Female workers make up just 12% of employees in the IT sector, a statistic which the UK Government hopes to change. Economic and social growth relies on STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) research and development. Technology moves fast and it’s revolutionising every area of our lives. Women are missing out on opportunities to work for some of the most innovative and exciting companies in the world. With leadership roles being filled by men, we risk losing the female voice as the digital revolution gathers pace.
Stonebridge College is committed to closing the gender gap and our Web Design and Development Certificate (RQF) Level 3 qualification is having an impact. We’re already ahead of the educational field, with women making up 39% of students on the course. We’ve joined organisations around the world that are working to bring about change, such as Girls Who Code in the USA.
Why do we need more women in IT?
Apps and websites are not only lucrative, but also act as a platform for changing lives. Technology has become so integrated with our society, that it is now considered one of the most effective ways to achieve progression and communicate ideas.
More women than men buy online, which makes attracting more female input into IT essential. In any team, a diverse workforce is key to finding different perspectives and approaches. As the requirement for digital expertise increases, there simply won’t be enough employees to fill roles without women.
Jobs in this diverse sector are numerous, including web design, cyber security and data management. IT professionals are employed in almost any type of business, offering scope to combine online knowledge with another passion.
Understanding the issue
The statistics show that there is a fundamental disconnect between young women and IT. There can be a perception that working with computers isn’t feminine and despite girls beating boys in IT A-Level results, few women progress to study computer science at university.
Research in 2012 revealed that compared to the 33% of boys that had studied coding in school, just 17% of girls had been exposed to it. Girls are often pushed away from STEM subjects and end up viewing IT careers as isolating and boring. The challenge is to show young women what technology can do, teach them how to become a web developer and reassure them that talent, not gender, will speak for itself in the industry.
Making change happen
Web design jobs are now more accessible to women than ever before. Instead of a culture that doesn’t accommodate mothers, there’s far more flexibility in the industry. Opportunities to work from home mean that getting into web design, and combining family life with an IT career, is achievable.
To increase the number of female workers in web design, we need to address the gender imbalance from an early age and introduce girls to role models in the sector. Women engage with technology every day, but they may not have the self-belief to start to consider how to become a web developer. Stonebridge College offers adaptable distance learning programmes, which help anyone with an interest in web design courses, and a curiosity about technology, to increase their employment options.
The modern woman benefits from an education that means she can do or be anything. Combatting stereotypes can bring about long-term change and teaching girls how to become a web designer will widen their future job prospects. With a new generation using technology from a younger age, we now have the chance to inspire the female web developers of the future.
Discover how Hannah Pole beat the odds, with support from Stonebridge College
Our jobs are no longer for life and it’s becoming increasingly common to change industry. Read more about how one young mother found the confidence to make a fantastic career move:
Stonebridge College student Hannah was working for an insurance company, when a trainee web developer role came up in the business. Already learning via an online web design course, she applied for the position and after several interview stages, she got the job.
Hannah explains that our web design course has “given me the confidence to go for a different position. The calibre of people at the interview was scary and I wouldn’t have even been considered if I wasn’t studying for a web design course from home.”
She started to explore how to become a web designer after realising that her job didn’t make her happy. Hannah has a passion for IT and animation and wanted to combine both technical and creative skills.
In her new role, Hannah has found that there are “lots of misconceptions about the industry and becoming a web developer. People think IT is just about files and folders on a computer and don’t realise how much creativity is involved.” She believes that there should be more information available about the many different career pathways in IT, to interest more women in the sector.
Stonebridge College’s online web development course was selected because Hannah could fit it around a full-time job and caring for her young child. She was looking for modules that went into plenty of detail, instead of just giving a brief overview, finding that Stonebridge’s study programme “covered a vast area and incorporated everything.”
Juggling work, family life and learning can be a challenge for Hannah at times, but she says that adding to her CV has been worth it. She studies in the evenings and when she has an hour free at work. Hannah’s qualification is “flexible, which is why I like it. Everything is very well laid out and explained. Once I get to the end of the module, everything within it has become second nature.” She feels very supported by her tutor, who she describes as “lovely and friendly whenever I email her with questions.”
The future is bright for Hannah in the industry and a web design course is just the start of what looks set to be a successful career. Getting her foot in the door of the IT sector has opened up many employment possibilities and she emphasises that “this new job is a big thing for me. I’m also able to work and keep studying at the same time.”
Encouraging women like Hannah to become a web developer is one step towards helping the industry to progress. The increasing digitalisation of the business world means that web design remains a booming sector. If you’re looking to make a career change, you can build new skills, tap into your potential and break down barriers for female web designers with Stonebridge College.