Women make up only 10% of all employees in the IT area in the Czech Republic. It is not much, is it? This situation is an outcome of gender stereotypes and different approaches to the education of boys and girls. It is not easy to break such a stereotyped mindset of the society. However, a non-profit organization Czechitas has decided to make a difference. Czechitas educates women in the area of IT through workshops and courses. Since then, they have helped many women to become IT specialists.
Some people might think inside the box and their idea of an IT specialist is a coder who lives in a world made of ones and zeros. To undeceive those people, Petra Holajová, coordinator of Czechitas for Mladá Boleslav and Liberec, highlights that “Participants of our workshops are women and girls of all ages, professions, and interests. Their background differs as well. For instance, there are women who would like to continuously educate themselves or are not satisfied with their current profession. Some of women would like to get ready before finishing parental leave or they are elderly and their aim is to understand the younger generations which live in the IT world.” The first workshop of Czechitas proved Petra’s words where women of all ages and different backgrounds participated.
ŠKODA AUTO and Czechitas Cooperation
ŠKODA AUTO and Czechitas became partners in 2019. Together they opened a new branch office in Mladá Boleslav and Liberec. There are eleven IT workshops for adults and one for kids planned in Mladá Boleslav and Liberec for this year. Women can choose from a wide offer of workshop topics. For example programming, graphic design, data analysis, and many more.
Czechitas also cooperates with ŠKODA Trainees. The joint project, called Arduino, aims to attract students to technical fields. Trainees organize workshops where participants can try programming and its functions in real life. For instance, participants of the last workshop built and programmed a remotely controlled car.
Way to ŠKODA IT through Czechitas
The IT area is changing quickly. Same as ŠKODA AUTO, which grows rapidly as well. It opens dozens of new IT positions every year. The absence of IT specialists on the labour market is generally well known and further growth of this gap is expected in the future.
Matěj Chour, the IT recruiter for ŠKODA AUTO, comments the situation: “The opened IT positions change dynamically and have various requirements. Not every opened position requires an IT university degree. Experience from different fields, technical thinking and motivation for work are much appreciated. The requalification is a good start to become a successful applicant.”
Moreover, Matěj sees that some groups of people on the labour market are underestimated. Especially mothers after their parental leave and women who are 45 and over. “If candidates from these groups complete requalification with Czechitas (for example the challenging Digital Academy), it is certain that they are well prepared, able to learn and capable of making a change. On top of that, they have excellent time management skills gained during their parental leave.”
The goal of the cooperation is not only to get new employees, but there is another dimension of the project. It enables women to do a radical change in their career, find a meaningful job and broaden their horizons. ŠKODA AUTO currently employs three women who completed their requalification through Czechitas and started their new career in the IT area. As Petra says, it is a great success for the beginning: “There are three stories of great women who were brave enough to change their job sphere into unexplored IT areas. They completed the requalification process and succeed in the ŠKODA AUTO tender.”
Why do we need women in IT?
There are plenty of reasons. Let’s mention a few of them. Women bring a different, fresh point of view to problem solution, product design or user experience. If we manage to break stereotypes, we can find hidden potential.
Czechitas believe that IT is for everybody. What matters are determination and desire to learn. Every Czechitas workshop has one unbreakable rule: “No question is stupid”.
Michaela Mocová, Trainee – Profit, Financial planning and analysis