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Find out what it takes to get started in the tech industry at Move It Forward

Photo: Digital Leadership Institute

While many employment sectors are becoming increasingly co-ed, the tech industry remains predominantly male. One upcoming event seeks to encourage more women to pursue careers in the field.

During Move It Forward: Female Digital Starters, participants can attend hands-on workshops about digital technologies that will help them develop projects and acquire useful real-world skills. The two day event is a collaboration between the Digital Leadership Institute, the Women Entrepreneurship Platform, Women’s Business Initiative International, and Webster University. It will take place on 10 and 11 November 2018 at Webster’s Leiden campus and is open to both students and members of the public.

‘The focus of the event is to find ways to help women improve their IT skills and test out their entrepreneurial ideas,’ said head organiser Dr Yang Fan, who is programme coordinator for the Business and Management department at Webster Leiden.

‘Our goal is to encourage more of them to consider careers in the industry or assist them as entrepreneurs with their own businesses. It’s a great event for starters who have absolutely no or very basic knowledge of technology.’

Learning curve

There are many careers currently available in the tech industry that cover everything from designing websites to programming mobile apps. Unfortunately, many women often avoid career opportunities in the field for many reasons that include the perception that the learning curve is just too big of a hurdle to overcome.

Move It Forward: Female Digital Starters hopes to help those interested in entering the industry smash through these barriers. It’s also a great opportunity for those looking to boost their tech skills in order to work as entrepreneurs outside the field and/or start their own online businesses.

Photo: Digital Leadership Institute

‘We want to bring technology closer to our female audience,’ said Charlene Lambert, the interim president of Women’s Business Initiative International which is also serving as a co-organiser. ‘Too many women think these careers and opportunities are too difficult or too far away from them. We want to show them that it’s actually possible and that’s the motivation behind this whole event.’

One of the workshops at the event will offer participants the opportunity to learn what it takes to come up with a ‘killer app’ like Instagram or Snapchat that will keep users glued to their smartphones. It will be hosted by Cheryl Miller, an app inventor who works on digital content for the MIT Centre for Information Systems Research.

Miller’s workshop will offer participants the opportunity to gather into teams and come up with a concept for their own smartphone app while instructors walk them through all the steps involved in a typical design process. They can later have their project reviewed by a panel of judges and earn prizes that include free coaching sessions at inQubation, a training service provided by the Digital Leadership Institute that helps beginners and professionals improve their IT skills.

Photo: Digital Leadership Institute

An additional workshop, hosted by Katja Legisa, a director from the Digital Leadership Institute, will focus on how to design an online presence for a start-up business or another online project by using WordPress, AWS, and cloud technology.

A third workshop will be hosted by trainers from top tech companies with offices here in the Netherlands, including Google. Webster alumnus Ebere Akadiri, a seasoned entrepreneur and the founder and organiser of the Women Rise & Lead Summit, will appear as a guest speaker as well.

The schedule is packed with activities that run from 8:00 to 22:00 both days with project pitches and awards on Sunday evening, followed by opportunities to network. Needless to say, catered meals will also be provided for everyone in attendance.

Move It Forward: Female Digital Starters is free for Webster students. Admission for members of the public is €20, all inclusive. You can learn more about the event’s schedule and activities by clicking here to visit its page on the website for Webster Leiden.

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