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Girls in IT : back to the Girls Coding Club mentoring

A few weeks ago, 5 of our employees were volunteers to intervene with groups of young girls between 11 and 16 years old. Supported by the EPFL, the aim of this initiative was to deconstruct stereotypes about computer and digital professions (to learn more, you can read our article here). 

Between March and April, Julie, Sandra J., Charlotte, Céline and Sandra S., presented their career paths and the reasons that led them to work in the IT field. Let’s look back at this unique experience of transmission and sharing between generations with our 5 Qim info collaborators!

Why did you choose to participate at this event ? 

Sandra J. : I think that women are under-represented in this field (in 2020, women will represent only 18% of the specialists in information and communication technologies (ICT) in Europe-source: touteleurope.eu). I like the idea of contributing to increase the proportion of women in these professions.  

Céline : At Qim info, we have been involved in a CSR process for several months. The subject of the women’s place in IT was important to me, I think that young girls still have too few examples of women in their entourage, working in this very male domain. With Julie, director of our Lausanne office, we discussed it in the CODIR: the project was launched!

How did your  intervention goes ?

Julie : It was a great experience ! There were more than 40 very dynamic and participative young girls and I had the great opportunity to come with my 10 year old daughter. I started by asking them about their extracurricular activities to create a bond and about their possible career ideas, and finally about the “how” of their presence and it turns out that the majority of them were obviously encouraged by their parents, or someone they knew had a link with EPFL! I told them about my life path, who I was and what I liked to do at their age, and talked about my career path with an evolution from the technical world to a commercial position and then a management position. In the IT field, doors are open and a career choice one day is not necessarily anchored forever!

Sandra V-S. : For my part, I was also able to talk to them about the different professional opportunities that IT offers, including possible international development. I think they really liked that. 🙂

Charlotte :

As far as I am concerned, the group was a bit smaller and I had about ten girls from 10 to 14 years old there for my talk. They were particularly interested in my daily life and asked me about my typical day and what it was like, the exchanges were very concrete.

Céline : I chose to make a fun presentation and I showed them my career path through photos of me at 12, 17… I wanted to show them how my professional project and I had evolved over the years. And then I took a simple example to illustrate the realization of an IT project with the preparation of a pancake batter! From the expression of the user’s needs, to the design, to the development, to the tests and to the deployment… an IT project a little simplified, but concrete!

What would you say to a young woman who is not sure she can/wants to work in this field ?

Julie :

More and more events are being created to attract young women to study IT, which corresponds to a growing need among our clients because they have complementary soft skills. Some schools even have places on their courses reserved for female students.

When we see the enormous technological progress and the digital revolution of the last 10 years, I would say that by choosing this path, they ensure a sustainable and evolving job.

But at the very end of our exchange, my message was, “Most importantly, do what you love to do!”

Sandra V-S. : For me, choosing this field is also about ensuring financial independence and a field where women fully have their place!

Charlotte : The diversity of subjects, projects and fields of intervention is crazy!

Sandra J. : Go for it, you’re sure to have a job and a good salary. It’s the best guarantee of freedom for a girl 😉

Céline : To be curious, to ask questions to the adults around you, to participate in internships and to trust yourself! There are a lot of very different jobs in this field, which we are not always aware. And if it’s not in IT, it will be something else and that will be fine too 😊

And if you could, would you do it again ?

Julie : YEEEES! I loved this moment of sharing and transmission! And having the positive feedback from my daughter who was sitting among the students is an incredible driving force that encourages me and makes me want to repeat the experience even more 😊.

Sandra V-S. : YES! 

Charlotte : Yes, with pleasure!

Sandra J. : Absolutely!

Céline : Of course! And I will be watching for the next workshops to sign up with my girls 😊

 

A 2022 session that ends on a more than positive note for the Qim info speakers! We hope that each participant was able to collect some useful informations to build her professional project! 

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