ITQ network celebrated 10 years2018-05-08
ITQ – the network for girls studying IT at universities and practitioners in business, celebrated 10 years with cake, guest lectures, and not least mingle and networking. The guest was Siduri Poli, the digital inspirer of 2017, who told of her interest for technology as a tool for change.
Present were also current IT students, high school students from Fria Läroverken as well as professionals from CGI, Ibiz solutions, Municipality of Karlstad, Netgain, Sogeti and ÅF. Several of the professionals have themselves taken an IT education at Karlstad Business School and Karlstad University - and were notably happy to be back for a guest performance.
- Several of those who were educated here works in the business today and are part of the network. It is so valuable, because it gives our students an insight on what the employers seeks in their future coworkers. It also shows the width of professional roles that exist within the IT business. And also, it is a lot of fun to see each other again of course, says Marie-Therese Christiansson, the coordinator for the network and deputy head of Karlstad Business School.
IT that makes a change
The road to working life and entrepreneurship was a bit bumpy for Siduri Poli, the guest lecturer of ITQ-day. With an upbringing in the Stockholm suburb Botkyrka behind her and very few adult role models, it was not always such an obvious factor to make her place.
- My brother was interested in picking apart and putting together, but my interest for new technology and digitalization has always been with respect to the changes that the technology creates and the possibilities to solutions it offers.
Siduri Poli is the founder of Changers Hub, which today gathers over 1200 young entrepreneurs. She dropped out of school and worked her way up in a different way. It was not only the start of her career, but also a journey that opened door to many other young people who grew up in Botkyrka. To her, inclusion is also an important perspective and says that universities are often behind closed doors seeing as how a person not admitted does not get to have access to the knowledge.
Role models are important to young women
Åsa Maspers, Sogeti, is one of the members of ITQ since it started 10 years ago. She is also part of the international initiative of #addher, which is about getting more women to the IT business, in all roles, in all positions, by making those who are already working with IT today visible. She means that it is as important today as it was 10 years ago to concretely and actively work in order to get more women to choose the IT business. Sogeti has already started introducing the business to younger age, for instance girls in the sixth and eighth grades.
- We present IT in our own way, to convince the girls to venture and try it. Often, the girls believe that it is a “guy-thing”. It is a delightful experience when we have our workshops, to tell a 12-year old girl that she has just been programing. The “aha-experience” is hard to beat, says Åsa Maspers.
Sogeti has also connected with Louise Behrenfors, who is a freshman at the the Computer Science programme. She is, what they call a “Fasttracker, a mentorship that begins during the first year. It is a way to early on in your education make connections to the working life.
- For example, I represent Sogeti as a code coach at the event “Girls Coding”. And a while back I had some eight graders from Mörmorskolan, who got to try out programing. To me, this is a way to get to know and get an insight in the business world and if I can also be a role model to young girls in their choice of profession, it feels both important and good, says Louise Behrenfors.
Role models and exchange of experience is precisely the sort of thing that ITQ has been doing since it started 10 years ago. And it might slowly but surely give result. Now that this year’s candidate numbers are in, the programmes IT, Project Management and Enterprise System as first choice of IT-programme has been more girls than boys that have applied.
Karlstad University offers five programmes on bachelor level and two on advanced level within IT.
* “Girls coding” is a free of charge mini-course in programing, that is held at the Karlstad Univeristy 19th of April – 17th of May. The evenings are a cooperation between Girls Coding, Compare, Tieto, CGI, Sogeti and ÅF.