Source | The Times Of India : By Brinda Dasgupta & Varuni Khosla
BENGALURU | NEW DELHI: Last year, 12 female undergraduate students across two institutes in Bengaluru were nominated to be part of a pilot project at Dell . These young women — from the University Visvesvaraya College of Engineering and RV College of Engineering — weren’t necessarily class toppers, but students their institutes thought could benefit from the practical knowledge and training, something that Dell was ready to provide.
Employees at Dell worked with these students on the ‘Girl Student Outreach Programme’ over a course of 25 weeks, educating them on the skills required to work in the IT industry, encouraging them to work on networking skills and inculcating confidence in them. The participants were taken through basic programming languages and worked on a project on computing, networking and storage.
Dell is just one of the companies seeking to correct a problem that’s becoming more prevalent — that of dwindling numbers of women in the technology field. With not enough women opting for STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) education, and many women employees dropping out of the workforce mid-career to focus on family-related commitments, technology companies in India are facing a severe crunch of female talent. However, companies such as Accenture,
VMware, Intel, Intuit and Pitney Bowes are among those battling this trend, not only by hiring more female talent, but also by introducing unique initiatives in this area.
In October last year, Pitney Bowes introduced ‘PB Code Inspire’, a three-month hackathon specifically conducted for women from colleges across India.
“Over 2,000 students participated in the coding challenge, and we selected the top five winners, who were given job offers. Female talent in technology needs to be identified and encouraged right at the college level,” said Manish Choudhary, managing director, India and SVP, innovation, Pitney Bowes.
The hackathon will now be an ongoing annual initiative, and this year will reach double the number of colleges and participants compared to last year, he said.
While Dell and Pitney Bowes are focusing on developing female talent in technology at an early level, Accenture, Intel and VMware are providing employee guidance and backing to further their careers.