Suze Treacy

Suze Treacy

Systems implementation professional with 5+ years experience successfully implementing software solutions across multiple industries, including manufacturing, oil & gas and retail. Outgoing, detail-oriented and a fast learner, I am committed to achieving results which drive client goals and satisfaction.

Recent posts by Suze Treacy

4 min read

Why Upgrade Your Atlassian Stack?

By Suze Treacy on Apr 16, 2021 11:18:00 AM

Blogpost-display-image_Why Jira-Confluence upgrades are importantOne key component of managing your Atlassian products is managing their upgrades. Upgrades can present a daunting and significant time investment for many companies, generally involving apps, custom-developed plugins, and integrations, with a large number of users dependent on their success.

You know what upgrades are and that they're important. So why am I talking to you about them? Imagine the scenario, you're busy, you haven't had a chance to check in on the latest Atlassian security vulnerabilities and the emails you've received about them have been missed. You have also had higher priority work eating up team time, which has prevented the planning and execution of your Atlassian upgrades. One day, your instance comes under attack through one of the vulnerabilities exposed in the CVE. Your data is potentially exposed. An urgent, large, expensive, complex effort ensues in order to secure the instance; after 3 days, 2 full sweeps of the instance and multiple upgrades, the vulnerabilities are mitigated and your instance is safe.

Are you confident in when your applications are due an upgrade? Let's review a few common reasons why an upgrade may be recommended:

End of Life Policy

Once Atlassian has released a major feature version, it, and all iterations related to that major version, are supported for two years. After that, the versions are considered End of Life, and you will no longer receive support from Atlassian for any issues which arise. It is when reaching this point, that many people start considering upgrading their instances.

Security Vulnerabilities

Every Wednesday, Atlassian releases any new security vulnerabilities which have been identified for their server/data center products. These vulnerabilities include a security level, which is based on an Atlassian-calculated CVSS score for each vulnerability.

Severity Rating System followed by Atlassian:

Atlassian_severity_rating_system

Although there may be opportunities to mitigate security vulnerabilities in your current version, it is recommended to patch or upgrade immediately when a Critical vulnerability is identified. Vulnerabilities with a critical score generally result in root-level compromise or servers or infrastructure devices, or are straightforward to exploit.

Current security advisories can be found here:

https://www.atlassian.com/trust/security/advisories

New Functionality/Capabilities

Did you know that there is a new feature release for Jira Software every 6 weeks alone? Atlassian encourage users to submit bugs and feature requests at jira.atlassian.com. This public forum allows users to vote for and comment on submitted issues, and the Atlassian team utilize this and other feedback as a factor in their decision for what to implement next.  Platform releases contain the most significant changes, while Feature releases contain new features, changes to features, changes to supported platforms and removal of features. Feature releases can be designated as Enterprise releases, which, generally designated annually, are preferred for companies who need time to prepare for upgrades, but still want to receive critical bug fixes.

Compatibility with other Server Components

From time to time, Atlassian add and deprecate support for other server component platforms which work alongside your Atlassian application. For example, did you know that in Jira Software 8.6 and Jira Service Desk 4.6, support was added for PostgreSQL 10 and deprecated for Internet Explorer 11, whereas in Jira Software 8.8 and Jira Service Desk 4.8, support was deprecated for Microsoft SQL Server 2012 and PostgreSQL 9.4 & 9.5. To ensure optimal operation of your Atlassian instances, it's just as important to upgrade components of your server architecture, as well as your instances themselves.

Plugin Support

If you are one of the many teams who utilize plugins within their Atlassian applications, plugin compatibility and support is another area to be aware of when considering upgrades. Has support been deprecated for the plugin with the Atlassian version you're running? Is the plugin still supported when you upgrade to your target version? Atlassian have developed the Universal Plugin Manager, available in both Jira and Confluence, to enable you to screen for any compatibility problems prior to starting your upgrade. There are 4 categories for Compatibility which plugins can fall into - Incompatible (the plugin is not compatible with the target version), Compatible, Compatible if updated (the plugin is not currently compatible, but will be once running the compatible version), and Compatible once both are updated (the new version of the plugin isn't compatible with your current instance version - you need to upgrade your instance prior to updating the plugin).

