CodePlus – Empowering Tech Equality in the Next Generation

CodePlus is an initiative of the Trinity Access Programme (TAP), designed to encourage young women and girls to consider careers in IT and technology related fields. Through team-based, hands-on coding projects, problem solving, and computational thinking activities combined with an opportunity to meet with women working in the field, CodePlus provides a vital opportunity for female students to explore careers in the field of computer science. The programme supports girls to make more informed decisions when it comes to considering STEM subjects at third level.

CodePlus contributes to narrowing the gender gap, which remains prevalent in the IT industry. According to a recent PwC report, this gender equality gap can trace its roots to early education. The study, comprised of over 2,000 female students, revealed that only 16% had a career in technology suggested to them, compared with 33% of their male counterparts. Put simply, young women aren’t considering technology careers as a viable option largely because they aren’t given enough encouragement.

Dr. Rebecca Long, Primary and Junior Cycle Coordinator of Trinity Access Programme, had this to say about how the gender gap is perceived and realised in education:

“In some schools, predominantly single sex schools that cater for female students, STEM subjects are not necessarily prioritised, either due to a lack of resources in the school or a perceived lack of interest in the student population. It’s a vicious cycle because if young girls can’t see it – in other words, if they aren’t offered a chance to take Computer Science for the Leaving Cert – how are they supposed to be it or study it?”

Providing ready access to role models is important when encouraging female students to consider further study and careers in technology. According to the PwC study, students feel a lack of female role models is directly reinforcing the perception that a career in technology isn’t for them. Illustrating this issue, over two-thirds of respondents were able to name a famous man working in tech, whereas less than a quarter (22%) could name a famous woman. This contributes to some young women being put off a career in the field due to the perception that it’s overly male-dominated. Therefore, using real-life role models to show young girls that IT is a viable career option is essential to closing the gender gap in the industry.

In Datapac, gender equality isn’t just something we talk about, it’s something we actively strive for. Promoting equality in our industry is something which is very near and dear to the hearts of many within the organisation. Recently, through Datapac’s Community Contribution Initiative, which allows employees to avail of an additional three paid leave days per year to volunteer their skills and talent to causes that matter to them, Datapac’s Systems and Process Manager Munyaradzi O’ Keeffe joined TAP in their offices in Oriel House, Dublin. Here, she delivered a career talk to a group of transition-year girls and shared her own lived experience of working in and progressing a career in the tech industry.

A key takeaway from the talk was that there’s more to IT and tech than hard skills, such as coding. Areas such as project management, resource coordination, business development, and sales and marketing are all viable career paths within the industry.

Datapac CodePlusMunyaradzi O’ Keeffe, Systems and Process Manager, Datapac:

“We in Datapac were delighted to be given the opportunity to participate in Trinity Access Programme’s wonderful CodePlus initiative. Enhancing diversity and closing the gender gap in the IT and tech industry is something we’re very passionate about; it was very gratifying to get the chance to contribute and act as living proof and encouragement to the next generation of young women interested in becoming involved in the field. Everyone, male or female, can become intimidated when they hear about the tech industry; images of complex lines of endlessly scrolling code in a seemingly arcane language are conjured, which can put a lot of people off the idea of even considering the field as a possibility for them. The reality couldn’t be further from the truth. If you’re a passionate, hardworking individual that would love to work in a constantly evolving, always interesting field, then the IT industry might be the career path for you.”

Dr. Jennifer Murphy, CodePlus & Bridge to College Coordinator, Trinity Access Programme:

“It was wonderful to have such a well-established indigenous technology organisation like Datapac share their experience with the students. Munyaradzi showed the girls a different side of the industry, once which many of us not directly involved in would never consider. The genuine, lived experience of a professional in the industry has really helped to broader the horizons of potential for the next generation.”

To stay up-to-date on the great work performed by the Trinity Access Programme, be sure to follow them on LinkedIn and Twitter.

register for upcoming events

Register for upcoming events

  • Datapac provides IT services to Glanbia
  • Datapac provides ICT infrastrure to Holfeld Plastics