Where are they going now?

My husband, John Robel (blog|twitter) posed a very interesting question shortly after the Women in IT (WIT) lunch at SQL Saturday Chicago.    He commented that in the group discussions about the subject, we hear a lot of stories on how we (current Women in Technology) got into the IT field some years ago.    SQL University has a whole week of series about Women in IT that dedicated to just that (Jes, Julie, Audrey, Jen and Wendy – thanks for awesome posts!) and we all know that back then, the choice for women was somewhat limited or we didn’t get a lot of advice or directions, or we weren’t encouraged enough.   Whatever challenges that we had back then, we want to make sure that our children (boy or girl) won’t have them, right?

So the question that he posed to me was if that was the challenge then, what are the challenges now? Where is the next generation going now?  Where are the women going now?  No school counselors are telling them to go to only go to nursing school or be a secretary (right?)  So, what career path are they are choosing today?   Are the enrollments to the Computer Science School’s higher today for women?  It’s a different era today, with all the technology that is available to everybody (well, mostly everybody).

I’m curious to see what’s everybody take on this so please let me know your thoughts!  Where is the generation of women who are in the pipeline for their schooling and careers headed?  If they are no picking technical courses or careers, what are the picking?  You 20-somethings out there (plus or minus a few numbers on either side,) where are you headed?  What is driving your decisions?

My next steps are to take your ideas and thoughts and send them back to the group of High School girls I am mentoring in Indonesia.  The cultural shift I can handle, but I am really interested to know why you all are making the choice your making over here where there isn’t as much restrictions for women…


6 Responses to “Where are they going now?”

    • Yanni Robel says:

      Thanks Jen! And yes, I have already read your posts 🙂 I’m still trying to figure out where are the 20-something goes tho. The one that just fresh out of college today. The one that just starting their career. What drive their decision to pick their career. High School only 5 years ago for them and technology are pretty good then, and I’m sure their choices are not as limited as when my generation in school.

  1. Wendy says:

    It looks like Education and Healthcare actually are still at the top of the list:

    Interesting read, too.

    Apparently even though it’s not as prolific as it once may have been, there is still a lot of stereotyping going on.

    Case in point: http://www.smbc-comics.com/index.php?db=comics&id=1883#comic

    • Yanni Robel says:

      I totally agree with stereotyping! My 5-years old asked me the other day that she was confused on how Barbie can be a computer engineer and smart like mama, because Barbie is pretty. I was like.. baby.. what are you saying? So, yes… I have a lot of work with my own daughter 🙂 due to toy stereotyping.

      Education and Healthcare seems to be the choice 20 years ago as well tho and I’m surprise it still is today. You would think with the intertubes and technology, that would change a bit, huh..

  2. Denise McInerney says:

    The number of women in CS programs in the US has declined quite a bit over the last 20 years. In 1985 37% of CS grads were women; in 2008 it was only 18%. And I think there is still a problem with middle- and high-school girls being discouraged from pursuing higher math and science courses. This article has some good stats and links to various reports done by The Anita Borg Institute and others that go into more detail: https://www.nytimes.com/2010/04/18/technology/18women.html

    As for “where are they going now”, fortunately the US government keeps a lot of statistics that can help answer this question. Here are a couple of places to start:

    • Yanni Robel says:

      Hi Denise,

      Thank you for the stats! I’m compiling this info and am planning to communicate this back to my group of girls that I’m mentoring. They have more challenge back in Indonesia and it fascinate me to see that in US where there’s not as much challenge (culturally), the numbers are still low.

      I might start this program to my middle school too (it’s currently on my high school program). I’m trying to encourage them to get out from their shell and to see it themselves that how I turn out 🙂 I look ‘normal’ (borrowing Wendy’s term on WIT’s lunch) 🙂

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *