25th October, 2018
Programs like developher aren’t just about addressing the gender imbalance in tech – they could point the way forward for tech recruitment more broadly.
MYOB launched the program in 2016, creating a pathway for women in software development by giving three women with little to no coding experience the opportunity to break into the industry.
“MYOB’s developher program is a symbol of increasing gender diversity within tech, within software development,” MYOB senior talent advisor, Chanh Kien, told The Pulse.
“We find that if you look at programmers and developers, they’re mainly male. What we wanted to do is increase the gender balance there.”
The reasons for a lack of women in programming roles are varied, but a lot goes back to childhood and early adolescence, when women are starting to make judgements about their life direction.
When you think about the role tech like AI is going to play in the future, having such powerful software created predominately by males is a bad thing.
“When we talk about AI, a lot of people say it’s going to be a lot more humanistic. Now, AI can have racial bias, have gender bias…that’s why we need more diversity in AI development,” said Kien.
AI is only really as smart as the person programming it, and if those programming it bring implicit and unconscious biases to the process, then the AI will turn out to have those biases.
“When we’re talking about diversity, we’re talking about diversity of thought and gender plays a huge role in that,” said Kien
More broadly, software development still has an image problem with women, but the discussion around women in STEM in recent years has led to green shoots.
For example, MYOB recently decided to put on coding classes specifically for women with no coding experience in Melbourne and Sydney.
Places filled up almost immediately.
It demonstrates that women are keen to explore programming and careers in IT – they just don’t know where to begin.
It’s why programs like developher are so valuable – they provide a pathway into the career where no visible one did before.
But this year MYOB has decided to take the program to the next level: here’s what’s in store.
The program will still take three women into MYOB to become software developers, but instead as being offered as a part-time opportunity it will (at least initially) be full-time.
Those who are accepted into the program will study for six months full time at Coder Academy to focus on programming.
Previously, when the program was a part-time opportunity, retaining learning was an issue.
“It’s like learning a completely different language,” said Kien. “Imagine going to a different country and visiting that country three days a week and needing to learn Mandarin. It’s quite challenging.”
Once developher participants go through the six-month academic program, they come back to MYOB and are placed within our graduate program, the Future Maker Academy.
Throughout the experience, successful applicants will be given a full-time wage of $60,000 p.a. plus super, and this bumps up to $65,000 p.a. plus super when they go into the academy.
Kien said structuring the program this way would give applicants the best possible shot at becoming successful programmers.
Previous participants in the program have used their experience to pivot into areas such as business development and development – which is all great – but the point of the program is to redress the gender imbalance specifically within programming.
Kien thinks structuring the program this way could point to the future of tech recruitment.
Recruitment in tech is tough at the best of times.
With fewer qualified people than roles available, Kien’s job can be difficult.
“When we’re hiring for programmers and developers – we’ll make an offer for one developer and they’ll get four other offers at the same time,” said Kien.
It’s why recruiters are having to get a bit more creative with recruiting, and Kien thinks tapping the vast untapped pool of passionate but inexperienced people may be something that’s increasingly done.
“Having programs like this is really going to uplift the ease of recruitment a little bit more, rather than competing for talent constantly,” said Kien.
“These programs are going to be so much easier in terms of filling roles.”
It’s why focusing on women in tech isn’t just about doing the right thing – it could be vital to the future of the industry.
“The available pool of people who may be passionate about pursuing a career in coding but don’t know where to begin is way bigger than the pool of qualified developers.”
“That’s why programs like developher aren’t just about appearing to do the right thing, they’re pretty vital to our future.”
If you’re interested in finding out more or applying to the developher program, head here.