So you’re studying IT?

It’s one of the fastest growing industries in the world. Yet the information technology sector is dominated by men at just about every level.

The vast majority of chief information officers in Australia, executives at the peak of their careers, are male. In fact, women make up just 20 per cent of the total ICT workforce in Australia, compared to 45 per cent in all occupations. This low number of women is even hampering the supply of skills in the Australian IT sector.

And despite more than 50 years of technological innovation, many women still believe technology careers are for socially-awkward, geeky males in dark rooms fixing computers.

The reality, however, could not be more different. In an age of social networking, mobile apps, and the emergence of companies like Google and Facebook that have literally changed the way people interact and learn – the tech sector is more exciting than ever.

But will this level of excitement and innovation attract more women to the industry? It just might as more women seem to be pursuing careers in IT. This year, 52 per cent of students studying IT at the University of New South Wales (UNSW) are women. This compares to 51 per cent in 2012 and 52 per cent in 2011 – numbers that were unheard of 20 years ago.

In the first group interview below, Jasmine Chau, Jenny Yang and Michelle Tandjung, who are studying IT at UNSW, provide insights into what drove them to pursue a career in technology, how to best close the gender gap, and why working in IT is a wise choice.

Jasmine is working as an analyst at Origin Energy while studying, Jenny is an information security analyst at Westpac ISG, and Michelle is an analyst at Deloitte.