Dec 1, 2010
Imagine what the Information Technology industry will look like in 2020. Now, ask yourself what problems it will solve and how it will change our lives. Would you like to be part of that?
That was the question posed to Grade 5 to 9 girls attending CBE schools who had a unique opportunity to learn more about careers in technology at a DigiGirlz event on November 20. DigiGirlz is an outreach program run by Microsoft to provide girls with a better understanding of careers in technology. The CBE offered this November 20 event in partnership with Microsoft Canada and Alberta Education and it was the first DigiGirlz event held in Western Canada.
This program fits nicely within the CBE’s Career and Technology Strategy, which aims to engage and inspire students in career and technology education opportunities. At the CBE, career and technology programs offer more relevant and meaningful learning opportunities by showing students that the classes they are taking today can lead them to exciting real-world career opportunities of personal interest to them.
Hosted at Dr. Gladys McKelvie Egbert School, this one-day event included industry speakers from Konica Minolta Business Solutions, SMART Technologies, Werklund Foundation, The City of Calgary and Microsoft Canada. Students were provided with career planning assistance, information about technology and business roles, thought-provoking exercises, and interesting product demonstrations. The sessions gave the students a chance to explore a wide range of career paths available in the high-tech industry.
The DigiGirlz program aims to address a current imbalance in the Canadian information technology industry that has women making up less than 30 per cent of its workforce when women comprise close to 50 per cent of Canada’s total workforce. Responses from this event would suggest that this kind of program is helping address that issue. Before the event was held, only four girls who attended the event were considering a career in information technology. At the end of the one-day event, the number of girls considering a career in information technology had jumped to 16.
One student who attended the event said, “Everything was awesome, fun and so interesting. I learned about the skills you need: Math, English, Computer Science, social skills, solving problems and confidence.”