Tech is king and soft skills matter

These are just two of the key findings of the recently published, “LinkedIn 2017 U.S. Emerging Jobs Report”. Not at all surprising. The report is worth checking out regardless of where you are at in your canstock 121417 tech is king and soft skills mattercareer. As I always tell people, be open to the possibilities.

The report notes the estimate that 65% of children entering primary school today will ultimately hold jobs that don’t yet exist. Just think back to what your options were when you started primary school.

I know as a young girl in the 60’s, it seemed like teacher or nurse were the options. My sister did become a nurse and then went on to get a master’s degree in public health. By the time she retired a few years ago, she had run many of the state health departments in Minnesota at one time or another. I wanted to be a math teacher when I was young. Instead I found my path to computer programming in the early 80’s when the field was starting to really explode. Here I am today having served several healthcare organizations as their Chief Information Officer before starting a health IT advisory firm.

Back to the “tech is king” finding. The report says that the top emerging jobs are machine learning engineer, data scientist, and big data engineers in a wide range of industries.  It also notes that there are currently 1,600 open roles for machine learning engineer in the U.S.

The report also found that there is a low supply of talent for top jobs. For example, data scientist roles have grown over 650% in the past 5 years but only 35,000 people in the U.S. currently have data science skills. Any CIO looking to build out the analytics capability for their organization is probably all too aware of this gap. Continue reading

STEM gift ideas for 2017

Black Friday and Cyber Monday are here. Millions will be spent in the next few days on holiday presents for kids.  A few weeks ago, I asked for STEM gift suggestions and promised I would create an updated listcanstockphoto36568604 STEM if I heard from enough of you. And I did, so I am. Here goes:

Babies and Preschoolers

Hilary Graham suggested plush microbes from ThinkGeek. Hilary and Marianne Mara both noted that author Chris Ferrie has a series of science themed board books for babies.

Another blog subscriber said they bought their 3-year-old the Fisher Price Code-a-Pillar for his birthday and that he really likes it.

Vicki Davis, from Healthcare IT Leaders, won the prize for the most suggestions and the most detail. She said she wished that she was a little girl again so she could play and learn with these amazing toys. She provided age range, costs, and where to buy each item – her complete and detailed list is in the comments on my previous post. I’ve broken it out by age groups here.

Learning Resources Gears! Gears! Gears! Super Set lets budding inventors create whatever they want with a colorful set of interchangeable gears. Children learn about complex systems and creative problem solving.

GoldieBlox has construction toy and storybook sets that feature a girl engineer character. These have been award winning products.

My daughter, Ann, with a “hint, hint” in her comment said the Classic Builder Pink Set from Baby First looks like hours of fun. The hint is for either an upcoming birthday or Christmas present for my grandkids.

Elementary School

My StarBridge Advisors colleague, David Muntz, said his wife is giving their 8-year-old granddaughter a coding camp experience. Sounds like fun to me!!

Jennifer Dennard, founder of #healthitchicks, is a leading proponent of developing women in IT. She said she will be purchasing Ozobots for her entire family. These little robots teach kids to code in creative ways. Both of her daughters use them in their respective STEM classes in elementary and middle school. Even her husband has said he’d like a few to play with! Continue reading

WANTED: STEM gift ideas for kids

November 8th was National STEM Day. A great way to raise awareness about the need for STEM education. But we need more than one day to remind us of the importance of STEM education. Especiallycanstockphoto36568604 STEM for girls. The number of women in STEM fields continues to lag men. My current favorite TV commercial is the GE one with Molly the young inventor – great inspiration! 

I’m a firm believer that you need to create an interest in science and encourage children, in particular girls, starting at a young age. There are many ways to do this. The choice of toys, games, and books is just one of them.

The holiday season and gift buying is ahead of us. In my case, it’s not just the holidays but it’s also two birthdays. I’ve been asking my daughters what to get for my soon to be 3 and 5-year-old granddaughters for their birthdays. The soon to be 3-year-old is consistent in her answer no matter who asks – a red motorized toy car so she can drive her younger brother around the yard. The soon to be 5-year-old answered a My Little Pony or Hello Kitty toy set. For Christmas last year, we bought her several months subscription to Koala Crate, an activity kit for kids age 3-4. She loved it and her parents continued the subscription.