Unable to Skip a Platform Release

When considering which version you'd like to upgrade to, it's important to consider your current version and your target version. When upgrading, it is not possible to skip a platform release - therefore, for example, when considering a Jira Software upgrade, it is not possible to jump from a 6.X release to the 8.X release and skip the 7.X release, you would need to take an intermediate step to upgrade to a 7.X version. Due to the functionality changes being much greater between platform releases which are not adjacently sequenced, there are more edge cases, and thus, greater risk, when navigating an upgrade spanning multi platform releases.

For assistance with upgrading your applications, partner with Praecipio Consulting's Managed Services team! Our team, fully dedicated to the Atlassian stack, offer peace of mind through managing, supporting, and maintaining your Atlassian tools, enabling you to maximize the benefits of your Atlassian applications while allowing your team to focus on their core roles. Working with our Managed Services team offers tribal knowledge and best practice from over 10 years working in the tools, allowing us to enable your Atlassian stack is optimized and operating at peak performance.

For more information on Managed Services, or anything else Atlassian related, contact us, and one of our experts will be glad to talk with you.

Topics: blog managed-services marketplace upgrade version-control-system atlassian-products marketplace-apps
3 min read

Tracking CSAT through Jira Service Management

By Suze Treacy on Apr 1, 2021 5:03:00 PM

Blogpost-display-image_How Jira Service Desk helps track CSATCustomer Satisfaction, or CSAT, is a customer experience metric measuring satisfaction with a product, service or support interaction. The metric is captured through a short simple survey to enable the customer to provide their feedback.

CSAT in Jira Service Management

Did you know that your customer feedback is collected by default within Jira Service Management Projects? This means that when an issue is resolved, the customer receives an email requesting their feedback through a simple question such as "How satisfied were you with our service?". That simple question is editable, and can be defined by your project admin.

Remember, if you're utilizing next-gen projects, site administrator access is required to edit your CSAT survey question

There's a handy Satisfaction report built into Jira Service Management, visible to project administrators and agents. This report displays average customer satisfaction scores, as well as individual scores and comments for the team. You can toggle the report anywhere from the past 48 hours, all the way up to the past year by month!

jira-service-desk-satisfaction-report

It's also possible to configure your own custom report to track satisfaction trends. For example, you may want to see satisfaction by assignee, satisfaction by service request, or even a trend graph to track satisfaction changes over time.

The Pros of CSAT

CSAT, a very popular methodology, offers a quick and easy way to entice customers to give feedback. This then provides a clear metric for you to understand customer expectations, and work to exceed them. With CSAT enabled, your customers will receive a survey every time their request is resolved. This enables you to track customer satisfaction at different stages of their journey with your team, making bottlenecks and areas for improvement clear, with very little effort on your part.

CSAT also offers a fast way to compare yourself to your peers. According to the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI), the average CSAT score across the nation is 76.5% - that's just over 3/4 of your customers reporting a satisfying experience. This figure differs by industry - you may not be too surprised to hear that, in 2019, Internet Service Providers and Subscription Television Services reported low CSAT benchmarks of 62%, while Breweries reported a much more favorable CSAT benchmark of 85%. But remember, while it is useful to be able to compare yourself to your competition, the true value from CSAT comes when you analyze and utilize feedback to drive continuous improvement and better your own customer experience.

Considerations of CSAT

While CSAT is a useful metric to track, there are a few considerations to take into account. The customer who takes the time to fill out their satisfaction is likely one who is happy with the service they received. Customers who are unhappy, or just moderately satisfied, are less likely to complete the survey, which can skew the data. CSAT has also been found to be a poor measure of loyalty - although poor CSAT scores can predict attrition, a high CSAT score has not been found to be a reliable predictor of repeat business. Cultural differences should also be taken into account - different standards and expectations will affect the score that customers are driven to pick, which, in part, can make it difficult to understand true customer satisfaction.

So, CSAT isn't a unicorn which can address all customer concerns with support. However, it does offer a valuable insight; one which should be paired with other tools to track and measure customer satisfaction. At Praecipio Consulting, we can help you make the most out of the benefits of collecting CSAT in Jira Service Management, and use those results along with other anecdotal evidence such as customer comments, number of tickets raised, cadence call discussions, and repeat business, to drive change, improve your customer offerings, and ultimately, reap the rewards!

