Vice President, European Core Research Excellence Leader, European Skills Practice
This blog is the first in a series about leadership, gender gap, diversity and work-life balance in the tech world.
An interview with Marianne Kolding
I’m lucky enough to have two hats to wear at IDC. Wearing one, I’m focused on how we can ensure that we deliver our research to our customers in a way that really fit their needs and keep it relevant. This means I get to work with a high number of our analysts across Europe as well as other functions. Wearing the other hat, together with a dozen or so colleagues, we are building out IDC’s Technology Skills Practice – this is an area that I have worked in for the past almost 20 years, so it’s great now to see it spread and flourish. So there isn’t really a typical day for me – they are so varied but (mostly) exciting.
Q: What’s the one thing you would tell women in IT, to keep in mind as they navigate their careers?
It is unfortunately still a male dominated industry, so be prepared to stand your ground and speak your mind. I think as women, we have a tendency not to be as outspoken about what we can do, what we know, and what we think. You will sometimes need to shout a bit louder (not literally of course 😊). But that’s very likely the same in any male-dominated industry.
Q: What do you think can be done to encourage more women to join and take leadership roles in the tech industry?
There has been a lot of initiatives to encourage more women into IT, many of them starting with getting girls and young women interested in STEM-type studies. But in my opinion, we should also focus more heavily on building technology into ALL other lines of study. Because the use of technology affects all walks of life. Personally, I studied economics and business and ended up in tech. I am not a hardcore techie – but I understand enough that I can see how technology can change business models, companies’ strategies, create new opportunities. This is exciting stuff! I think that if women understand that – that this is not necessarily about hardcore coding for example – then it will open their eyes to how the tech industry can provide an exciting, ever-changing, creative career. So we need to go out there and tell them about it and help them see the opportunities. I guess that’s a long winded way of saying: we need role models.
Q: What would you tell young students, say those in school/university, to focus on as they prepare to enter the workforce?
There has been a bit of a shift in employers views of what they need from graduates in the past few years – certainly in the tech industry. Last summer, we did a series of interviews with major employers in the tech sector and one of the key findings was that employers are really looking for young people that can demonstrate an ability to learn, good communication skills and a collaborative attitude. Employers have realised that the education system cannot deliver graduates as a “finished product”. Of course, you’ll need to have the basic building blocks in place and rudimentary understanding of the area in which you will be working. But if you have a good basic grounding, employers now have a much stronger focus on training graduates to give them specific skills you’d need. So think about this – also when you start interviewing. How can you get these qualities across when you speak with potential employers.
Want to learn more about how to Empower Women in Tech? Follow and join the conversation on social media – #IDCIWD19 and share your thoughts about this topic.