5 reasons why women should go into IT

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We know that girls can code and we’re big on inviting more women into IT. With 9 speakers from 3 European countries, our Women’s Day event shone a light on the value and importance of women in tech. Check out the insights and immerse yourself in the topic.

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Looking at the digital world today, we see a strange combination of amazing progress and prolonged change.

On one hand, digitalisation happens at an impressive rate everywhere we look, especially since the pandemic hit.

On the other hand, we still have fewer women in tech training and IT jobs than men. Though it’s clear as day that women make amazing programmers, the gender gap is still very real.

On 8 March 2022 we’ve  sat down with a group of inspiring people to discuss hard facts, top trends and their personal stories:

  • Christine Antlanger-Winter, Country Director of Google Austria 
  • Tanja Sternbauer, Co-Founder & Head of Community at the female factor in Austria
  • Hauke Hinrichs, CEO of SMATRICS in Austria
  • Claudia Tamasi, Country Manager at Codecool Romania
  • Lydia Jeschko, Business Development Manager at Codecool Austria
  • Iulia Iacob, Head of Mentors at Codecool Romania
  • Dalma Csernok, Full-stack Developer Student & CoderGirl at Codecool Hungary
  • Eva Szalai, ex-Codecool Student &Test Automation Engineer at Cap Gemini

Let’s recap this uplifting discussion and explore the key takeaways, along with the 5 main reasons for women considering IT as a career option.

The moderator of the event was Sigrid Hantusch-Taferner, Country Manager at Codecool Austria.

1. You can learn to code

Dalma Csernok, current Full-Stack Developer Student & CoderGirl at Codecool Hungary recalled her first experience with coding: “After I graduated university and studied theatre, I was unsure what to do, so I started working as a receptionist at a hotel. It was quite fun for a short period, but I soon lost motivation and started to look for other challenges. One of my colleagues mentioned a website where I could learn basic coding. A few lessons later I realised that I was writing code that worked, and I enjoyed it. After 2 or 3 months, I decided to switch career paths.” 

It seems that Dalma is not alone with her insecurities. When it comes to tech, women can be quite unsure of their capabilities. And it seems that these insecurities are mostly rooted in childhood experiences.

Female applicants usually have more questions about the basic abilities needed for coding, the requirements for the school, and the job market in general.” – confirmed Lydia Jeschko, Business Development Manager at Codecool Austria. Studies on gender differences show that young girls already judge their competencies in domains such as mathematics lower than boys. Likewise, studies on the self-efficacy theory have shown that boys are more confident about their performance in maths and science.

Hauke Hinrichs, CEO of SMARTRICS added his thoughts. “The problem starts in kindergarten where we start to socialise girls differently than boys, destining them for a different career path. I’d love my daughter to become an engineer or scientist. We should start treating girls in a way that allows them to live out their fullest potentials, without any type of discrimination or predestination.”

Eva Szalai, Codecool graduate mentioned the one skill you’ll still need to be successful in tech. “You still need to have abstract thinking. That is a must. But if you have that, the field is wide open. Companies are very happy to have female developers.”

2. Your previous experience will not be lost

Claudia Tamasi, Country Manager at Codecool Romania mentioned a key insight. “When a woman decides to take a new path, there is always the thought that she must start again from zero. But it’s not true. We had a student, who had 10 years of experience in a bank’s back office. She was worried that she would have to start from zero, too, but her experience became a great advantage. She now develops banking applications, making good use of her previous experience every day. Everything we do adds to our personality and our skillset. Our experience will not be lost, we just add new things to it.”

Tanja Sternbauer, Co-Founder & Head of Community at the female factor in Austria continued the thought. “With coding, you will gain a new skill set and you’ll have a brand new combination that will open doors for you. Also, you won’t have to code 12 hours straight every day. Coding doesn’t even have to become your career path because you’ll probably need this skill for different types of jobs in the future. If you can code, nothing will stop you in the next couple of years, no matter what type of job you take.”

Another option is to transform your previous job into a side-activity and pursue it next to your new, flexible job.

