CSUN Graduate Hopes to Bridge the Gender Gap in Technology Industry

Originally Posted on CSUN Today

By: Alex Crooks

The number of women working in the technology industry is far below the national average in other fields. While women held 57 percent of professional occupations in the United States workforce in 2015, they held only 25 percent of the occupations in professional computing, according to the National Center for Women & Information Technology. With this startling statistic in mind, companies are making a number of moves to create a more equal workforce.

Hardware giant Hewlett-Packard (HP) is leading this charge, and in collaboration with Applied Computer Security Associates and the Computing Research Association’s Committee on the Status of Women in Computing Research, created the Scholarship for Women Studying Information Security. Now in its third year of funding by HP, the scholarship program has supported 46 collegiate women working to join the industry.

One of these women is California State University, Northridge student Carrick Bartle. This is something of a new venture for Bartle, who graduated with a degree in English from the University of California, Berkeley in 2008 and worked as a legal assistant for a major studio.

However, Bartle awoke one day to find she had lost the desire to work in such a demanding industry, and she decided to pursue a career in computing. A San Fernando Valley native, Bartle returned home and began computer science classes at CSUN. She is extremely grateful for the opportunities that are now available to her thanks to the scholarship and thanks to CSUN.

“This scholarship supports women,” Bartle said. “It’s really tough to take on student loans, and scholarships like this really ease that burden. This career change for me, it’s a massive investment of time and money, and so this scholarship just really helps this whole process.”

Now armed with a wealth of knowledge from CSUN, Bartle will attend the University of California, San Diego in the fall to get her master’s degree in computer science, with a focus in applied cryptography. She hopes this will help her achieve her goal of eventually working as a security software engineer. Bartle also has some words of encouragement for anyone who is thinking about a career in computer technology.

“If they’re interested in doing it, they definitely should,” she said. “There are a lot of opportunities in this field, and it’s a fascinating one, too. It really has everything.”