It’s no secret that today’s information technology (IT) sector is booming. Over the next 10 years, the field is projected to add more than 500,000 jobs in the U.S. alone. Yet despite that, women account for only about 26 percent of the IT workforce, according to the National Center for Women and Information Technology.
At Harvard, 35 percent of women make up the IT workforce, based on 2019 statistics provided by Harvard Women in Technology + Allies (HarvardWIT+).
Working to increase that number is a staff-led community of volunteers from the Harvard Women in Technology + Allies Mentoring Program, an initiative of the broader HarvardWIT+ organization.
Launched in 2018, the mentoring program began as a pilot after receiving money from the President’s Administrative Innovation Fund. At its core, the program’s objective is to make Harvard a more engaged and inclusive community by increasing retention and promotion of those in IT roles, providing coaching and career-development tools, and empowering members in their workspace.
The pilot graduated 20 pairs of mentors and mentees across 16 different Harvard units this past May, and is continuing with the support of University CIO Anne Margulies and Harvard University IT (HUIT).
The mentoring program sought additional mentors and mentees at the beginning of the academic year and paired them based on targeted questions in the applications. A second cohort was accepted in October and will meet for the first time on Wednesday.
“The program had some immediate tangible results, with two of our mentees receiving promotions and giving credit to the support and encouragement of their mentors,” said Donna Tremonte, HarvardWIT+ founder and IT service delivery lead and engagement manager for the Harvard Kennedy School. “Mentorship is key to career advancement, and HarvardWIT+ is glad to facilitate these connections across the University.”