Surveying the wide array of opportunities could encourage more to respond to the growing demand.
Increasing gender diversity in technology-driven industries is an important social issue, but it is also a matter of dollars and cents. Two major factors support the economic need for more women in tech jobs.
First, in general, companies who emphasize diversity and inclusion are more successful. A McKinsey study shows greater earnings and returns on equity for businesses with significant diversity at the executive level. Research by Forbes found organizations with a diverse workforce were more innovative and experienced less turnover.
Second, there simply aren’t enough trained professionals working in tech. Around the Puget Sound and across the state, there are great tech jobs waiting to be filled – but not enough qualified workers to fill them. As a result, Washington imports more IT talent than any other state in the nation, according to the Washington Technology Industry Association. If as many women pursued opportunities in tech as men, it would a massive victory for the local workforce and the growth of Washington businesses.
Understanding the wide array of opportunities within the state’s knowledge-based economy could encourage more people to respond to that demand. Of course, companies like Microsoft and Amazon are recruiting talent, but there’s a need for tech-minded professional in other industries as well, including health care and education. The jobs in high demand include:
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Software developers are vital to companies at the heart of Washington’s information and communication technology sector. Those women and men create the computer programs important to modern life, including mobile applications and the operating systems that run devices or control networks. Developers work for software publishers or businesses specializing in computer systems design. Typically, a bachelor’s degree in computer science is required. In Washington, the median annual wage for software developers is well over $100,000.
Information security analysts
The research firm Cybersecurity Ventures predicts cyberattacks will cost businesses around the world $6 trillion per year by 2021. That includes stolen money, identity theft and fraud. The White House declared cyber threats a national emergency, and the demand for information security analysts is well above the average for all occupations. Information security analysts are on the frontlines defending organizations’ computer networks and systems. They work for computer companies, consulting firms, or business and financial organizations. The median annual wage for information security analyst in Washington is about $100,000.
Health information managers
Jobs in health information combine the latest in technology with cutting-edge health care practices. Health information managers are the designers, developers and administrators of the computer systems managing medical records and other important data. They play a vital role in ensuring patients’ information and records are complete, accurate and secure. The Bureau of Labor Statistics forecasts, over the next decade, health information management will be among the fastest-growing aspects of the health care industry.
STEM stands for science, technology, engineering and mathematics – and it’s a hot buzzword in K-12 education across the state. Teachers in STEM subjects shape young learners’ interest in the knowledge areas on which Washington’s 21st-century economy is based. However, according to the U.S. Department of Education, there aren’t enough teachers in classrooms across the state, especially in math and science. To become a teacher, a bachelor’s degree and state certification are required. In Washington, the median annual wage for teachers exceeds $60,000.
WGU Washington is an online, competency-based university designed to expand access to higher education for Washington residents.