One in four computing jobs is filled by a woman – and that number is getting smaller.

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To keep Washington among the global leaders in technology and innovation, more skilled professionals are needed to meet current demand. Despite unprecedented opportunity, too few women are choosing careers in tech fields. A recent study from Accenture and Girls Who Code revealed fewer than one in four computing jobs is filled by a woman – and that number is getting smaller.

That decline is happening despite a tech industry willing to pay for well-trained workers. Research by the American Community Survey showed the median yearly earnings for computer and mathematical jobs is about $30,000 higher than the median earnings for all female professionals. In the Puget Sound area, tech salaries are among the nation’s highest.

The lack of women in that industry has been likened to keeping half the team on the sidelines at a critical point in the game. To encourage more women to pursue careers in tech, there are dozens of resources available – no matter where a person is in their life and career.

  • The apprentice: You’re hired!

The talent-hungry tech industry is looking for ambitious go-getters – especially from traditionally underrepresented groups, such as women, minorities and veterans. Working as an apprentice is a great way to get in the door and receive relevant, on-the-job training. Plus, unlike a typical internship, an apprenticeship is paid, includes benefits like medical and dental, and is monitored by government labor agencies. Based in Redmond, Apprenti is a 501(c)(3) dedicated to connecting great candidates with many of the region’s top tech employers.

  • Click your way to a degree

Over the last 10 years, the number of jobs in Washington requiring a college education has increased by nearly 260,000. In many tech companies, to be promoted up the ranks requires a bachelor’s and master’s degree. To make higher education more accessible, particularly for midcareer adults, many universities offer IT degree programs online. For example, WGU Washington, the nonprofit university headquartered in Kent, is all online, accredited and affordable. Tuition is about $6,000 a year – about half of similar institutions.

  • Immerse yourself

Responding to the need for more tech professionals, educational providers have emerged exclusively for people serious about careers in tech. These schools offer immersive, full-time curriculum simulating an on-the-job environment. Graduates earn foundational skills and real-world project experience needed to make an impact in the workplace. With a campus in Seattle’s Pioneer Square neighborhood, Galvanize features programs in web development and data science.

  • Get certified

Right now, roughly two-thirds of all jobs in Washington require at least some college education. However, that doesn’t always mean a degree from a university. In some cases, professional and technical certificate programs provide the skills and knowledge to meet the demands of leading employers. Many community and technical colleges across the state offer hands-on certificate programs teaching the most current tech industry practices.

WGU Washington is an online, competency-based university designed to expand access to higher education for Washington residents.