Recently around the office we’ve been talking about the increasing role of women in most areas of information technology (IT). I’ve had the pleasure to know and work with excellent database administrators (DBAs) and application programmers, as well as IT managers and executives—both women and men. Of course, as a business intelligence (BI) analyst I quickly got hooked on the idea of developing a data-based perspective of the role women play in the BI space: What are women working on in the BI space? Do any patterns emerge in terms of whether they are doing data visualization, coding, data warehouses, etc.?
I’m now working on preparing a special report on the role that women play in the development and evolution of the BI space.
When I started researching the matter I came across a post from Jen Stirrup in regard to the role of women in IT. To summarize her position she writes, “I disagree with the idea of tailoring IT recruitment services towards women. Recruitment should be about skills.”
While I agree with Jen—we should forget about gender when it comes to hiring BI professionals and take into account only their abilities, knowledge, and experience—I think it is a fact of life that women and men think differently. They address problems from different perspectives and, in the BI arena, where solving problems and enabling decision-making is key, these differences may be a factor. Do women and men approach BI differently? How are women and men distributed throughout the BI space and do they enjoy success within those areas? What is their role in decision-making?
Some more basic issues: Are women pursuing BI as a career? Are there still some impediments to women’s development in the BI space? How do women in BI feel about their salaries?
We don’t know how recruitment strategies targeting women for IT roles are formulated, or if they’re successful. The truth is we don’t know how many women are in BI, how much experience they have, how they got there.
Well, if we don’t have the facts and figures, let’s find them out. We’ll be publishing a survey soon. Please follow us through the research process—your contributions and insight are valuable to us.
Finally, my fellow analysts and our editors are arguing over the value of the term “data geekette,” and whether it’s one we should use. What do you think?
Tell us a little more about yourself in the comments below. What’s the gender balance like where you work? What type of BI-related job are you involved with (analytics and reporting, data mining and forecasting, business performance management, technical support, etc.)? Do you think women and men do BI differently?
I’ll be interested in the results. I’m tired of women being the minority at conferences, meetings and sales kickoffs - this is a great field for women!
I am a women in IT, started as a Developer and now more as a Business Analyst and soon I will start also in the BI career.
This is an interesting topic. Men and women do think differently and their combined strengths can be powerful - so seeing more women in the field is a huge plus.
I have been a woman in IT or over 15 years, the last 6 as a contractor effectively ‘on the market’ every 6 months. I would be insulted if I was recruited based on my gender and not my skills!
First of all, thank you for your comments.
I agree with you that at conferences, there still a majority of men within both audience and presenters. This was part of the motivation for this special report.
Still, just from my own view based on my years of experience in the Bi field, I’ve seen an increasing number of women arriving into the BI space.
By the other hand, following are references to blogs and papers from some influential women in the BI and Data Management space -this is by no means a complete list- that you can follow, if you don’t know about them already:
- Claudia Imhoff
- Jill Dyché
- Cindy Howson
- Laura L. Reeves
- Larissa T. Moss
Glad to know you will start in this both challenging and rewarding space. Please feel free to use the links above to start having great insights from experts on BI.
Thank you for putting things in that perspective, we should always look for combination of strengths, and seeing more women in the BI field will always be a plus.
Taking the same position from above. I agree with Jen’s post and with you that ideally gender should make no difference.
Still, is interesting that positions in BI as well as other areas of IT are still predominantly occupied by men.
With no intention to make a statement on this regard. We want to show some facts over the type of role they are playing in the data management and BI fields, let our audience to know these facts and why not, maybe encourage more women to jump in to the BI/DM wagon…
Again, thank you for you comments and I hope you will like the report.