Women in technology make up only about 24% of the jobs in the U.S.1 As a woman in information technology (IT), Norwalk Community College alumna Elizabeth Avery definitely realized she was a minority in her classes.“I was very aware of the fact that I was one of the only women in my computer classes,” she said.
Despite the gender gap, her hard work and perseverance have paid off and she has found a fulfilling career in IT.
Avery currently works for a small e-commerce company and loves it. “My work is unusual in that it is overarching,” said Avery. “I am involved in every system in the company, from programming the website, to overseeing the proprietary order and warehousing management systems.”
Avery actually began her academic career thinking she would go down a different path after earning a degree in Art History. But finding little success with jobs in the art world, she became frustrated with the limited career options. Realizing that computer technology offered more opportunities, she decided to look into it. “I was always interested in math and science in school and pretty good at math,” she explained.
Avery chose Norwalk Community College to get her start in an IT career, taking a couple of classes at a time. She found the experience rewarding. “I wouldn’t have a career in IT if I didn’t go to NCC,” said Avery.
“I got a really good foundation that I could work from, plus a network of teachers that encouraged me and provided opportunities to get involved in networking.”
One of those opportunities was taking part in coding challenges hosted by the Connecticut Technology Council to test her newfound computer skills.
Women in technology, like Grace Hopper, a pioneer of computer programming, helped create computer software as we know it. Avery encourages women who are good at math and science to stick with it and consider IT. “In the computer science field there are so many areas where you can contribute and many places where you can match your interests,” she said. “It’s such a big part of our everyday lives that you’re sure to find something out there interesting to work on.”
Her best advice to all the future young women in technology: “Don’t be afraid to take risks and chances. If you don’t try at all, you’ll have 100% chance of failure.”
Norwalk Community College
Norwalk Community College’s Computer Science Department provides students with an Associate of Science degree in Computer Science or Computer Security. This degree prepares students for a career in a variety of positions. In addition, students can take courses for a Certificate in Networking, Relational Database Development, Smartphone App Development and Web Development. For more information or to speak to a counselor, call the Admissions Office at (203) 857-6800.
1 U.S. Department of Commerce Economics and Statistics Administration, 2017