On the forums following the Apple and Google global conferences this year, people were commenting about the long lines to go to the male toilets, and no lines for females. This same observation can be seen at developer events around Australia that the b2cloud team attends weekly. The problem is that there are not enough females in our industry.
This is a problem, and it doesn’t seem to be improving. The solution isn’t simple either, and after numerous conversations with Australian Universities the intake of females into IT courses is dropping. After a low intake, the follow through to graduation seems to be even more disappointing in engineering and computing degrees.
The problem is evident in the current curriculum for schools as early as prep. Having a look at http://ausvels.vcaa.vic.edu.au/Information-and-Communications-Technology/Overview/Stages-of-learning here are the issues I see:
- From prep to year 4 students the focus is on dexterity of using a mouse. Seems a little disconnected when students are proficient in touch screens from the age of 4.
- Year 5 to 8 has a focus on file management and hardware. Again this is very dry and out of date. There is little focus on user experiences, multimedia and design.
- Year 9 and 10 may learn programming here, but there is a learning outcome on the protection of files and complex problem solving. This is fine, but there again is nothing around customer centred solutions, user experience and design.
This just scratches the surface, and over the coming months Ill be investigating further into the issues contributing to students in schools and specifically females turning away from IT and engineering.