TEENAGE girls and teachers at Belfast Metropolitan College’s first female-focussed IT summer camp have been gaining career inspiration from high flying female software developers at Belfast-based tech firm TotalMobile.
The 60 girls, aged from 15 to 18 from across Northern Ireland and around 20 teachers and lecturers in IT-related subjects, are attending the Belfast IT Girls event, a digital skills summer camp, which runs all week.
Students are learning about building apps, websites and learning about PCs as well as networking while female teachers and lecturers are undertaking a C# course which will support them in teaching programming in the classroom.
Among the speakers were Karen Hull, Principal Software Tester and Gillian Noble, Senior Lead Software Developer at TotalMobile, which provides innovative software solutions to revolutionise the way frontline healthcare staff work.
The women spoke about their own journeys into the IT industry and how the company, which has much higher levels of female software development staff than the Northern Ireland average, has supported them in their careers.
TotalMobile, one of sponsors of the Belfast IT Girls event, is also providing mentoring to students and teachers.
Karen Hull said: “Since joining TotalMobile over 14 years ago I’ve moved through the ranks from software tester and test lead to become one of the company’s two principal software testers.
“Although it’s still a fairly male dominated industry, that is changing as the younger generation of women realise that working in IT can be a very challenging and rewarding career and one in which many more exciting opportunities will be created in the coming years.
“After all the first ever computer programmer was a female – Ada Lovelace in the 1980s!”
Jonathan Heggarty, Belfast Met’s Head of School of Electronic and Computing Technologies, said: “The Belfast IT Girls camp is a great opportunity for learners and teachers to hear about the diverse range of IT careers and develop important skills for themselves. Belfast Met are grateful for the support of TotalMobile and a range of other IT company sponsors and organisations including DEL, CCEA and Invest NI, without whom this camp could not take place.”
TotalMobile is also a sponsor of CoderDojo Belfast, a youth coding club founded and run by Belfast Met at its Titanic Quarter Campus.