Topics: jira blog tracking reporting customer-experience jira-service-management
2 min read

Praecipio Managed Services: The power of a part-time, full-stack Atlassian admin

By Suze Treacy on Feb 18, 2021 12:50:00 PM

Blogpost-display-image_The power of a part-time, full-stack Atlassian admi-1Do you find yourself tasked with administering Atlassian tools on top of the normal duties of your job? Have you ever been faced with an Atlassian question that is out of your wheelhouse? Are you interested in improvement opportunities to configure your instance and architecture to Atlassian best practice standards? If you answered yes to any of these questions, then read on!

With a wide range of Atlassian products available, and a marketplace full of apps to accompany those, it's hard to find admins who specialize in everything. Particularly with the Atlassian toolset being highly configurable, administrators should be able to analyze a request and advise the correct path forward, balancing functionality available to them, with corporate governance and best practice processes. Here at Praecipio Consulting, we have the answer to this unicorn, part-time, full-stack Atlassian admin, through our Managed Services offering.

Atlassian Experts, Best Practice

With over 10 years of Atlassian experience, our team has knowledge across the full stack - whether your question is about hosting considerations, tuning, networking, infrastructure, process-related, Marketplace Apps, or anything else, we can advise and implement functional, practical, industry-specific, best practice processes to maximize efficiencies among your teams. As we are squarely focused on the Atlassian toolset, your IT teams can focus on all of their other tasks, driving productivity and innovation among your team.

Preventative Measures

We're proactive, with bi-monthly cadence calls to discuss your long term goals and objectives, and monthly health checks to ensure your instance is secure, clean, and performing efficiently. We monitor Atlassian vulnerabilities, alerting you of any CVEs affecting your instance, alongside recommendations to mitigate. If you are hosting with us through Cumulus, we monitor your systems too, identifying and resolving issues before they become expensive incidents, and minimizing downtime.

Predictable Cost, Scalable Model

Whether you're utilizing Atlassian Cloud, Server, or Data Center, whether you need 9-5 support, or 24x7, we're always here to help. You dictate your monthly hours cap, enabling Atlassian administrative support at a fraction of the cost of hiring an admin. Even with the cap, it's possible to utilize more hours - managed services is scalable as your business and Atlassian needs grow.

Relationships

As Platinum Enterprise solution partners to Atlassian, we're big on relationships with our clients, Atlassian, and App vendors. When faced with issues, we can be the connection between yourselves and the answer you need, to discover the optimal outcome available for your circumstances. We're vested in your instances being healthy and working for your business: allow us to be a trusted partner in helping your business grow.

Praecipio Managed Services can help with your Atlassian needs, we'd love to talk to you more about our offering! 

Topics: atlassian blog implementation managed-services atlassian-products bespoke
4 min read

Why You Should Upgrade Your Atlassian Stack

By Suze Treacy on Sep 4, 2020 12:15:00 PM

Blogpost-display-image_Why upgrade your Atlassian stack-

One key component of managing your Atlassian applications is managing their upgrades. Upgrades can present a daunting and significant time investment for many companies, generally involving applications, add-ons, and integrations, with a large number of users dependent on the success

You know what upgrades are and that they're important. So why am I talking to you about them? Imagine the scenario: you're busy, you haven't had a chance to check in on the latest Atlassian security vulnerabilities, and you've missed the email updates based on your subscription. 

You also had higher priority work eating up team time which has prevented the planning and execution of your Atlassian upgrades. One day, your instance comes under attack through one of the vulnerabilities exposed in the CVE. Your data is potentially exposed. An urgent, large, expensive, complex effort ensues to secure the instance; after three days, two full sweeps of the instance and multiple upgrades, the vulnerabilities are mitigated and your instance is safe.

Are you confident you know when your applications are due for an upgrade? Let's review a few common reasons why an upgrade may be recommended.

End of Life Policy

Once Atlassian releases a major feature version, it, and all iterations related to that major version, are supported for two years. After that, the versions are considered End of Life and you will no longer receive support from Atlassian for any issues which arise. This is when many Atlassian Administrators start considering upgrading their instances.

Security Vulnerabilities

Every Wednesday, Atlassian releases any new security vulnerabilities which have been identified for their server/data center products. These vulnerabilities include a security level, which is based on an Atlassian-calculated CVSS score for each vulnerability.

Severity Rating System followed by Atlassian:

Screen Shot 2020-06-03 at 8.40.10 PM

 

Although there may be opportunities to mitigate security vulnerabilities in your current version, it is recommended to patch or upgrade immediately when a Critical vulnerability is identified. Vulnerabilities with a critical score generally result in root-level compromise, servers or infrastructure devices, or are straightforward to exploit.

