ICT careers without gender boundaries: the influence of National Future Career Day

ICT careers without gender boundaries: the influence of National Future Career Day

National Future Career Day, which takes place on the second Thursday in November, is always a special annual event in Switzerland. We explore the question of how it can help contribute to greater diversity in the world of ICT.

Sebastian Rosa Sebastian Rosa · Social Media & Content Manager

Most Swiss people are probably familiar with National Future Career Day. But what exactly is the aim of this event?

Information and communication technology (ICT) continues to play a central role in our modern society and has undergone an astonishing transformation at the same time. Nevertheless, one area remains where there is still some progress to be made – gender diversity. There is still considerable disparity between the proportion of women and men in the IT industry.

The Swiss ICT Vocational Education and Training Association estimates that there will be a shortage of around 38,700 IT specialists by 2030. If the potential offered by the female workforce were to be harnessed, this shortage of urgently needed skilled workers could be remedied.

The proportion of women in the Swiss IT industry was only 18% in 2021. (Source: Eurostat)

This is where National Future Career Day is important.

This unique day is all about broadening horizons and breaking down gender stereotypes in a professional context. On this day, companies open their doors to inquisitive young schoolchildren in years five to seven. The aim is to familiarize the children with professions in which the opposite sex still makes up the majority of employees.

National Future Career Day originated as “National Daughter’s Day” and was first started in 2001 by the Swiss Conference of Equal Opportunities Officers. In 2023, 2,479 companies and educational organizations with 11,490 project places for special projects took part in this day, although the actual number may be much higher as registration was optional.

Taking a closer look at the ICT sector from a new perspective, National Future Career Day empowers girls and women, as key players, to carve out their professional futures with confidence. Today, the successful event is a project with several participating cantons and which is financially supported by the State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation (SERI).

What is Future Career Day like at Hostpoint?

Hostpoint is also taking part in the event with a day program to inspire school girls and familiarize them with our work. The day begins with a brief welcome round led by Franziska and Ayse from the First Level Support. There, we introduce ourselves as a company and discover what skills our female visitors bring to the IT sphere.

At a past Future Career Day, we were quite amazed when a 10-year-old girl was already proficient in using the Python programming language as a hobby.

After a tour of our premises, including a visit to our Customer Care team, we recharge our batteries over lunch before starting on the project of the day – their own website.

With our Sites application, you can effortlessly build your own website, even without any programming expertise.

The young experts have shown on many occasions how fast they can create their own unique website, including design and contact form, using our website builder Sites. These creations are then proudly presented to the group at the end of the day.

Do you need a university degree in the ICT sector?

The domain of information technology is often perceived as complex due to its enormous variety of topics and professions, which can lead to the false assumption that a top level professional qualification is a requirement to enter the field.

However, this is not necessarily the case, as demonstrated by various Hostpoint employees.

Domenica is a team leader in Tech Support and changed careers from another field. Originally trained in the commercial sector, she started in first-level support in 2012. Over the years, she has acquired an enormous amount of knowledge about Hostpoint’s products, which has enabled her to provide the best assistance to both customers and her own team with any issues they face.

In second-level support, Stefanie is always ready to find solutions to even the most challenging problems that our customers have. Her passion began in early childhood, when she was surfing through the first waves of the internet from home with a 56k modem, later discovering a new hobby in website design. At the local PC store, she found a part-time job, which later evolved into an apprenticeship as an “Information and Telecommunications Systems Electronics Technician” right after completing her schooling.

This path ultimately brought her to Hostpoint in 2015, where she has been supporting our customers and assisting us with her expertise ever since.

Lara’s enthusiasm for computer technology began with her first PC at home, which is why she decided to train as a systems engineer after finishing school. She started in technical support at Hostpoint, and then snapped up the opportunity to join the exciting Abuse Desk Department and support customers in the event of incidents, preventing them where possible.

If a customer suddenly receives a lot of e-mails from their own website, Lara will inspect the matter and determine the cause. Is it a mistake, spam or even phishing?

Like a detective, she investigates each case and tries to gain an understanding of how and when the abuse took place. Once the problem has been resolved, the options available to prevent it from occurring in the future are checked.

As you can see, the background of our specialists could be an early-in-life passion for IT, or it could be that they’ve transitioned careers, moving from unrelated disciplines into the IT team. Irrespective of a Future Career Day as we know it today, they have successfully gained proactive experience via internships at companies.

Our training officer Daniel also emphasizes that there is no set path for people looking to enter the exciting and diverse tech industry.

Daniel Ilg · Team Leader System Operations “The most important qualities needed in our industry are enthusiasm to learn and a high degree of flexibility, as technologies are developing at a rapid pace.”

For many of our employees, this is also what makes their job appealing to them. They are constantly faced with new challenges in their everyday work, must develop solutions and acquire new knowledge on a wide range of topics along the way.

Advice from our female IT experts to young girls

We asked our female experts what advice they would give to young girls who are interested in a career in IT.

Lara advises to be curious while making the most of various opportunities, such as attending Future Career Days, open house events, or internships.

Stefanie even offers a rough guide for the different directions that can be taken depending on existing – or as yet undiscovered – interests. If you enjoy working with complex systems, a position in system engineering could be the right choice for you. If you prefer to be in contact with people, customer support offers many opportunities to assist grateful customers with their issues. Yet, in a more traditional sense, programming in software development can be intriguing as well!

Domenica summarizes it perfectly in conclusion when saying:

Domenica Panteghini · Team Leader Support “Just do it! Believe in yourself, you got this!”

National Future Career Day is an invitation to break through gender stereotypes and explore new horizons in the IT industry. This day demonstrates that people no longer need to follow archaic rules and can instead be brave enough to forge their own paths.

At the same time, the event provides an opportunity for companies to both reduce the number of obstacles for people entering the world of technical work and to create entry-level opportunities in regions where there are few ICT companies.

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