It is flattering and humbling to be nominated for an award. So I was really happy to be nominated for the Data News Young ICT Lady of the Year. But at the same time, it made me wonder: why do we need this award in the first place?
Don’t get me wrong: I do believe it is useful to put ladies in ICT in the spotlights. I’m not the only woman at icapps: we are an energetic mix of male and female designers, developers, etc. But of course, our office is still mostly dudes. That includes the bestial screams coming from the kicker table, but don’t let that scare you off ;-)
Our company (and our sector) could definitely benefit from having more women around, and this award certainly helps in bringing it to the attention of the public. But why do most women prefer a job in other industries rather than in ICT?
Many free seats on the rollercoaster
Perhaps one of the reasons is a misconception: you don’t need to be a developer to work in ICT, you only need a passion for technology. Look at me: I am not writing code or compiling programs. I research what users need, and advocate their interests in design discussions. This way I make sure that the applications we create are attractive, simple and effective, so that the user is willing and even excited to use the software.
But there are many other non-developer jobs available: from marketing over project management to HR. The possibilities are almost as wide as in any other industry. So you if you’re not attracted to the idea of diving head-first into code, you can still find something that fits your taste. This way you can join us on this exciting rollercoaster ride, while we are exploring all the new possibilities of technology.
Making a difference through technology
Exciting? Yes indeed! Nowadays many - or most - of the innovations that make this world a better place are created in the ICT sector. Think of healthcare: there are so many software-driven innovations that improve our well-being that you can only feel blessed and proud to be a (tiny) part of that.
Last May, our team participated in a hackathon in Amsterdam to think of solutions to improve the lives of multiple sclerosis (MS) patients. We created an app that intelligently matches patients to each other based on their emotional and physical situation. This way they can chat with each other about the difficulties they are experiencing. We use sentiment analysis to get a grasp of the patients’ well-being, physically as well as mentally. When this information is shared with doctors, they also get a better view on the patient’s evolution over time. It may seem a small contribution, but it makes a big difference for the people involved.
In an increasingly digital world, innovations like this will become more and more abundant. It is wonderful to be a part of that, and to play a role in the creation of such value-adding solutions, whether it is in healthcare or in any other field. If you can help make the world a better place, it simply makes you feel great, whether you’re a man, woman - or a little bit of both ;-) -, whether you’re black, white, short or tall.
So ladies, what are you waiting for? Check out our vacancies and see how you can contribute to a better society!
Who knows, maybe you will be nominated next time :-) In the meantime, I would be very grateful for your vote, which you can cast here.