Current security advisories can be found here.

New Functionality/Capabilities

Did you know that there is a new feature release for Jira Software every 6 weeks alone? Atlassian encourages users to submit bugs and feature requests at jira.atlassian.com. This public forum allows users to vote for and comment on submitted issues. Then, the Atlassian teams review this and other feedback as a factor in their decision for what to implement next. Platform releases contain the most significant changes, while Feature releases contain new features, changes to features, changes to supported platforms, and removal of features. Generally designated annually, feature releases are preferred for companies who need time to prepare for upgrades, but still want to receive critical bug fixes.

Compatibility with other Server Components

From time to time, Atlassian adds and deprecates support for other server component platforms, which work alongside your Atlassian application. For example, did you know that in Jira Software 8.6 and Jira Service Desk 4.6, support was added for PostgreSQL 10 and deprecated for Internet Explorer 11? In addition, in Jira Software 8.8 and Jira Service Desk 4.8, support was deprecated for Microsoft SQL Server 2012 and PostgreSQL 9.4 & 9.5. To ensure optimal operation of your Atlassian instances, it's just as important to upgrade components of your server architecture as well as your instances themselves.

App (Plugin) Support

If you are one of the many teams who utilize Apps (plugins) within their Atlassian applications, plugin compatibility and support is another area to be aware of when considering upgrades. Has support been deprecated for the plugin with the Atlassian version you're running? Is the plugin still supported when you upgrade to your target version? Atlassian has developed the Universal Plugin Manager, available in both Jira and Confluence, to enable you to screen for any compatibility problems before starting your upgrade. There are 4 categories for Compatibility which plugins can fall into:

  • Incompatible: the plugin is not compatible with the target version
  • Compatible: No adverse impacts to the target version
  • Compatible if updated: the plugin is not currently compatible, but will be once running the compatible version
  • Compatible once both are updated: the new version of the plugin isn't compatible with your current instance version and you need to upgrade your instance prior to updating the plugin

Unable to Skip a Platform Release

When considering which version you'd like to upgrade to, it's important to consider your current version and your target version. When upgrading, it is not possible to skip a platform release. For example, when considering a Jira software upgrade, it is not possible to jump from a 6.X release to the 8.X release and skip the 7.X release. You must take an intermediate step to upgrade to a 7.X version. Due to the functionality changes being much greater between platform releases that are not adjacently sequenced, there are more edge cases, and thus, greater risk, when navigating an upgrade spanning multi-platform releases.

For assistance with upgrading your applications, partner with Praecipio Consulting's Managed Services team! Our team is fully dedicated to the Atlassian stack and can offer you peace of mind by managing, supporting, and maintaining your Atlassian tools. This allows you to maximize the benefits of your Atlassian applications and empowers your team focus on what they do best. Working with our Managed Services team offers you expertise and best practices that draw from our wealth of experience and from 15 years working with the tools. We take the maintenance process off your plate, making sure that your tools–and your team–run at peak performance.

If you're ready to hand upgrades off to our experts, get it touch with our team to learn more about our Managed Services offering.

 

 

Topics: managed-services upgrade atlassian-products
5 min read

Improving Our Soil's Health Through Regenerative Practices

By Suze Treacy on Apr 24, 2020 9:15:00 AM

2020 Blogposts_Sinking Carbon Through Regenerative Soil Practices2

The world is changing. As we battle global warming, we face 42 years of above-average global temperatures, a 46% increase in carbon in the air since the 1800s, melting polar ice caps, rising sea levels, and extreme weather events (1). Because of the threats that climate change presents, there has been a mindset shift - whether it's from an environmental perspective, a health perspective, or simply from personal knowledge - people have become more conscious of how they treat our planet and want to do better.

 

In this journey to do better for our world, do you realize the importance of the ground we walk on?

Made up of a mixture of organic matter, minerals, gases, liquids, and billions of living organisms, soils are a basis for life. A natural passage for plant growth, an estimated 95% of our food comes from soil! (2) And when soil isn't feeding us, it absorbs water to drain, help plants, and recharge underground water; it maintains both the nitrogen and phosphorous cycles; it offers stable ground for our construction; it acts as a carbon sink, sequestering CO2 from the atmosphere and converting it into the soil's organic carbon. Simply put, soil is amazing, and human life literally depends on it; we can't exist without it. 

