Girls into Tech

In May 2017 we took the Kiwi Innovator Gareth Cronin, an executive of NZ’s biggest IT export company Xero, to several schools in Whangarei. Gareth discussed the need for more IT talent to come from regions like Northland. He also stressed that we need many more girls getting into exciting technology careers.


Information Technology or IT is more than hard core coding day & night, it is about being creative, developing new things, digitizing processes that have been tiring & cumbersome and creating beautiful solutions which improve lives.

IT could be human machine interface design, how a user is guided through an application. IT could be business analysis, this is identifying real needs of real users and documenting them, so that technical people can turn those needs into well working software solutions. IT could be testing software which is being developed. I used to be a tester for many years and found that testing gives you an awesome insight into how integrated systems work. I managed Telecom NZ’s National Faults software system and learned how the engineers are solving telephone line faults, how they document the defects, how they trouble shoot and find solutions to the end user (Your) problem and how the system learns and retains that knowledge for the next, similar situation. As a tester I learned a lot about the business, the user, the technical solution and of course about IT.

Fig: current Tai Tokerau business model (food & logs) vs. software model

In NZ we are short of more than 1,500 IT people. At present we need to find this talent by attracting immigrants to NZ’s high tech companies. How much cooler would it be if we get more Kiwi Ninjas who can solve these challenges and huge opportunities? And then, how much better would it be if we can get more girls into tech… Often girls are more diligent than us, often distracted, boys. Girls typically are more creative and think outside the box. Girls are good at problem solving and decision making. Most girls are much better team players, can collaborate with diverse groups of people and have more emotional IQ than most boys. At least, than I have.

So, girls, you have a much better base to start off with than we boys.

Ah, and the other cool thing about IT is the fact, that you don’t have to work full time all the time. If you have a project you want to look after, you can reduce your hours, work remotely from home, but still be involved in the work and earning process. With fast speed internet and modern technology, you can be an IT person living in Kerikeri, Ahipara or Coopers Beach and you can produce IT solutions for people in Tokyio, Bejing, Melbourne, New York, Berlin or London. How cool would that be? I don’t know of any other job in Northland, where you could have that financial earning potential and flexibility.


NZ CIO summit – women in Tech

So what are you waiting for, please consider a career in NZ IT.

Imagine developing the next interactive game at Sidhe, send RocketLab‘s rockets into space, develop Xero‘s beautiful accounting software, or  Orion Health‘s solutions to safe lives, guide vehicles around town, allow blind people to read and listen, use brain waves to drive control systems at ThougtWire, power most mobile phones location based services at Rakon, develop health care solutions at F&P Healthcare, or develop drugs to cure people at Douglas. There are many more existing options and even more for you to start yourself as an IT entrepreneur.

Last, but not least, in IT jobs you will likely to earn more money than in any other job in the country, including a senior management role at a local company.


Please consider a career in IT rather than becoming a farmer, accountant or lawyer. Tai Tokerau needs more knowledge workers & innovators to maintain and grow our economic wealth.


Fig: Ten types of innovation (Doblin, 2017)

References/ Further Readings

Women in Tech Meetup, Auckland

NZH Canvas (12/05/18) – Women only Fund

Check out my ex-bosses‘  Theresa Gattung new venture ShEO. What a cool business model? This is the same rational why Muhammad Yunus‘ Graemen Bank is only giving micro credits to women. Most women look after their whanua well, whilst men often squander funds and are less reliable to look after their family.

NZH (01/05/17): Woman in Tech – Why industry needs to fix its gender gap


If you have any questions, comments or disagree, please get in touch. We like to start the dialogue.


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