Eva Szalai used to be a professional musician and music teacher before starting Codecool. Today she is a Test Automation Engineer at Cap Gemini in Hungary, but she hasn’t given up her previous career either. “I’m a pianist and I still give concerts… I can work from home with flexible working hours, which is a great help. Sometimes I have a rehearsal in the middle of the day, and it’s okay, I can do it, and still keep up with deadlines.”

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3. Diverse teams are more effective and fun

Eva enjoys working in her new team at Cap Gemini. “In my team of 8 there are 3 women, so the gender ratio is quite good. There is mutual respect. Advancement is knowledge-based, and it’s measurable, which is a great advantage in comparison to art. We can learn from each other. The most productive teams have been the most diverse ones at Codecool, too. Men and women in tech have different approaches and different affinities. And men appreciate having women on their team for a varied approach and new perspectives.

Claudia Tamasi added her thoughts. “We’re built differently by nature, but when we’re collaborating, we complete each other.”

Hauke opened the topic of diversity and continued with his insights. “Not just gender diversity, but all kinds of diversity are important in teams, for example religious, racial, social-economic, and age diversity, too.”

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4. Companies desperately need more IT professionals

Discussing the topic of career prospects for women in tech, Claudia Tamasi mentions the following: “When women decide to work in IT, they can pursue whichever field they’d like, there are no barriers anymore. Front-end, back-end, full-stack development. Project management. There’s a new world out there. At Codecool Romania, we have young ladies and mothers learning development, too. This sector is expected to grow around 20% in the next decade so it’s lucrative to enter now, no matter your background or gender. You just gotta have the courage to start.”

Hauke Hinrichs adds that the demand for women developers is quite high today: “We’re searching for 20 new additions to our IT department this year. The lack of qualified labour is quite a challenge, and there are a lot of companies fighting for the best talent – especially for young, talented women.

According to our speakers, it’s important to have women where products are born and to involve both genders in business decisions.

“50% of the global population is female. If you serve women, you have to have women in your management too, to drive business decisions.” – says Tanja Sternbauer. – “Your business will do better financially too. I wonder how this aspect can still be overlooked sometimes.

Diverse skills are needed to build great things. The mix of voices, ideas, cultures and skills leads to better discussions, better decisions and better results for everyone. Teams work and perform better when they are gender diverse.” – says Christine Antlanger-Winter, Country Director of Google Austria. 

5. A tech job could be your dream job

Some women miss out on a fitting role or their dream jobs just because of preconceptions or a lack of support.

“Women tend to value different sides of the programming profession such as the independence and freedom that a programming job offers, as opposed to the high salary.” – said Lydia Jeschko, Business Development Manager at Codecool Austria.

Working in tech is a fast-paced road and some of the highest-paid professions can be found here, so it’s super lucrative to start. And there’s an opportunity to have a real impact with these professions; you can move to roles that deliver on a purpose. And women in tech tend to value this aspect a lot.

“Women aren’t driven by status or a fancy office location. They’re more interested in fulfilling a purpose and making an impact. They want to contribute to society and give back. What is the impact I can make here and how can I contribute? These are the questions women often ask when considering a job. – says Tanja Sternbauer

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How to get started in the world of IT

Starting fresh in IT isn’t easy, but our speakers had great insights for all young women who’re considering an IT career. The number one factor is confidence according to the panel members.

“Be confident, and just write an application. The worst thing that can happen is that you’re not ready for it and learn from it. But be confident and give it a go. Apply to jobs, go to a programming school like Codecool, and start a great career.“ –  says Hauke.

“To extend your knowledge you have to get out of your comfort zone. I learned later on that staying in that zone won’t help you. So don’t overcomplicate things and try to leave behind your insecurities” – adds Dalma Csernok

The second most important factor would be to have a mentor you can rely on.

“Unfortunately, I didn’t have a mentor when I started. That’s exactly why I wanted to become one for others. To share my knowledge and experience to make it easier for others than it was for me.” – says Iulia Iacob, Head of Mentors at Codecool Romania. – “ My advice to women seeking roles in the IT domain is to be confident, self-aware, and to find a mentor who will support them. They can share valuable past experiences and insights about navigating the tech industry.”

Last but not least, staying curious and open to new things is also key to succeeding for women in tech.

