Nicaise Ishimwe is an application specialist for Emovis Technologies who also had a passion for IT. We asked Nicaise how she would like to inspire others to work in the field of digital technology. And why is it important that other women get inspired to work in digital technology.

How would you like to inspire others to work in this field?

First, in the context of this modern economy, the digital Technology/IT area is a field that presents different job opportunities and career prospects. There are a lot of opportunities to explore diverse systems, technologies, coding languages which present various career choices. Additionally, technology is everywhere and powers almost everything now.

It is also an area which keeps growing and which, with digitalisation and the advent of the Internet of things, is now supporting and being applied in lots of other different areas.

I do believe that having skills in that field will be beneficial not only now but also in the future.

As the latest World Economic Forum Future of Jobs report (2016) indicates in their 2020-focus future of jobs analysis, Science, Technology and Engineering areas will present huge know-how, expertise and skills demand for the next decades. That is one of the reasons I do believe that being in the technology field is highly beneficial, because I think the future of work is there.

Second, as someone who has worked in the field, I highly recommend this area because there are endless upskilling and learning opportunities where there is no place to annoyance when there is will . It is a very dynamic field where changes keep happening and where one is always challenged to keep abreast of new developments and constantly upskill. I do believe it is beneficial for professional and personal development, and the field is really worth working in.

Third, it is an area where you often see quickly the concrete results of your job and their impact. It brings joy to see an application or a system you built and contributed to build being used by people or companies and seeing the direct impact of its use. And I think that is highly rewarding in terms of self-confidence and motivation to step up.

Ways we are using with Women in Tech Africa to inspire more women to come into tech is by providing, through events, platforms where women in technology can get together, connect and inspire each other by sharing their experiences. In those events, we invite also role-models to come and share their journey, experiences and advice. We also try to reach out to young ladies in schools to spark their interest to opt for STEM studies.

Why do you think that it is important that other women get inspired to work in digital technology?

First, because the IT workforce is generally and often male-dominated especially in technical roles. Furthermore, it has been generally noted a shrinking pipeline in regards to women’s presence and evolution in high-ranking leadership positions in technology organisations. Yet, women do not lack the knowledge, the expertise and the capacity to excel and lead in tech. We are talented, we are capable and we shouldn’t be left out.

Statistics are alarming when you look at some numbers from workforce demographics reports released the big IT companies in Silicon Valley. None has more than 20% women workers in technical roles.

So I do believe for that we need to inspire more women to come into tech.

Statistics women silicon valleyFigure 1 : Women representation in Silicon Valley tech companies (Source: Statista, 2014 – https://www.statista.com/chart/2582/female-employment-in-tech-companies/)

Female representation in IT firms within the EUFigure 2 : Female representation in IT firms within the EU (Source – Statista – Available at: https://www.statista.com/statistics/311929/eu15-female-it-firm-representation/)

Second, we need to grow more women in fields that comprise most of the of jobs of the future decades.  In fact,  as indicates the World Economic Forum (2016) Future of jobs report, the largest future job eliminations due to technology will highly affect women, who will be losing 5 jobs for 1 job gained by 2020. More women need to embrace areas such as Technology which will be generating many work opportunities. And I do believe women who are already in tech have a big role to play.

One of the reasons we have low numbers in tech is that we do not have many role models which are visible and exposed so as to inspire and contribute to the attraction of others in the field. And I do believe that companies as well have a role to play, by providing platforms and opportunities to those role models to share their stories, experiences, encountered challenges and the ways they overcame them. That will persuade other women to enter the field.

Thirdly, because they are high attrition rates for women in the technology industry, and the numbers of those who enter the industry are not high enough to balance those losses and contribute to closing the gender gap in the technology industry.

I think that that gap is a result of a combination of leaks at the attraction, development and retention of women in technology companies.  Thus I do believe that not only role-models need to inspire, but also companies should:

  • Develop actions to reach out to ladies in schools and women in areas where they look for jobs bringing role models to explain what entails the technology jobs and spark their interest in entering the industry
  • Make sure that employed women have access to the needed professional, technical & managerial as well personal development training, mentorship and sponsorship needed to succeed and evolve in the company
  • Ensure that the work conditions allow a good work-family life balance for women, and that the company culture and structures eliminate all stereotypes and obstacles that can hinder women’s interest in staying in a tech company.

Curious about Nicaise Ishimwe? Read the story about her career in digital technology here. <linkje naar deel 1>