There was a time when women were not so appreciated in IT professions, stating it was only for men. Such a problem took years to change people’s mindsets and discover the ability of women to work in IT. Today, more girls and women in Ukraine are interested in AI, ML, data science, and other areas and want to grow in this direction.
The most successful IT companies include women and men, creating a solid team of developers. About 25% of IT personnel in Ukraine are female, and around 30% of females take leading positions in companies. The IT entrepreneur and Founding Partner Roosh, Sergey Tokarev, shared the steps to help women reach Ukrainian IT and become qualified IT specialists.
The current situation in the IT market is getting hits, and more women are hired for their dream job. The number of women in IT has significantly increased over the past ten years. Yet, a great part of them is pretty careful in their choice, fearing not being accepted. Such an attitude has appeared due to the wrong estimation of stereotypes in society.
Sergey Tokarev notes that many still believe IT is not for women. Some even think that women can only become HR or QA testers and choose IT only to find a life partner. But it is time to break these stereotypes and reveal the potential women are able to bring up for the country.
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Inform and educate
IT in Ukraine lacks specialists in cybersecurity, AI, ML, and data science today, and this is a fact. However, this shortage can be filled with female specialists who want to dive into the high-tech space and develop the IT level of the country. The only thing left is to engage as many girls and women as possible and help them choose the area they want to grow.
With this in mind, Sergey Tokarev points out that thematic communities and clubs are good motivators. For example, the project SHE is SCIENCE gathers like-minded people in the industry. As a result, participants can learn more about the contribution of 12 female scientists in Ukrainian IT. Among those scientists are Olga Perevozchikova, who participated in creating state programming standards in Ukraine, and Kateryna Yushchenko, a programmer who tailored a formal language for addressable programming.
SHE is SCIENCE was launched by NGO STEM is FEM in order to inspire girls to pursue a career in STEM. In addition to the community, the project plans to dive girls into IT in practice. In partnership with the Swiss organization Empowerment Lab and with the support of Oracle, STEM is FEM has released free IT courses exclusively for girls aged 12-16. Participants have access to Data-driven web apps, Machine Learning, and App prototyping classes. The teachers of the courses are women in IT.
Sergey Tokarev notes it is essential to provide educational tools along with an informative approach. Thus, girls can get higher education in the area they are most interested in. The entrepreneur exemplifies SET University as an excellent option. The university is technologically focused only and it offers courses for teenagers. Both girls and boys are welcome. To motivate girls, the university plans to create scholarship programs for female students.
Apart from engaging IT communities and institutions of higher education, Sergey Tokarev underlines the importance of supporting women and disclosing other opportunities to improve their skills. Professional communities are reasonable solutions to stick to. For example, AI HOUSE is an initiative created to unite Ukrainian and foreign IT experts and organize training for them.