Be open to everything. If you learn a lot you can have different solutions for the same problem. There was a lady who was resisting alternative solutions often, and she got hired several months later than she expected. You must ask questions because it’s okay not to know everything first. The biggest difference between senior and junior colleagues is often that seniors already know that they don’t have an answer. They are always searching for the answers.” said Eva.

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Why Codecool?

Our speakers have discussed what sets Codecool apart and why it’s worth learning to code at Codecool’s Full-Stack Development course. Eva mentions the Full-Stack Development course’s length: 

“What sets Codecool apart for me is the duration. Some other schools are too intense, fast-paced and heavily condensed into a couple of months. As an active musician, I couldn’t have done that type of course. ”

Still, with such an ideal length, there’s a wide palette of knowledge being taught at Codecool, not just frontend or backend.

“It gives you more confidence for the job interviews and more options afterwards since you get a complete set of skills. I could have applied for test automation, Java development or even frontend jobs, too.” – Eva adds.

The flipped classroom method has also added a lot of value according to Dalma and Eva: “I really enjoyed it and it makes total sense since I used to be a teacher. The first thing is that you get a task. And then you get the background materials that you can study. But it’s not set in stone how you have to handle a task. If you can find the solution some other way, then you’re done. There is never one universal solution to a problem at Codecool.”

On this note, Claudia adds: “We’re practically teaching our students how to learn because being a developer means to be in a lifelong learning process. We’re serious about quality, too. Our job is only done when we found you a job that you like. And you can also come and try us without paying for the first 10 weeks.”

Looking for the next addition to your developer team?

It’s never too late to add talented women developers to your teams. If you want Codecool to help you find the next female developer who can start to work right away in your IT team, get in touch!

We’re looking forward to helping you build a more diverse team.

The New CEE Digital Talent Hub: Our Proposal to Tackle the Global Tech Skills Gap

By now we all know that we’ll never go back to the „normal” we once knew. The new normal we are headed may not be fully clear yet, but it’s definitely going to be digital. To get there we’ll have to make at least one big jump in the process, over  the ever-widening digital skills gap. What can help us to make the jump? For one, remote work combined with global recruitment, and a future vision called ‘digital CEE talent hub’.

RecruiTECH Romania conference was created to act as a compass for the recruitment profession, to gather and share the best international and national white collar recruitment practices. This year’s event was centered around “(making) the most of a changed labor market with a new perspective and digital tools”.

Codecool CMO, Anna Ferenczy has been invited to share her view on Covid-accelerated digitalisation, it’s impact on the global tech skills gap and a possible solution called ‘CEE digital talent hub’.

Here’s a recap of some key points from her presentation.

Old digital goals and obstacles are so out

Remember the time when we all tried to justify digital transformation plans by cost-cuts and find solutions to organisational siloes and cultural problems? Good old times, right? We never knew our clock was ticking. Would you believe this was just a few years ago, before Covid. In 2017, 48% of corporate leaders used to list scaling down cost as a top 3 digitalisation priority, and listed cultural and organisational bottle-necks as major concerns. And this was just in 2017, according to McKinsey.

And then, a pandemic happened.

Today, digitalisation is a matter of life-or-death, and the global hunt for tech talent is like the 19th century California gold-rush. 87% of leaders see digitalisation as a means of survival, getting ahead of competition or reinventing their business, with only 10%  of them listing cost-cuts as a top priority. And 75% of leaders struggle with hiring the right fit for digital positions.

Quite a turn of winds for digital strategies and efforts, in a blink of an eye.

It’s not just about the future of your business – it’s personal

Today there are about 41 million tech jobs to be filled globally. On top of this 41 million, an additional 149 million new ones will be created by 2025, waiting to be filled.

The new 149 million include jobs in:

  • software development (98 million),
  • cloud and data management (23 million),
  • data analysis, AI and machine learning (20 million),
  • cyber security (6 million) and
  • privacy and trust management (1 million).

Next to the business side of the story, there is a personal aspect as well. More and more people are losing their jobs to digitalisation, forced to reinvent themselves for a high-tech future. The trend has not started today, it has been going on for decades now, but it definitely got a boost last year.

