'Code like A Girl' Is Closing The IT Skills (And Gender) Gap With A New Internship Program

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According to Australia's Digital Pulse report, released by the Australian Computer Society, by 2020 Australia's digital tech sector will need 700,000 more information and communications technology workers. Women make up less than 20 per cent of Australia's digital tech workforce.

Code Like A Girl has a plan - and a new internship program - to help address both of these issues.

Launching today, the internships cover coding, robotics, artificial intelligence and design - in partnership with companies like Xero and Cogent as well as digital agencies Deepend and August.

The program is aimed at students on a break from university, recent graduates, or even if you're looking for a career change. Starting in Melbourne next January, the program will expand into other states soon after launch.

Vanessa Doake, co-founder of Code Like A Girl says the internship program will both help address the gender imbalance, and Australian companies with training and developing the talent they need to be to thrive in the future.

"Tech is the next frontier in wealth and job creation, which is why programs like this are essential to ensure everyone, regardless of socioeconomic background has the opportunity to participate," Doake says.

"Not only is it free to become an apprentice, but you'll get paid while learning on the job."

Doake points out that there are normally two main options to enter the tech industry in Australia - you either study computer science at a tertiary level (which can be time and cost prohibitive and not practical if you have financial or family commitments), or you undertake an immersive coding program which can cost upwards of $15,000 and require full-time study for at least three months.

"Code Like a Girl's internship is designed to help master professional and technical skills, gain valuable experience and develop a network to help build their dream career in tech," explains Doake.

"For participating technology companies, they'll be involved in developing and training for skills they need in their business and improving diversity at the same time."

Doake says ehat matters most is your desire to learn and your passion for technology.

"If you have strong communication skills, high emotional intelligence and maturity, you'll make an excellent intern."

But what does the internship actually involve?

You will be working on-site at an Australian tech company signed up to the program, either for three, six or 12 months. You can also choose between full-time or part-time. Doake explains that most partners will take one apprentice a year, with the aim of transitioning after completion to a permanent role.

Code Like A Girl will support the program, giving you a Code Like A Girl mentor, regular 1-on-1 coaching sessions and will organise personal and professional development sessions on a unch of topics - like how to ace the technical interview, how to build your CV and portfolio, how to overcome imposter syndrome and how to find a job you will love.

There will also be regular networking opportunities with other industry partners.

James O'Reilly, Talent Acquisition Lead at Xero Australia says the unfortunate reality is there currently isn't enough tech workers in Australia to meet the demands.

"At Xero, we are taking steps to invest in local talent to stay ahead of the curve, and ensure that Australian tech remains competitive," O'Reilly says.

"Code Like a Girl's new internship program is an important initiative for us to combat this talent shortage by promoting careers in tech to interested females and at the same time helping us build cognitively diverse teams."

You can find out more about the program and apply here.

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