“SheDares” free online learning program encourages women to consider a career in tech
At Amazon Web Services (AWS), we are committed to fostering a more diverse, inclusive, accessible, and equitable workforce. We know that diversity in teams and leadership is a critical driver of innovation. As part of this commitment, we’re collaborating with The Dream Collective, a diversity, equity, and inclusion consultancy, to launch SheDares.
SheDares is a free, online learning program that aims to inspire professional women to consider a career in the technology industry, and show them pathways to consider. The program was designed for women in Australia, but is accessible globally. I am especially passionate about this program as a female leader who did not begin my career working in tech. I know first-hand that it can be an intimidating field to break into, and this program is designed to help.
The development of SheDares was underpinned by research that confirmed barriers to women considering a role in the tech industry. The research findings included the perception of a steep learning curve, not knowing where to start in terms of exploring tech career pathways, and a lack of visible female role models.
SheDares is designed to help women overcome these barriers. The free program features four, online 45-minute self-paced modules focused on expanding perspectives, understanding transferrable skills, and equipping participants with pathways to build skills and find job opportunities in Australia. Modules include practical advice for breaking into the tech industry, worksheets to apply new learnings, a career skills quiz, and fireside chats with women sharing advice about how they successfully transitioned into tech.
As part of this, I recently had the chance to sit down with Lyndal Hamwood, Senior Product Lead with The Dream Collective, for a fireside chat. I shared some personal stories of how I’ve been able to use my network throughout my career to land jobs in the tech industry. In my experience, many skills are transferrable to tech, such as creative thinking, problem solving, analytical thinking, and attention to detail. The Dream Collective and AWS will supplement the self-paced training with additional live panel events held throughout the year. These panels expose women to conversations with senior technology leaders who have pivoted their careers, including speakers from both AWS and industry partners.
The program is targeted at early- to mid-career professional women who might not have previously considered a role in the tech industry. This includes both technical and non-technical roles at tech companies, and technical roles in any industry. For example, a woman in a sales or marketing role in the finance industry could apply her expertise to a similar role in the tech industry. I personally know many women in my professional network who would be eager to take advantage of this program.
The online learning modules are just the starting point. We’ve also designed three practical pathways to help participants prepare for a new career in tech. Following completion of the program, we encourage participants to spend time building knowledge, attending industry events, or applying to jobs with AWS customer and collaborating organizations. We’ve collated three different pathways for people to choose from:
- The Build Skills pathway is for women who are interested in a career in the tech industry, and want to get started by building knowledge to help them break in. This pathway provides practical recommendations for deeper learning, and includes cloud training courses designed by AWS experts to build cloud skills and help prepare for AWS Certification exams, which demonstrate cloud expertise to colleagues and potential employers.
- The Ready to Pivot pathway is designed for women who are excited by the tech industry and looking for the right opportunity. This pathway provides information and links to job opportunities at AWS and with our customers and partners in Australia. The path also includes information about targeted job placement programs, including AWS re/Start for unemployed or underemployed individuals, and AWS Tech U, an accelerated workforce development program.
- The Explore a Little More pathway directs participants to upcoming events that may interest them, such as an AWS workshop on innovation, hiring webinars with tips and tricks on how to interview for a role in the tech industry, and an AWS Cloud Essentials webinar to learn fundamental concepts of cloud computing and how they can unlock business value.
If you have been wondering about breaking into the technology industry, or you know someone who has, I encourage you to check out SheDares as a starting point. Learn more and sign up here.
 The Dream Collective conducted an online survey and focus groups of 200 women from professional industries across Australia and New Zealand, which underpinned the development of the SheDares program