How Soil Impacts The Carbon Cycle & Climate Change

I'd like to talk some more about the carbon cycle and the role soil plays. The carbon cycle is the exchange of carbon between the atmosphere, ocean, terrestrial biosphere, and geological deposits. Plants in our soil absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, water from the soil, and sunlight to make their own food and grow through photosynthesis. The carbon becomes part of the plant, and thus, when animals eat the plant, carbon moves along the food chain. As animals breathe, some carbon dioxide is released into the atmosphere. When plants and animals die, dead organisms are eaten by bacteria and fungi in the soil, and carbon in their bodies is returned to the atmosphere as even more carbon dioxide that hopefully plants absorb and put back into the soil. In 2018, Columbia University estimated that the Earth's soil contains about 2,500 gigatons of carbon—that’s more than three times the amount of carbon in the atmosphere and four times the amount stored in all living plants and animals (3).

Unfortunately, activities such as deforestation and large-scale, intensive, toxic, and chemical-heavy agriculture techniques lead to soil erosion. Consequently, we are quickly destroying our soil at such an intense rate that in 2014, the UN's Food and Agriculture Organization reported that we only have approximately 60 years left of growing crops (4). A terrifying statistic when you consider the impact on our food supply alone. The way we treat our soil also impacts our planet, as it affects our soil's ability to fight global warming. These degradation processes result in carbon being released into the atmosphere as well as decreasing the soil's ability to store carbon. A damaging cycle ensues: exacerbated carbon losses from the soil leads to increased carbon in the atmosphere, accelerating climate change, thus intensifying downpours and further decreasing topsoil. 

 

Regenerative Soil Practices Give Us Hope

As we seek out more ways that we can contribute to a healthier planet, regenerative soil practices offer hope for positive change through the rehabilitation and enhancement of ecosystems. There are so many ways we can regenerate our soil. The Climate Reality Project outlined some of these key soil regeneration practices (5):

  • Plant Species Diversity: Different plants offer a range of diverse properties, releasing different carbohydrates through their roots. Various microbes feed on those carbohydrates, and, in turn, return a variety of different nutrients back to the soil, creating rich, nutrient-dense soils. These soils both more crops and improve their ability to absorb carbon.
  • Rotation and Cover Crops: By rotating crops and deploying cover crops strategically, farms and gardens can infuse soils with additional and more diverse soil organic matter. This helps to avoid disease and pest problems naturally, all while improving biodiversity, and, you guessed it, improving soil's ability to absorb carbon.
  • Conservation Tillage: Plowing and tillage dramatically erode soil and release large amounts of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, as well as creating a hostile environment for important soil microbes. By adopting low- or no-till practices, farmers minimize physical disturbance of the soil, and over time increase levels of soil organic matter, creating healthier, more resilient environments for plants to thrive, as well as keeping more carbon where it belongs: in the land. 
  • Cleaner agriculture decisions: Harsh chemicals can damage long-term soil health by disrupting the natural relationship between microorganisms and plant roots. Utilizing cleaner products, along with regenerative agriculture practices, is crucial in preserving soil health and maintaining the soil's ability to absorb carbon.

 

How You Can Get Involved

The great news is that these regenerative practices are becoming more popular, more accessible to people, and now, you can get involved too. You can support farmers by shopping at local farmers' markets and buying organic as often as possible. Talk to your local supermarket about how you can support farmers who employ these good practices. 

For the more green-fingered among us, how about starting your own garden and have a shot at growing your own food? If you're short on space, you could also try container gardening or join some fellow gardeners in your local community garden. And fear not, if you're not ready to take the leap into the gardening world, there are also a number of organizations working hard to improve soil quality, and they offer ways for you to get involved. Here are a few of my favorites:

  • Kiss The Ground, an LA-based non-profit, is inspiring people to get involved in soil regeneration, with a bold goal to transition 5000 farmers and train 20,000 leaders by 2025.
  • Roam Ranch, a multi-species regenerative ranch in the Texas Hill Country working to heal the ecosystem through regenerating their land and creating nourishing food.
  • Farmers Footprint, a coalition of farmers, educators, doctors, scientists, and business leaders aiming to expose the human and environmental impacts of chemical farming and offer a path forward through regenerative agricultural practices.

 

As we close out Earth Week, I hope that this post provides you with valuable information and inspires you to join us in taking better care of our world. At Praecipio Consulting, we have team members that are passionate about the planet, and they have taken up activities like composting and gardening. It's never too late to start!