I’m committed to finding some educational toys for them for either their birthdays or holidays so I’ll be checking out the STEM section of the local toy store again this year.

When I started writing and speaking on women in technology a few years ago, I put together a list of STEM toys for different ages. This was done with the help of one of my staff who had two young daughters and shared my passion about STEM education. I know this list needs updating and I could use your help.

So here’s my ask – take a look at my STEM for the holidays blog post from back then and send me your more current suggestions via a comment so I can share with all my readers. Think all ages from toddlers through high school. If I get enough new suggestions, I’ll create an updated list to share before the holidays. Thanks in advance for your help!!

Related posts:

STEM for the holidays

Yes you can: encouraging girls to pursue IT careers

Technology, where are all the women?

Learn from history but look to the future

Michigan Council of Women in Technology (MCWT) and #healthITchicks are two initiatives that focus on developing women in technology. As National Women’s History Month ends, I want to profile Women around CR tabletwo leaders who are committed to developing women in IT through these groups. Leaders who inspire others.

Jennifer Dennard founded the #healthITchicks community several years ago.  I asked her why she decided to start it, and she said, “I felt that women working in healthcare technology needed a dedicated social media space where they could network, learn, advise, and ultimately harness the tremendous energy and expertise they have in a way that would be beneficial to us all.”

Lofty as that sounds, she admits it may have been shortsighted.  She believes that, the women (and men) who have joined have helped the #healthITchicks community blossom into truly a force for good. So what have they accomplished?

The network has grown to over 550 people, and the hashtag has taken on a life all its own. Her efforts have provided a springboard to the many conversations about women working in health IT and technology at large.  Continue reading

Women’s History Month, not exactly a Hallmark card event!

It is the beginning of National Women’s History Month. It has been celebrated since 1987 but has its roots in International Women’s Day (March 8th)  which started in 1911. The National Women’s History Week canstockphoto35399887 herstorywas first declared by President Jimmy Carter in 1980.

This year’s theme is “Honoring Trailblazing Women in Labor and Business”. Last year’s theme was “Working to Form a More Perfect Union: Honoring Women in Public Service and Government”.

I doubt there are any greeting cards at the store to celebrate this month. But who needs a corny card. Women just want to be paid equally, afforded the same opportunities as men and recognized for their contributions in all aspects of life.

With the 2017 theme focused on business, you can learn more about the women being recognized this year at the National Women’s History Project.

They include:

  • Barbara Hackman Franklin, former Secretary of Commerce under President George H.W. Bush who served five presidents in various roles and led efforts to increase the number of women in government.
  • Alexis Herman, first African American to serve as Secretary of Labor and who led the effort to institute a global child labor standard. She also launched an aggressive initiative to help unemployed youth.
  • Lilly Ledbetter, equal pay activist whose long fight is reflected in the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act signed by President Obama in 2009.
  • Barbara “Dusty” Roads, flight attendants union leader who fought against the airline industry’s sexist working conditions and regulations in the 1950s and 1960s.
  • Norma Yaeger, first woman stockbroker to be permitted on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in the 1960s.

With my career focus on technology within healthcare, I want to highlight some women in technology and science I’ve learned about recently. Continue reading

Yes we can: women in health IT

Think about the little girls you know. Did they get even more dolls for holiday gifts? Or did they get toys and games that teach creative thinking and how to build things? Or did they maybe even get toys officiallycanstockphoto36568604 STEM labeled in the STEM category?

Social norms start young. I recently played a match game with my two-year-old granddaughter. When we matched the truck picture, she took it over to her 6-month-old baby brother as though it was his domain! This granddaughter and her two-year-old girl cousin have a variety of developmental toys. But when it’s free play, they are often clutching one of their dolls, whether it’s Princess Sofia the First or the newest Disney Princess Elena of Avalor. At least these characters are both confident, strong and compassionate princesses!

My four-year-old granddaughter isn’t as attached to dolls these days. After a break, she is back in dance class, my birthday gift to her. I know she loves it.  At Christmas, with her mother’s advice, I gave her 3 months of Koala Crate – a creative, educational activity box for 3-5 year olds. She loved the first box – making stuffed reptiles and learning about them.

