It’s Cyber Security Awareness Month, and our PROTECT+ crew are sharing their industry insights so that we can all be prepared for a better tomorrow. Following our insights into diversity in the cyber security field, and our recent outing to the Go Girl, Go for IT tech expo in Melbourne, we dive deeper into the data to see just how we might attract more women into the sector.
Women in STEM
Women are disproportionately underrepresented in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) and IT careers, compared to other industries. While women comprise only 16% of Australia’s stem-skilled workforce, they make up around 50% of the broader Australian workforce. We know that diversity is crucial in STEM, as a wide range of talents and experiences leads to greater scientific innovation and an inclusive community. However, women face many obstacles across the STEM career pathway, from pay gaps to biased hiring and barriers, to career entry and progression.
“The gender imbalance still exists and I am seeing positive change with many organisations accepting that the industry needs to lean in to closing the gap. There are fantastic initiatives across schools and tertiary institutions that encourage girls and young women to pursue STEM and IT careers. As leaders in the industry, we need to continue supporting this and challenge the current gender stereotypes.”
Go Girl, Go for IT
Go Girl, Go for IT is a tech conference for young girls in years 5-12 across Victoria, including regional communities. The annual conference was held on 18 August at Deakin University in Melbourne this year by Kinetic IT’s long-term partner VIC ICT 4 WOMEN. The organisation is on a mission to increase the representation and visibility of women in STEM fields and get “more women in the tech world” by creating career pathways. Their mission starts with schoolgirls all the way to the industry leaders shaping our future, and they also do excellent work in helping students in regional areas get access to STEM careers.
The organisers of Go Girl want to show young girls that IT careers are more than just coding and that it’s a great field for all types of people – whether you’re a creative, an innovator, or an analyst. With dozens of workshops and presentations, the conference challenges preconceptions about IT careers and showcases the huge variety of exciting and lucrative career pathways in IT.
Kinetic IT has proudly sponsored Go Girl, Go for IT since 2016. We are a bronze sponsor for this event and ran a booth at the conference with 7 volunteer crew talking to students about IT careers. It was a great day speaking to so many enthusiastic students and helping inspire their future careers in tech. They had a lot of fun running through Kinetic IT’s famous Career Wheel, which helps students determine possible career pathways based on their interests.
How does the Career Wheel work?
We like to think of the Career Wheel as the key to unlocking a whole new world of career opportunities. Students start by choosing their favourite subject (Physical Education, English & Social Sciences, The Arts, or Science & Math). Students then select a statement that best describes them and a personality trait they identify with, such as “artistic”, “adventurous”, or “methodical”.
Through this information, the students are matched with tech careers that may interest them. Our STEM ambassadors are there to help them work through the Career Wheel and to talk about all the different career pathways, from Programmers and Biohackers to Animators and Creative Technologists.
The 10 most popular IT careers, as chosen by Go Girl students
We had 240 participants take a spin on the Career Wheel and these were their top 10 most popular IT careers:
- Game Developer
- Cyber Forensics Investigator
- Threat Analyst
- Virtual Reality Designer
- Data Scientist
- Meteorological Engineer
- Cybernetic Engineer
- Social Media Analyst
- Sports Statistician
- Music Data Analyst
The most popular IT careers, based on students’ favourite subjects
Physical Health & Education
For students interested in Physical Health & Education, the most popular IT careers were Meteorological Engineering, Sports Statistician, Mechatronic Engineering, and GIS Specialists.
English and Social Sciences
Students favouring English and Social Sciences were most interested in IT careers such as Social Media Analyst, Project Manager, and SEO Specialist.
For students who loved the Arts, the most popular IT careers were Game Developer, Virtual Reality Designer, and Music Data Analyst.
Science & Math
Students interested in Science & Math were learning towards IT careers such as Cyber Forensics Investigator, Threat Analyst, Data Scientist, and Cybernetic Engineer.
Inspiring the workforce of the future
Kinetic IT’s Participation Coordinator, Erin Magee, was one of the volunteer STEM Ambassadors speaking to students at our booth at the event. Erin says:
“I got my start in IT working on the Service Desk with Kinetic IT seven years ago. At the time, an event like the Go Girl tech conference would have been invaluable to open my eyes to the vast career opportunities in IT. I now work in Employee Experience as a Participation Coordinator and I’m passionate about giving back and encouraging young women to pursue a career in IT. The Go Girl tech conference is such an important event for highlighting the many opportunities in STEM, and I had a fantastic day meeting the young women and helping provide direction and inspiration for their future careers in IT. “
Advice for women in IT
Mentoring and support from industry professionals is crucial when getting started in your career, so we turned to Vannessa Van Beek, Director of Security at PROTECT+, for her top tips for women pursuing a career in IT. She advises working on your confidence.
“Confidence has held me back from applying from roles because I could not do everything listed in the job description. Confidence is something we can improve and control ourselves, but we have to work at it.
The Microsoft Women Rising Program taught me confidence is affected by how our brains are wired. The female brain has 30% more neurons firing at any given time, especially in the pre-frontal cortex and limbic areas, meaning it is harder to turn off our thoughts. That’s been helpful to know, and I have intentionally worked to think less and take more action. I’ve consciously put myself forward for roles – even when I do not have all the skills – with steely determination.
Don’t think too much about it. Just go for it. Taking that one step can lead you to a career of work that is filled with purpose and learning. It’s an infinite game, so just start – our profession will be richer for it.”
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Diversity at Kinetic IT
We’re proud to encourage diversity in the IT industry, through a range of initiatives including our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Traineeship Program and our Digital Skills Cadetship Program. We partner with Registered Training Organisations such as The Gordon Institute in Victoria and participate in WiTWA Techtrails.
We also promote our Equality, Diversity and Inclusion policy, and our flexible working conditions including working from home, job sharing, and part-time roles, to support groups such as working parents and neurodivergent professionals. Our crew have also formed community groups to encourage diversity throughout Kinetic IT, including our Women in IT network, which provides a place for women and allies to develop their IT careers, and our Rainbow @ KIT network, supporting crew from the LGBTQIA+ community and its allies.
We look forward to our continued partnership so we can keep inspiring upcoming talents in tech and grow the workforce of the future.
Interested in a career in tech? Head to our Careers page to see current opportunities and find out more about working with Kinetic IT.