 

References
(1) https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2019/04/21/earth-day-2019-climate-change-humans-global-warming-weather-rising-water/3507125002/

(2) https://sustainablefoodtrust.org/articles/ten-things-know-soil/

(3) https://blogs.ei.columbia.edu/2018/02/21/can-soil-help-combat-climate-change/

(4) https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/only-60-years-of-farming-left-if-soil-degradation-continues/

(5) https://www.climaterealityproject.org/blog/what-regenerative-agriculture

 

Topics: do-good carbon-footprint green-team carbon-neutral regenerative-practices
2 min read

Kanban vs. Scrum: Which One and Why?

By Suze Treacy on Jul 23, 2019 1:48:00 PM

Are you looking for ways to make your work more flexible and efficient, but feeling late to the Agile transformation party? Well, fear not! It's OK to be fashionably late to this Agile shindig!

Out of the many Agile Development frameworks out there, Scrum and Kanban are arguably the best known - similarities include their focus on continual improvement, and minimizing waste; breaking down large pieces of work into manageable, bitesize chunks for efficient delivery. However, it's important to understand the differences when looking to choose which style of working is right for you and your team.

What is Kanban?

Kanban, a workflow visualization tool, was first developed in the 1940s by Taiichi Ohno, for Toyota. Faced with a lack of productivity compared to their American rivals, the aim was to find a way to optimize productivity alongside their cost-intensive inventory of raw materials. A continuously improving process, Kanban uses boards with team-determined limitations to limit WIP (work-in-progress), identify and eliminate bottlenecks quickly and improve efficiencies among the team. Formal training is not required for teams to get started in Kanban, and, given that Kanban boards are intended to be used by everyone on the project, there is less need for cross-functional team members - it's easy to get started with Kanban quickly!

What is Scrum?

Although the history of Scrum is not without its controversies, it is widely understood that Scrum was developed in the 90s by Jeff Sutherland and Ken Schwaber, to present at the OOPSLA conference in Austin, Texas. Sutherland and Schwaber borrowed the term "Scrum" from Takeuchi/Nonaka's paper ‘The New New Product Development Game’ - comparing a team sport like rugby with success in the 'game' of product development. Scrum is far more structured than Kanban - with commitments to short iterations of work, team members have designated roles and responsibilities (product owner, scrum master, team members), with clear priorities identified by the product owner. High visibility engages and increases team accountability, while daily meetings enable blockers to be identified and dealt with quickly; sprints (and potentially shippable increments) are generally being delivered every 2 weeks. It is this lithe process which allows Scrum teams to quickly adapt to change, maintaining and building upon team efficiencies in future sprints.

Which method is right for me?

The long and short answer is that there's no right answer for everyone. The best thing you can do for your team is to learn more about each framework and give them both a shot. It isn't always easy to break old habits; the road to a true Agile transformation can be long and daunting - we'd love to help you get on your way and show you how Jira can enable you to optimize your Agile processes; email us at contact@praecipio.com for more information. In the meantime, learn how Praecipio Consulting helps our clients conquer the Agile transformation using Atlassian tools, so they can drive business results, and innovate.

Topics: blog scaled-agile kanban scrum
7 min read

Women In Technology

By Suze Treacy on Mar 5, 2019 3:11:00 PM

Instagram has turned people into stars, Google has changed the world, and Uber has disrupted the transportation industry. These technology giants are now household names and are just a few of the hundreds of tech companies that are changing the way we live, work, play, and communicate.

For example, with social media sites like Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter, people now have a platform (that once didn't exist) to express themselves on a larger scale and use their voice to join cultural movements.

In fact, social media has played an important role in recent movements where we've seen women demanding equality in the workplace. The technology of social media has allowed people to stand in solidarity, sparked conversations, and empowered people to demand change. More recently, we've seen attempts of policy reform in respect to closing the gender pay gap, seeing more women in leadership positions, and calling for more flexibility and inclusivity in the workplace.  

Ironically though, with an industry as groundbreaking as one like technology, there are so few women in the industry. You would think of all sectors, technology would be the most progressive with shifts in social paradigms—like gender equality in the workplace—but women only hold 20% of the jobs in the technology space.  

In honor of National Women's Month, we explore why there are so few women in the industry and some of the initiatives that exist to increase the number of women shaping the technology space. 

