University selected for program targeted at women in computer science

University selected for program targeted at women in computer science

HOUGHTON — A national organization is committed to inspiring young women to enter the field of Computer Science and Michigan Tech is taking part in the effort.

Computer Science is still a male-dominated field but Michigan Tech is doing their part to change that. The university has once again been selected to participate in the Pacesetters program, designed to increase the number of women involved in computing.

Pacesetters is a group of 42 organizations that work with the National Center for Women and Information Technology. Ten years ago the number of women studying Computer Science at Michigan Tech was only about three to four percent. They have increased that number now to roughly 12 percent, but there is still a lot work to do, especially when it comes to reaching middle and high school students.

Michigan Tech Professor Computer Science Dr. Linda Ott said, “We’re faced with a situation that most students haven’t had the opportunity to learn anything about computer science. They may have used computing but they haven’t been part of creating new software, creating computing tools and things like that.”

With so many opportunities available, women could choose to work in almost any industry.

Ott said, “And there’s a wide range of kinds of jobs. You can do hardcore software development. You can do web design. You can do things related to human and computer interaction. You can work with robotics. You can work in a whole range of different kinds of opportunities—medical applications. It’s the whole world. The whole world is now computerized.”​

Another good reason for women to get a degree in Computer Science? The average starting salary for a Michigan Tech graduate is $75,000.