Today we’re in the middle of a new, and very special industrial revolution. For the first time in history not high skill jobs are taken over by the machines, allowing people easily find work in lower skill professions. On the contrary: machines are now taking over repetitive, low-skill tasks, while jobs requiring high cognitive skills are on the rise for the human work force.

This time people will need to substantially re-skill and up-skill to reinvent themselves, or they’ll fall behind. It’s not only digital strategies and corporate competitiveness at stake, but individual lives, too. What does a good up-skilling strategy has to focus on, to prepare for an unpredictable, but surely digital future? Some say, the focus should be on coding and empathy. Coding because the digital future will not just happen by itself, we have to build it first. And empathy, because we’ll have to manage brand new challenges, and reinvent our ways again and again in the meantime.

The gap keeps widening

On the booming digital job market talent is gold. But people are much faster in adapting to a digital lifestyle and way of working than building digital skills or switching to tech jobs. The tech skills gap is wider than ever and it seems to be growing.

There are multiple additional factors at play here:

  • Digitalisation beyond IT – the 149 million new jobs are more or less just the IT positions. But we are also seeing a digitalisation of  classic business functions and traditionally non-tech industries. The trend is viral and no business seems immune to it. This also means that there are now not just tech and IT, but several other industries, companies and departments competing for digital talent, too.
  • Covid-driven digitalisation – last year we were forced to deliver about 10 years’ of digitalisation in 10 months by moving our lives, work, channels and products online.
  • Growing funding –  partly related to the previous points, local governments and the EU alike started to pour money into innovation and digitalisation, creating further openings to fill.
  • Inflating prices – due to economic recession of our turbulent times price have climbed, followed by a a raise in wages, making high-quality talent even less affordable for businesses with a limited budget.
  • Talent mobility – While looking to future-proof their careers, individuals are more open to change their employers, too. And moving their offices online, companies are not restricted by physical distance from talent either. Businesses are now hiring from anywhere (68%), and people are more-and-more willing to apply to jobs anywhere (21%). While flourishing digital hubs like London, UK and Silicon Valley, US are big time winning in the race for talent, local hiring efforts in some countries suffer talent migration.
  • Hiring for a degree – is actually a trend we could change ourselves, unlike the previously mentioned factors, outside our direct influence. By maintaining an outdated preference for tech university graduates hiring managers many time miss the opportunity to grab programming school talents re-skilled in 1 year instead of 5, many times equipped with much more relevant hard and soft skillsets, and and previous work experience.
  • Low diversity – is another trend connected with discrimination we should all strive to change. Changing tech into a gender- and age-inclusive field, as it should be, can only happen via hiring much more women and 30+ or 40+ professionals in tech positions, than we ever did before.

Our proposed solution: the new CEE digital talent hub

The talent gap will not close itself,  especially when even the Silicon Valley is impacted. We must put a lot of work into closing it, and closing it in a way that local businesses become net beneficiaries of the outcome, too, not just business like Google and Amazon.

We at Codecool take our part in this work by re-skilling and up-skilling CEE work force and sourcing digital talent to our partner companies. Instead of university degrees, our graduates have extensive project portfolios demonstrating solid skills in 4 to 6 programming languages and multiple tech platforms, as well as valuable soft skills. More than 30% of them are female (and we are continuously working on raising this ratio), and many of them are 30+, with previous work experience and a high-level of self-awareness on their profiles.

We all need to up our game, and build a massive CEE talent hub together, to fuel global and local innovation at the same time.

We need to act now, tomorrow is already too late.

How will you contribute, starting from today?

7 Reasons Why the IT Talent Gap is Still Growing

We have been aware of the IT talent gap for years now. How come it is still an issue? Why haven't we been able to close the gap yet? Are we all not trying hard enough?

The above question was raised by someone in the audience during the Q&A session of a webinar held by the IT Association of Hungary (IVSZ) last week. The topic of the event was the IT talent gap market research they supervised in 2020 and its results.

Though the research focused on Hungary, we found that the results could be applicable in much of the EU, and challenges and solutions would stand globally with few exceptions – especially considering the growing globalisation of the tech talent market (and gap). And that the above question would definitely be valid anywhere in the world.

