Many people still think that women and IT are about as compatible as fire and ice – either because they associate IT with introverted nerds who hardly ever emerge from behind their computers or because they are convinced that women have no idea about computing. Although such prejudices really are outdated, women still tend to be in the minority in the IT sector. Clearly it’s time to change that.
First, a few words about me: my name is Katja and I’m 20. I come from Cologne and I feel at home at Bayer, the innovation company headquartered in Leverkusen. I started the WIN program at Bayer in September 2014. This program comprises a vocational training course in IT with a special focus on applications development and a degree in business studies with IT, specializing in IT consulting.
So why did I choose IT? I can tell you exactly why – because I’ve been asked that question so many times in the past two years. Although attitudes have changed greatly over the years, there are still people who do not expect to come across a woman working in IT. Up to now, they have always been pleasantly surprised. All the Bayer employees I have met so far have been happy to deal with a female member of the IT team for a change. The reason I chose IT is really simple. I wanted to do a degree after leaving school but I also wanted to be independent and earn my own living. That’s why I opted for a combined vocational training and degree course. The WIN program caught my attention because I had always been interested in technology but had never really gone into it properly. I felt it was time to change that. Added to this, the combination of IT with business studies was exactly right for me because I was not expected to have any prior knowledge of computer science. As a newcomer to the field, I would not have felt confident about a course with a pure IT focus – especially when I met my fellow apprentices who knew a lot more about it than I did. However, that should not prevent anyone giving it a go. 🙂
It was the start of an exciting and occasionally uncertain time for me, because in many respects I had no idea what lay ahead. For example, I would never have dreamed that during my training I would work in HR Marketing at Bayer. During my time with the department, I accompanied my colleagues to CeBIT in Hanover, the world’s biggest IT exhibition, to present Bayer as an employer. As well this introduction to trade shows, I had an opportunity to support the innovation project #BAYER360 – the Virtual Reality Career Experience. And that was only part of the experience I gained during my time in the University & Talent Relations team.
My main duty was assisting the online marketing team. That comprised providing support for Bayer’s employer website www.karriere.bayer.de/en. I also contributed to several creative campaigns run by the Bayer careers team on social media such as Instagram. These were developed in collaboration with an intern called Anne. My creativity was challenged and we had a lot of fun implementing our ideas. For example, we congratulated Enactus on its fifth anniversary, made a stop-motion video for the Theory to Practice internship and posed briefly as a panda and a unicorn at Sticks & Stones in Berlin. As I have already mentioned, it was a really exciting time – and it was only one of the six assignments that form part of the WIN program at Bayer.
What about you? Would you have imagined that being part of an IT with business studies course? As you can see, my future at Bayer will not be boring and I’m looking forward to more exciting experiences because there are so many different areas of the company that need the assistance of people with a background in business and IT.
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