Technical Education Aided New IBM CEO

Lori Johnston | November 3, 2011

Take a look at the college degree held by Ginni Rometty, who will take over as IBM’s first-ever female CEO and president on Jan. 2, 2012, and you’ll see someone who committed in college to a career in technology. She earned her bachelor’s of science degree with high honors in computer science and electrical engineering from Northwestern University.

Technology is a job sector where more women are needed, and Rometty’s promotion reflects that companies are seeking female leaders with technical experience.

If you’re interested in working in the technology industry, don’t be intimidated by pursuing fields such as computer science while browsing college websites and course catalogs. While the technology field needs people in all types of roles, from human resources to public relations, leaders like Rometty reveal that focusing on science and technology from the onset can be rewarding.

But females are discouraged from technical education pursuits, Caroline Simard, vice president of research at the Anita Borg Institute for Women and Technology, recently told the New York Times. She said:

“Research shows that the majority of people have an implicit bias that associates science and technology with gender, so from a very young age, girls are not encouraged to pursue these careers. Women like Ginni Rometty are a powerful antidote against the stereotype.”

While IBM is a top global company, there are small- and mid-sized technology firms in your own town that need leaders, and by focusing on a technical education in computer science, software engineering, or other tech fields, you could position yourself to take on a leadership role and further help break the glass ceiling.

-Lori Johnston

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