Occupation: ICT Consultant
Grant was one of the organizers of a group in Fredericton for Women in IT.
NB Women in ICT is a new group connecting women interested or working in the information, communication and technology (ICT) sector.
“My husband is CEO of the New Brunswick Information Technology Council so there is always lots of talk around the home about the ICT industry,” says Darcy Grant, a consultant with Ambir and currently on contract with the Department of Social Development. “And that talk extends to the shortage of skilled people to work in the industry and that leads into why are so few women or next to no women enrolling in degree or diploma programs in ICT?”
For a few years, starting in 2000 Grant was one of the organizers of a group in Fredericton for Women in IT. “Recently, a number of people were asking about the group and showing an interest in networking opportunities.”
So in the fall of 2010, Grant decided to kickstart the group again and sent an email out to her industry network to host an event in Fredericton.
“The group started out with 80 names from my contact list and we now have about 130 people province-wide who receive our e-newsletters and participate in networking luncheons,” says Grant who facilitates the group. “Our luncheons are usually at max capacity, so I guess we are filling a need.”
This group is focusing on providing networking and mentoring opportunities for women in New Brunswick's ICT Sector, connecting women with programs and activities around the province that support professional development, and promoting increased enrolment of women into Computer Science, Engineering and other ICT degree and diploma programs.
“There are already enough “groups” in the Province, so we are trying desperately to refrain from creating yet another one,” says Grant. “We hope the network will act as a conduit for connecting them.”
“Our luncheons and e-newsletters offer professional development and helps to share information and resources,” says Grant.
“The luncheons are a great place to hear of other women's stories and learn from their experiences,” says Grant. “We also learn new trends and developments in the industry – it's great for career development.”
According to ICTC's July 2011 statistics on gender representation in the Canadian ICT labour force, the percentage of women in ICT is 24.2%. (Source: http://www.ictc-ctic.ca/Labour_Market_Intelligence/Trends/Monthly/Reports/ )
“Women represent a huge untapped pool,” says Grant. “The number was never high but over the last 20 years or so there's been a steady decline in interest from women entering the ICT sector.”
“We just want to make sure young women are aware of the opportunities that exist in ICT so they can make informed decisions on their future careers,” says
Grant. “With the current state of our industry, we need more skilled labour to grow and improve New Brunswick's overall economy.”
“The ICT industry offers so much opportunity and flexibility,” says Grant. “For example, you can pursue the business side as a business analyst or focus on the technology as a software programmer as you move through your career.”
Grant also notes that you're exposed to different industries as an ICT worker because information communication technology serves a need for business and is integrated in our everyday lives.
“Over the course of my career, I've worked with various companies such as those that train fighter pilots to selling pharmaceuticals to organizations that provide social housing,” says Grant. “It's never boring – it's not just about technology, it's about the business you're serving.”
Grant hopes the group will help grow the number of women entering and staying in ICT.
For more information and to connect with NB Women in ICT, join the group on LinkedIn “NB Women in ICT” or subscribe to the group's e-newsletter by emailing Darcy.Grant@ambirsolutions.com .
Information and Communications Technology Council
Canadian Coalition for Tomorrow's ICT Skills (CCICT)
Outlook for Human Resources in the ICT Labour Market, 2011–2016
New Brunswick Information Technology Council