It’s not every day we have the privilege of hosting 35 smart and determined high school students in our offices, but West Monroe did just that last Friday when a group from the summer immersion program at Girls Who Code joined us at our Seattle office.
The mission of Girls Who Code is simple: closing the gender gap in technology. Tech jobs are in high demand. By 2020, there will be 1.4 million jobs available in computing related fields, and while U.S. graduates are on track to fill 29% of those jobs, women are on track to fill just 3%. Girls Who Code provides after-school and summer programs to create supportive, structured environments that help maintain and grow girls’ skills in computing right at the age when studies show interest in STEM subjects tends to fade. The seven-week summer immersion program offers girls the opportunity to learn coding and get hands-on exposure to tech companies like West Monroe.
West Monroe’s mission is to develop the next generation of leaders, and we actively seek to include diversity of thoughts and perspectives on our teams to create innovative solutions and better serve our clients. That’s why we support organizations like Girls Who Code, which is doing vital work to ensure the pipeline of future tech talent is strong, skilled, and diverse.
While at West Monroe, the girls had the opportunity to learn about consulting as a viable STEM career path and hear from our Chief People Officer Susan Stelter on why Girls Who Code is important to our mission of building the next generation of leaders.
They also participated in two interactive workshops:
- A session about requirements gathering and creating user stories taught the girls how consultants work with a client to understand their needs and the needs of their users and stakeholders when implementing a new system or application.
- A hands-on coding exercise allowed the girls to use these skills in a real-world application—a ping pong scoring app! After all, an important part of West Monroe’s culture is having fun (and our white board scoring system is getting messy).
The day ended with a panel discussion with some of our technologist women: Bethany Ziegler and Nicole Ellis from the CRM team and Dalia Nayfeh from the Advanced Analytics practice. They discussed their own career journeys, advice for young women considering a career in technology and why they chose West Monroe Partners.
We were inspired by the girls’ willingness to jump in, do some hands-on work, and discuss their career aspirations. We can’t wait until they are in the workforce alongside us, helping us to transform business and our communities for the better!