You may be saying it’s all about exposing kids to a lot of different things. I agree. But it’s important to not fall into the gender norms when they are young.

Let’s fast forward from my 3 little granddaughters to some of the female leaders in our health IT industry. Continue reading

Lift up women and you lift up everyone

History was made this week. For the first time, a woman was nominated by a major party for President of the United States. Nearly 100 years after women won the right to vote and 240 years after the founding ofcanstockphoto4392904 our country, Hillary Clinton has broken this barrier. Did you hear the glass breaking? I did and it was music to my ears.

Across this country, women have proven they can do anything a man can do in any field. Yet women lag behind in pay, in executive roles and are poorly represented in fields like technology. In a longitudinal salary assessment, HIMSS found that women’s share of health IT salaries for comparable jobs is smaller than it was ten years ago. That means we are losing ground!

I’ve written and spoken about this and will continue to do so. As I was quoted in a recent article, Removing the Glass Ceiling in Health IT, we need to be open about this problem. Naming a problem is the beginning of addressing it. I could sit back quietly but I won’t. I owe it to the next generation of women, my daughters and my granddaughters to speak up. I was influenced by the women’s movement of the 1970’s, so I know that if we don’t speak up, we will never make the changes we need.

At last year’s Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day, I was greeted by a 10-year-old boy with, “I thought only men were managers”. Continue reading

Equal pay, who can argue?

My mother had to go to work to support four children after my father died from cancer. I was active in the women’s movement in my college years. So, I can’t imagine women not having a career outside the homecanstockphoto6033421 if they so choose or if they have to support themselves and their families.

Although I was very interested in math growing up, I got into IT somewhat by accident; I had wanted to be a math teacher. But in the late 70’s the field of computer science was exploding and there was an easy entry path. I went to a technical school and got a certificate in programming.  I learned to code in 7 different languages. I doubt that any of them are still remotely useful.  I didn’t work as a programmer for long but stayed on the IT path. I worked as an analyst for a while and then moved into management in 1984.

Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day (TODASTW) is coming up soon – April 28th. Last year, we had a very successful event at University of Michigan Health System and I’m hoping they are doing it again even bigger and better this year.  I’ve learned that we don’t do any TODASTW programs at UH. With everything else on my plate, I wasn’t going to try to start it in our IT department.

Technology is a significant part of our future – as workers and consumers. Technology jobs are some of the highest paying jobs. Continue reading

STEM for the holidays

GiftboxI keep my distance from the huge crowds shopping on Black Friday. And Cyber Monday comes way too soon for me. I usually wait until mid-December to actually do any gift shopping. The one gift I decide on early is the “perfect” book for everyone on my leadership team – a tradition I’ve had since my first CIO position. But I know that most people try to get a very early start.

I am committed to encouraging girls to pursue careers in STEM fields. I have spoken on women and technology to several different audiences over the past year, including keynoting at the Michigan Council of Women in Technology annual Executive Connection Summit in May. One part of my talk includes ideas for gifts starting with the very littlest ones through high school to encourage an interest in technology.

If you have any children on your gift list this year, consider some of these ideas that my staff specialist, Chris Greene, and I have found as we gathered information for the talk this past year: Continue reading

Women and technology, part 2

I had the chance to deliver the opening keynote talk at the NG HealthCare US Summit two weeks ago. I was to fit a 20 minute talk between the salad and the entree at a dinner. The summit organizers said I could talk about whatever topic I wanted; I just had to be inspiring.

I titled my talk: “Our Future Workforce – Unlocking the Potential”. As I posed the problem in a recent post “Technology, where are all the women?,” I talked about the fact that not enough women are going into STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) fields. I have been particularly concerned with the drop in women entering computer related fields.

Why does this problem exist, what are some of the programs that are helping address it, and what can IT leaders do about it?

The IT leadership conference where I was speaking was about 75-80% men, so I thought there might be a risk with this angle on the future workforce. I am happy to say the talk was very well received.

Afterwards, men talked to me about their daughters – whether they are in college studying in a STEM field or in grade school interested in computers and robots. Women told me about their own Continue reading