A lack of diversity plagues the tech industry, but can a new download be the answer?
The statistics for women in technology make for grim reading. According to figures from the National Centre for Women & IT (NCWIT), women hold just a quarter of computing roles. Furthermore, the lack of diversity seems to be getting worse, not better; female representation in IT hit its peak in 1991 but has been declining since.
Other reports show women are under-represented in board rooms, tech start-ups and venture capital firms that fund them.
Rav Bumbra, founder of recruitment business Structur3dpeople, says that one of the big issues facing women in technology is a lack of suitable mentoring.
Bumbra says that rising stars in the tech industry benefit from the encouragement and support of older, wiser figures who can guide them through their careers. But for aspiring women, this is a problem when there are so few other females at senior level.
"If we are to see more women progress in the tech industry, they need support and guidance from people who have been there before them, mentoring offers a great solution," says Bumbra.
So Bumbra has created Cajigo ('Careers and Jobs on the Go') - an app that provides mentoring services and support for women attempting to make inroads into the technology sector and progress within it.
Launched on International Women's Day (March 8, 2018) it includes videos from senior business leaders including Natalie Gross, managing partner TH_NK, president of BIMA and Luciana Carvalho Se, Chief VR and AR Evangelist, Partnerships Lead at REWIND
"Having mentoring in an app means you can fit mentoring into your busy life," says Bumbra. "You can be on a train or use it once the kids are in bed - even while breastfeeding."
Bumbra says the app provides guidance but also gives users exercises to follow. Later tutorials will follow on from these, so the app should be able to guide a user through to the next stage of their careers.
But Bumbra says there is also another key aspect to the app, which arose from a clear industry demand – recruitment. The app will contain job adverts aimed at women looking for work in the tech industry.
"As a recruiter, I am often asked by companies to find female candidates. Or, we often hear from businesses that no women applied for a role. So, we are creating a marketplace on Cajigo for businesses to appeal to female talent," she says.
The culture of businesses has never been under greater scrutiny, so perhaps Cajigo has launched at the perfect time. Bumbra says she has personally received inappropriate messages by men she initially met in a business setting.
"The 'MeToo' movement highlights why many women don't feel comfortable meeting a stranger in a coffee shop. I'm a confident and experienced business person but, for a lot of younger women, the risk involved means this isn't an appealing way to meet a mentor."
Cajigo users, then, will benefit from access to top advisors, within a setup that's entirely under their own control. "We wanted to create a platform for women to get the best possible mentoring experience, but in a safe and structured, yet flexible environment," explains Bumbra.
Find out more about the Cajigo app.
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