Digital is a natural discipline for boys and girls

In the latest blog in our TechFuture Women series, Sophie Freiermeuth Director of Baguette UX & Apps for Good Expert of the Year 2015, encourages  young students, girls in particular,to begin thinking about their careers by considering where their own interests lie. 

There is something amazing about the future, and it’s that it is somewhat predictable, and at the same time totally unknown. The unknown part for young students is, well, everything. Will you graduate? Will you get a great job from the first go? What will your life be? That’s the unknown.

The predictable however, is what you’re supposed to prepare for now. For example, your future job, because you will have a job. What studies you’ll start in 5 years to have a job in 10 years and a career in 20 years. What makes this predictability fall over into the category of the unknown is simply the fact that tomorrow’s jobs, the ones you’ll work in in 40 years time when I’ll be (hopefully) enjoying my old age, don’t exist yet. The technology they are about hasn’t been invented, the business model that makes them viable economically has yet to be created, the science used at the heart of it may not have been demonstrated yet.

How is that possible? Well, do you think that the team of designers and engineers who designed the interface of the Apple Watch knew at age 14 that they wanted to design the screens of connected objects? How could they, when so little of all that they would need many years later, didn’t yet exist, and the rest was just a glimpse in a few University’s Computer Science department. And yet, here is that object, the sum of work, of knowledge, of experience.

Ask digital technologists of today, and you’ll hear they’ve gone and got a marketing degree, or a history one, or maybe a Masters in Literature like I did, some of them got engineering or computing ones. And they entered the world of digital years later not because that’s where the little train of life dropped them off at, but because as time went by, they could see they had what the job, that new job, needed. And here is my real point. What digital needs is much more than diplomas and a focused learning path.

Digital needs curiosity, ingenuity, a sense that work pays off eventually and that knowledge come in multiple forms. Which makes it a natural discipline for anyone. Actually, I’m talking in particular to women here, this sum of qualities doesn’t make digital, or technology, or even IT a field reserved to men. In 2015 I was at a technology conference in India where I was really pleased to see a very high ratio of women attendants, who were QA engineers, Business Analysts, Product Owners, Coaches, and a variety of roles at all levels. They told me they went into those careers because they were good at maths, which they needed to be able to enter related degrees at university and loved technology, and that was it. And those are good reasons. Going where your strengths are, where your curiosity is – that’s the path to success.

Sophie Freiermeuth, Apps for Good Expert of the Year 2015, believes digital is a natural career for everyone

I’m in a job today I love, have fun doing and do great work in. I wish all little girls and young women will stop and think about careers in technology and in digital because it’s a field that’s expanding to yet unknown depths, offering an incredible breadth of roles, subject matter areas and room for improvement and evolution.

When I started this post earlier on about what’s predictable in the future, I can tell you that digital, and technology will be part of your life in ways much more complex, much more discrete and much more powerful than today could ever let you know. That technology will need a huge number of designers, engineers and technologists who today are in school, or maybe considering their future career. I hope that technology and those digital components will give many women wonderful, happy, creative, ever changing careers, careers that they will start today by just thinking about what could be right for them.

Are you a woman in tech looking to inspire young people and help them discover the opportunities of the tech world? Join the TechFuture Women’s Network now, the first mentoring opportunity available is to become an Apps for Good Expert and help guide young people as they develop their own problem-solving apps.