Obviously, everyone has some idea about why the gap is still growing, like the exponentially accelerating digitalisation of life and work in general must be one key reason. The preliminary results of the IVSZ research gave a good indication about some more surprising contributing trends, too, like the unlikely high occurrence of hiring for a degree in tech, too.

The discussion at the webinar, however, raised a whole list of reasons, giving a much more complete and complex picture of key factors. We found the list quite inspiring and relevant, and decided to dig deeper.

So, let’s see: why is the IT talent gap still growing, despite the fact that it has been there for us to tackle for years now?

1. Going digital beyond IT

Not only tech companies hire IT talent anymore, and not only IT positions are filled with tech people at those companies. Brand new digital roles are created in traditionally business departments and brand new digital departments are created within business units every day, requiring new, mixed skillsets. Like in the case of Digital Business Analysts, Digital Marketing Managers and Digital Sales Specialists – all new roles, created in the last few years.

The pressing need to fill these new tech-heavy positions and the shortage of perfect fits on the talent market sometimes even lead to the compromise of hiring a fully tech person for a business-side job, outside the IT department.

2. COVID-driven digitalisation

As we are all very well aware, the pandemic further accelerated rapid digital transformations. Work and life went online from one day to another, and suddenly long term ambitions about digitalising products and services, communication, processes and solutions turned into urgent priorities.

Forced digitalisation of the otherwise functioning business-as-usual operation also used up considerable resources and scarce relevant skills from previously planned strategic digital innovation projects, only adding to the existing resource needs. Digitalisation meaning not only software development, but also new types of implementation, maintenance, support and cyber security tasks.

3. Inflating prices

This is the most country-specific factor of all on the list. Inflation has been showing a definite growth in Hungary in the past few years, yet it has been steady on a global level and decreasing for example, in the US.

In those countries with a growing inflation, increasing prices raise salaries, too, making it more expensive and challenging to fill anyway high-priced roles, like most IT positions.

4. Growing funding

EU Cohesion Policy was aimed at contributing to “making Europe fit for the digital age”, in particular through  the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) – which also funded the research mentioned in the beginning. The objective was “enhancing access to, and use and quality of information and communication technologies”. The funds totalled around 20 billion Euros between 2014 and 2020, contributing to the creation of major innovation projects and thousands of tech jobs – some of them still waiting to be filled.

Further growth in digital financing was due to increased VC funding in 2020, in spite of previous expectations and a weakened economy, partly due to the pandemic.

5. Talent mobility

Digitalisation of work itself, accelerated by the pandemic, and EU policies all have been contributing to globalisation on the talent market. On one hand this brought companies and talents closer across borders, and opened up new opportunities for filling jobs regardless of location.

But on the other hand it also in resulted migrating local digital talent (at least virtually) to big European and global tech hubs, like the UK and the US, leaving other countries more in the beginning of digital journeys at an even greater disadvantage regarding access to in-demand tech skills.

6. Hiring for a degree

Another trend making tech jobs harder to fill is about favouring uni graduates when hiring for tech roles.

It is not only counter-productive as an extra filter in case of hard-to-fill positions, but also not a guarantee for higher quality, and a kind of discrimination towards a narrow, more fortunate and well-off segment in society, as we already discussed previously.

7. Low diversity

Speaking of discrimination, one of the biggest challenges in the tech talent market remains discrimination based on race, sex, and age. 

The problem is only partly related to the positive bias toward university graduates, usually coming from privileged families. Tech careers in general are still considered masculine, and limited to super innovative roles, all requiring young energy and creativity.

While half the world and users of digital products are female, digital tools and processes are almost solely designed by men – and therefore inherently for men. And while majority of tech jobs are still repetitive, limited in scope and easy to pick up by anyone with basic logic skills, we still think about IT professionals like they each should be highly creative and innovation driving digital magicians – and therefore, young and dynamic.

Obviously, there have been important and successful initiatives aiming at narrowing the digital talent gap, like different tech education programs.