Decline of Women in Technology

What % of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) jobs in the United States are held by women? According to a 2017 report from the U.S. Department of Commerce, "Women filled 47 percent of all U.S. jobs in 2015 but held only 24 percent of STEM jobs.” Back in 1984, 37% of computer science graduates were women, but today, this figure has fallen to around 12%.  With women such as Sheryl Sandberg, Marissa Meyer, and Susan Wojcicki leading the way with high profile tech jobs, why is this figure so low and why is there a declining trend of women in tech?

Factors behind the decline

  • Gender socialization starts at a young age. According to the Generation STEM report, researched and produced by the Girl Scout Research Institute, outdated stereotypes and the subtleties of society and culture unconsciously discourage girls from math and science. In fact, the report found that girls become interested in STEM at age 11, but lose interest by age 15, and have more interest in careers where they can help others and make the world a better place.
  • A lack of opportunity. A 2018 survey of thousands of women with 10+ years in STEM careers found that 40% of respondents believe they have been passed over for a promotion in favor of someone less qualified of the opposite gender. A lack of female mentors in tech has been blamed by the Girl Scout Research Institute, with 95% of leadership positions in technology firms being held by men.
  • Pay discrimination. The Institute For Women's Policy Research (IWPR) report that in 2017, female full-time, year-round workers made only 80.5 cents for every dollar earned by men - almost 20% gender pay gap between men and women. A report by Forbes found that within the tech industry, women were being offered between 4% - 45% less starting pay than their male counterparts for the same job. The gender pay gap can also be attributed to women undervaluing their market worth, asking for less pay 66% of the time, often asking for 6% less salary than their male counterparts. As an employee progresses within an organization, salary increases are largely dependent on current salary; the pay gap can be directly attributed to a job gap; a lack of opportunity at more senior levels, thus keeping women out of higher paid jobs and exacerbating the gender pay gap.

Ironically, despite the decline in the number of women holding jobs in technology, research shows that in school, girls actually surpass boys with their performance in STEM subjects.

In a recent study conducted by psychologists at the University of Glasgow and University of Missouri, they found that 15-year-old girls in 70% of countries outperformed boys in math, reading and science literacy, regardless of their levels of gender equality. Not only that, but according to research conducted by a group of computer science students, women proved to be better at coding than men.

Women are clearly capable of participating in technology, so it is time for society and organizations to help shift the paradigm. 

Fighting the decline in the technology industry

Multiple companies and organizations are working to encourage women's interest in STEM and coding, as well as closing the pay gap and creating policies that are geared towards flexibility and inclusivity. Here are just a few of the initiatives you can check out to see how people are working to reverse the trend and bring more women into tech jobs. 

  • Girls Who Code - Girls Who Code has a simple mission: to close the gender gap in technology. Since being founded in 2012, the program has reached almost 90,000 girls across all 50 states. Companies like AT&T, GM, and Uber have sponsored clubs and college programs to recruit more women and help them advance their careers in the technology world.
  • Salesforce - First taking a stance on pay equality in 2015, annual reviews and two pay adjustments since have seen Salesforce spend $6M to close pay gaps and ensure equal pay for equal work within their organization. As well as striving for pay equality, Salesforce is also a pioneer in equality; there is a policy within the firm of interviewing at least one woman or underrepresented minority candidate for each executive position, and, through supporting 9 diversity networks including the Women's Network (for gender equality), Outforce (organizer of many Pride marches), and AbilityForce (an ability inclusion forum), Salesforce is giving people a platform to actively curate change.
  • Million Women Mentors - Sponsored by large companies such as BP, Boeing and Cisco, Million Women Mentors describes their mission as "a movement to spark the interest and confidence of girls and women to pursue and succeed in STEM careers and leadership opportunities through the power of mentoring." With more than 2 million pledges to mentor women and girls in STEM, the organization works to bring corporations with communities and government organizations to encourage women in technology.
  • Family-Friendly Workplaces - Even though there is great disparity between women and men in technology, surprisingly, many tech companies are paving the way to make their workplaces more inclusive for employees who decide to have families. Google offers 22-24 weeks of paid leave for birth mothers, and starting in January 2018, Microsoft began offering assistance with fertility treatments and adoption expenses.

Hopefully in the near future, we can see more representation of women in technology as organizations build on these initiatives and people continue the conversation about bridging the gender gap, especially in the tech sector. Women should be part of not only shaping technology, but shaping the future as well.

References

Topics: women-in-technology stem

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