Usually the term “shadow IT” is a phrase that sends shivers down the spine of financial controllers and IT executives as they lose the ability to track spending and a company’s data eco-system respectively, but what if shadow IT became a way to get more women involved in the technology sector?
That’s the idea of the New Zealand Technology Industry Association, which is teaming up with a local technology-focused college to create “Shadow IT”. No the association isn’t going in and enabling marketers with cloud-delivered services without telling the IT department about it. Instead, the association is encouraging school-age women to more seriously consider pursuing a career in IT. To do that, they are giving the women the opportunity to job-shadow an IT professional for a day – hence the new spin on “shadow IT.”
The IT industry in New Zealand apparently suffers from many of the same problems as the Canadian market. There’s a growing demand for IT professionals, but a skills shortage is being created because the number of graduates into the sector is not keeping pace. In Canada, just this past week Ottawa’s Willis College put out a call to employment agencies and job seekers that it was seeking to help IT security firm Fortinet hire 35 people. The jobs remained unfilled because of a lack of qualified candidates, a news release said, and those willing to be trained were welcome to apply for the openings.
Of course, women are very underrepresented in the IT field as well in Canada. That is in part why ITWC hosts our Women in the IT Channel event, coming up next month.
The New Zealand association says “Shadow IT” will show young women about the challenges and rewards of the IT industry and first-hand experience with the workplace environment. They say there has been a strong response from companies already looking to take part as hosts for the students for a day of work.
Maybe Canada should steal this page from the other side of the world and find a way to make give shadow IT a new meaning in our country too.