Also, we must not forget that although there is still a gap, we should not consider it as a shortage, but rather an opportunity – as one webinar panelist highlighted. An opportunity to grow up to the challenge of not only closing the gap, and fulfilling corporate ambitions of digitalisation, but also giving a chance to people choosing a new, future-proof tech career for themselves, at the same time.

Codecool is a leading programming school and tech sourcing agency, with campuses and offices in Hungary, Poland and Romania, and over 2000 graduates working at 250+ companies all over Europe. Besides super fast end-to-end hiring services, we offer up-skilling and re-skilling courses, as well as full-scale corporate academy programmes covering hiring, onboarding and continuous tech training for organisations. 

We are proud members of The European Social Simulation Association (ESSA), actively contributing to the innovation of digital education in Europe.

More Women into Tech!

There are still much fewer women participating in the software development projects of the future than what would be healthier for society. Learn how Codecool strives closing the gender gap in IT.

There are still much fewer women participating in the software development projects of the future than what would be healthier for society.

The IT sector has been struggling with gender diversity problems for a long time, and in spite of the fact that this issue has been discussed more and more often in recent years, no significant change has taken place. In Hungary, the rate of women working in the IT sector is still around 10-15%, which deeply underrepresents society – although by now it has become a fundamental truth that diversity is desirable on the basis of both moral and business considerations.

Technology influences all aspects of our lives from healthcare through traffic to personal relationships. Programming has an impact on an increasing proportion of our lives, while only a tiny minority of mankind understands code, algorithms and artificial intelligence. This small group of the population has an enormous responsibility for creating code that take the problems of entire societies and the differences within society into consideration , as well. An unbalanced representation of coders may indeed affect our future!

Most programmers, of course, do not create biased apps deliberately. But our own experience and past inevitably influence us when we make decisions; and such decisions are then integrated into the technology we build. It will form the way we live and might cause significant damage without diversity. For instance, underrepresented social groups may be put at disadvantage – including the social group of women.

But the lack of diversity raises not only ethical questions. It may significantly affect business results and innovation capability, as well.

“Several studies and our partners’ experience also prove that more diversified management teams are more likely to have higher profitability than companies run by homogenous C-level managers. The teams within Codecool also operate by putting this principle into practice: the proportion of our female managers is 50%. More diversified teams bring new points of view to the discussion and come up with alternative solutions that could not necessarily have been developed by a more homogenous group. The multilayered approach and the ability to solve problems more successfully contribute directly to better business performance at the end. We strive to provide our corporate partners with a more colourful and versatile coder and tech talent base in the well-known Codecool quality, so that they could benefit from the advantages of diversity, too,“ said Lea Kalocsai, Head of Sales at a leading Hungarian programming school Codecool.

Education is the key
There will be more female programmers only if more women are trained. However, in Hungary the rate of female students in IT training is only 10-15% today. This ratio is in line with the also ver low rate of women working in IT, and is still far from the 30% threshold, above which minorities do not feel disadvantaged.

There are still several stereotypes associated with coding. People tend to visualise coders as men wearing glasses and sitting in a dark room all day long. It’s a long process to change an image like this, and besides IT companies, educational institutions must also take an active part in changing this mindset.

“Codecool would like to make girls and women be aware of the fact that they are welcome in technological, digital and programmer training and career paths. As an open-minded, transparent company, we strive to get rid of the stereotypes connected to technology, programming and managerial roles in Central and Eastern Europe. One of our main objectives is to continue increasing the 20% rate of our female students – which otherwise even now exceeds the local averages in this sector – and to help a generation of much more diversified professionals and start-ups to start and develop their careers,“ says Codecool’s Head of Marketing, Anna Ferenczy.

From the economic performance’s point of view, it is crucial to have more and more coders in Hungary. Similarly to international trends, the number of IT graduates is less than the vacant positions in Hungary, too. There are about 22-22.5 thousand IT positions to be filled in the labour market, currently. From the aspect of companies’ competitveness and the establishment of social equality, it is essential to fill many of them by women in the future.

For more inspiration take a look at our blog post on Forbes’ ’30 Successfull Coder Women under 30’ list, and meet 11 super talented female coders who studied at Codecool.

This article was published on forbes.hu on 7 December 2020.,