How Increased ICT education has attracted Women to join the ICT Industry
Since the Introduction of the World Wide Web (www) in the early 1990s, Information Communications Technology (ICT) has always been a men dominated passion worldwide.
But this has grown to change with vast Women participation in the Technology ecosystem and bullish curves showing their mass Involvement in Innovation-driven startups and enrollment for ICT education.
Well, the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) in 2011 marked every last Thursday of April as a day dedicated to celebrating girls in ICT worldwide.
Over 9,000 celebrations attracted 300,000 women participants by 2018, and today we celebrate the Women that have a broad passion for Technology and continue growing while excelling in ICT.
In Uganda, the rate of Women owning Internet-enabled devices like Smartphones and Personal Computers (PCs) has risen by 40% since 2015 as per social media analytic results. This is attributed to the dropping device prices, Internet prices, and to a greater extent access to quality ICT education and Innovation competitions.
Among these, the Huawei Seeds for future competition is an annual skills competition that enrolls students from various universities in Uganda for a chance to win an all expenses paid trip to China.
It’s through the competition that Cleopatra Ajambo changed her life from just a Computer Science Student to an IT network architect working with Huawei Uganda.
“As a Computer Science Student, you were expected to dig deep into programming as a major which was not, and is not most girls passion, so I found myself relying more on get good grades than building a career as a problem solver. But during my internship with Dfcu Bank, I was mentored into the networking field by my supervisor and that’s when I realized how best I could enrich my career with ICT Skills.”
According to Cleopatra, her goal for joining the seeds for future competition was to travel to China as the leading country in ICT equipment and services provision.
Amidst stiff competition, Cleopatra qualified for the national round after drafting a project proposal on how ICT can be leveraged to help people with chronic diseases remotely get access to doctors by using their smartphones.
“I wrote a proposal addressing people having chronic diseases and through the use of gadgets and networks, their health would be actively monitored remotely by the doctors. My proposal won because I was confident that if implemented it would help save lives and would receive a vote from the panel of judges.”
Luckily, Cleopatra’s proposal won, and her dream to visit China became a reality opening up her doors to a brighter career in the ICT Industry. On return, she was offered an Internship opportunity at Huawei Uganda to further enhance her career.
Due to her growing passion for ICT, she progressed through various ranks to her current position as a Maintenance Manager.
“ I joined Huawei as an intern without any network skills, but going through a number of trainings and documentation reading , I moved from being an intern of survey, to an IP engineer configuring devices such as cameras, switches, routers, firewall, to a maintenance manager where I coordinate the fiber team, networks team, and the systems team “
In the light of the Huawei Seeds for the future academy at Makerere University that opened doors for Cleopatra to join the annual skills competition, and enrich her career path.
Increased ICT education in Uganda has attracted Women to enhance their skills, and win positions that were previously known to be dominated by Men.
“ Being in a field mostly dominated by men, is what motivates us to always be outstanding. I am very competitive while at work, I am personally interested in computer networking, Routing & switching, certified in HCIA (Huawei Associate) and currently pursuing HCIP (Huawei computer internetworking professional). “ Cleopatra concluded
Among the successful women in Uganda leveraging ICT to lead and solve real-life problems in previously men dominated positions include the recently appointed UCC Executive Director Ms. Irene Sewakambo Kaggwa, the Minister of ICT and National Guidance Ms. Judith Nabakooba, among others.
As Women continue to rise in the ICT Industry, the role of ICT companies like Huawei, MTN, Airtel, among others, and Government support to nurture girls through quality ICT education and skill competitions respectively, will bring a fair balance in an industry that was once known to be fully dominated by men.