Over the past few years, women have started to make big strides in the IT field. In fact, The National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT) estimates that in 2012—the most recent year from which data is available—women held 26 percent of professional computing jobs in the U.S. workforce. Here are a few other compelling facts:
- For the first time ever in 2014 more women were enrolled in an introductory computing course at the University of California Berkeley.
- At the end of last year, Code.org launched a program to advocate for more computer science education and more than half of the 15 million students who registered during the first week were girls.
One of the primary reasons women are entering the IT field is they are witnessing firsthand their predecessors succeed in the field and function as role models to the next generation of programmers, developers and engineers. Here at Star2Star, we have our very own shining beacon in Chief Marketing Officer Michelle Accardi-Petersen.
Michelle is a world-renowned thought leader on next-generation marketing and communications strategies. She joined the Star2Star team from CA Technologies, having excelled there in several leadership positions including Head of Digital Marketing.
Recently, Michelle was named Business Woman of the Year by the Tampa Bay Business Journal. The Business Women of the Year awards are presented annually to the top businesswomen in the Tampa Bay area. A record number of professionals were nominated for this year's awards, and nominations were narrowed down to 50 finalists by an independent panel of judges. Finalists and winners were acknowledged at an awards gala on Friday, August 22. Michelle was honored in the “Young” category, which recognizes achievements of women under 40. This most recent award follows her previous recognition as the Gulf Coast Business Review's “40 under 40,” and as a “Woman Who Means Business” by the South Florida Business Journal.
“We’re all very proud of Michelle,” said Star2Star CEO Norman Worthington in a statement. “She has overseen the rapid expansion of our marketing team while launching several important initiatives that are helping drive Star2Star to new heights.”
As a company committed to diversity, we hope this recognition can serve as motivation and driver for other women looking to break into tech, as there is still work to be done. To remain competitive as a nation in the technology space, we need more highly skilled workers. The NCWIT estimates that by 2020 the U.S. will be home to 1.4 million open computer specialist jobs, but at our current pace we could only fill 30 percent of those positions. That is largely because women are still underrepresented in IT, a problem we hope Michelle’s award will play a small part in correcting.