgrounds often make the most compelling job candidates with as little as a two-year technology degree. Convenient technical school locations and flexible online course offerings make earning a technology degree easier than ever. In most cases, information technology companies offer generous tuition reimbursement packages that can encourage new hires to complete advanced training.

Suggested Technology Degree Concentrations for Career Switchers

  • Networking (Novell, Microsoft, Cisco)
  • Security (IDS, Computer Forensics)
  • Help Desk (Windows, Mac, Office)
Government statistics indicate that workers who complete an associate's degree at accredited technical schools or other postsecondary institutions tend to earn $125 more per week than high school classmates who ended their studies after 12th grade. Experts suggest that spreading the word about strong compensation packages and quality work environments can help overcome many of the negative impressions women have formed about information technology employers.

Citing role models, such as former eBay CEO Meg Whitman and current Xerox CEO Anne Mulcahy, recruiters and networking groups hope to inspire more women to launch information technology careers. By connecting potential job candidates to the right technology degrees, technical schools and other training providers hope to help bridge IT's gender gap.

Sources:
Chicago Tribune
IT Business
United States Bureau of Labor Statistics
Xerox

Computer Training Centers Finder
Certifications Training Degrees

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