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IWD 2024: How project management can be the ideal entry point into an exciting industry
Fri, 8th Mar 2024

The ICT sector may be male-dominated, but there are plenty of opportunities for ambitious women to get in and make their mark.

Want to hear about interesting, well-paid work that can be flexible enough to accommodate the juggle that’s part and parcel of having both family and career?

Yes, you read that right. The dream is real, at least for individuals who have the good fortune to work in ICT project management in Australia, in 2024.

Together, we’ve been doing so for a collective 31 years and counting. Gaining experience in a range of service provider settings before landing at Atturra, an IT advisory and solutions organisation that supports more than 700 clients across a range of industries.

The daily round 

It’s the optimum role for those of us who thrive on variety in our professional lives. Every project is different, and so is every day.

Finishing an assignment is enormously fulfilling – knowing that you and your team have delivered a solution that’s enabled another business to reduce its costs, operate more productively or expand its operations into new markets.

Very often, though, the path to successful completion is filled with pitfalls. Sidestepping them and finding workable solutions that are satisfactory to all stakeholders can be a challenging exercise, but it’s an immensely rewarding feeling when a resolution is reached.

Getting started

While formal qualifications in ICT can be helpful in our game, they’re far from essential. Client focus, confidence, the ability to collaborate, problem solve and manage conflict, and a decent dash of business acumen are important. 

So is the willingness to start at the bottom and work one’s way up, learning about every aspect of the process as you go.

There is much to be gained from working with the experienced individuals in the industry, and in actively learning through the course of project work.

Confronting the gender imbalance 

As a woman in ICT project management, you also need to be comfortable with the fact that, more often than not, you’ll be the only female on the team. Often responsible for overseeing an all-male contingent of software engineers and technical consultants.

While around 31% of jobs in the technology sector are now held by women, according to the Australian Computer Society’s 2022 Digital Pulse report, many of those roles are in administration and logistics roles rather than in technical and project services. 

Perhaps it’s just luck, but that gender imbalance has never been overly problematic. Yes, there have been instances where females have probably wondered whether our word would carry more weight if we’d been carrying Y chromosomes, but knowing their stuff and being prepared to stand their ground has helped overcome such challenges.

Support from the top

Personally, we’ve been fortunate enough to have had the wholehearted support of – primarily male –senior leaders.

Both at Atturra and in earlier roles, we’ve both worked for managers and leaders who’ve demonstrated inclusivity. They’ve afforded us the flexibility to adopt hybrid working models (long before Covid made it de rigueur) and trusted that we’d manage our work, colleagues and clients in ways that work for both us and the organisation. 

And they viewed pregnancies and caring responsibilities as part of the package, not the impediments to career progression that they once were.

Being supported and included in this way has been encouraging and empowering, and it’s certainly kept us engaged and motivated to do our very best work. 

An excellent entry to ICT

It’s likely other women have had similarly positive experiences, given there’s no shortage of us working in this space. Atturra’s Managed Services Canberra-based team, for example, is all female, and our gender is strongly represented in the project management function right around the country. 

As we prepare to celebrate International Women’s Day 2024, we couldn’t be happier to share this good news story of inclusion in a sector that, historically, was less than welcoming for women, and we look forward to welcoming more high achievers into our ranks. From where we sit, there’s no better place to be for women who want to make their mark and make a difference in the ICT world.