DevelopHER is a 10-week program where interns participate in 360 hours of paid training. It is open to women at any stage of their career or life, whether they be returning to the workforce or transitioning from non-software development roles.
“It is aimed at women who have lacked the capability, opportunity and finances to retrain through universities,” Sullivan told HC Online. “There are a growing number of groups and online help sources that introduce people to the world of software development. However, in most cases, they do no more than introduce concepts and spark interest and leave people in a ‘so what’s next?’ position.
“This program is developed to give people a vehicle to learn the same skills which a graduate developer would have after they leave university. The concept is that someone going through the course will bring their life skills and learn basic development skills, making themselves more employable, productive and able to grow in the IT world.”
Sullivan goes on to make the point that culture and diversity is reflected in the design and user experience of a product. He observes that if a product is entirely male-designed, it will have a male-centric user experience – a problem when users and purchasers of IT products, Sullivan says, are roughly evenly split between men and women.
“When our teams are not gender and culturally diverse, the products they develop will not be fit for purpose,” he said.
With DevelopHER representing one organised initiative to address the gender imbalance in the IT industry, Sullivan recommends a series of strategies for companies and HR managers in this field to attract more female employees. The include:
- Raising awareness and understanding within the hiring teams around the importance of gender diversity. Talk about it as an important strategy, so that people start focusing on the problem
- Ensuring that companies are mixing up the employees who interview prospective employees
- Looking at the corporate policies and make it easy for women to work in your company
A new initiative from MYOB is designed to equip women with the fundamental skills they need to become junior software developers, with product development manager John Sullivan believing that the technology industry has a responsibility towards inclusiveness and increasing diversity.