I received the soure inquiry for your article Will cloud computing kick the IT door in for women? And responded with the email below.
I am extremely disappointed to read your article. Especially since your cited source is an employee of VMWare, a company with a very vested interest in pushing the cloud agenda.
Below is the contents of my original email that is an answer to your question: Will cloud computing kick the IT door in for women?
MY EMAIL TO SANDRA:
My name is Erin Kelley and I am the owner of a small IT services company in Chicago, IL. I am a technologist by career and business owner as of 2009… and I am female.
My answer to your inquiry is no… and what!?!
Cloud computing is just a pseudonym for hosted infrastructure. That infrastructure still has to be maintained rigorously by a team of skill IT professionals. I can’t see how that affords any different opportunity to women in IT than currently offered.
Unless the implication is that women in a company’s IT department can now shift off the responsibility of rigorously maintaining their infrastructure to another company (a.k.a. outsourcing / cloud hosting) which means they become managers of vendors as opposed to IT engineers.
My response to that is simple… how terrible! What a terrible implication that women can only thrive or be successful at the human side of IT (managing and HR) versus the technical and engineering side. And that shifting responsibility for the technical side of IT makes the career more accessible to women.
To be a woman in IT you need to know your field and be good at it. Even if you are managing outside vendors you need to be able to direct and advise them, work with internal and vendor support teams, and advocate effectively for the direction of the vendor technology. And when a system goes down, you still will get that first call because even if you outsource/cloud source you are the clients’/users’ first point of contact and if you’re executive responsible for the services of others, you are the single throat to choke as well.
Hosted versus onsite is a pendulum that has been swinging back and forth as computer technology has evolved: from dummy terminals that connected to mainframes then the personal computer then the client server architecture then software as a service then ?whatever is next, maybe personal compute farms and hyper-local networks, who knows? But they all need skilled IT professionals to manage the technology.
In order to attract more women to IT we need to show girls at a very early age that taking apart things and reassembling them, building structures with legos, and looking in microscopes is not only SUPER COOL but something they can be good at. This is really the only way to foster a love of and develop the base skills for a foundation skillset required for a science/technology career.
I have found that all of the women in IT that I have worked with have been excellent technologists and engineers. Plus they provided added soft skills that the men don’t often have. But they all started with the technology or curiosity with math/science/engineering from an early age. You can’t expect someone that spent a lifetime developing ONLY softer skills to now see the market demand and try to shoehorn their abilities to fit a position that they never developed the love for or base skills for.
Erin Kelley, Owner
Simply Smart Technology