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Published: 2024-04-04

Prejudices favour neither students nor the IT industry

NEWS The world is in urgent need of skilled software developers with a holistic perspective. Yet there are many 'he' and few 'she' and 'they' in the industry. “The prejudiced view of computer scientists as a shy white man sitting alone coding in a basement, does not benefit you as a student, the IT industry or society," says Anna Jonsson, Associate Professor of Computing Science and responsible for the Civil Engineering Programme in Computing Science at Umeå University.

Working with IT gives you the power and ability to influence, solve, produce, improve and develop technology that is good for people, companies and society. Within the industry there are great opportunities to grow just as you are, as all types of personalities are in demand, whether you are a problem solver, world improver, entrepreneur or "hacker." “The fact that this is not more visible and noticeable is a shortcoming in the industry, especially now, with the rapid pace of change. It's not just about cracking code, it's about creating products and services that society needs. To be able to do that optimally, you need an ability to see things from different perspectives and with multiple angles," says Anna Jonsson.

World-class research

She is a researcher and lecturer at the Department of Computing Science at Umeå University, which has grown at record speed in recent years, recruiting several internationally renowned professors, lecturers, postdocs and doctoral students. The programmes are of high quality and have a very good reputation. Studying computing science in Umeå gives you the opportunity to develop good skills in distributed systems, cloud computing, AI, language processing, theoretical computer science, parallel programming, numerical computing, graphics, robotics and not least computer security.

People with different experiences

The department is working actively to create a good and inclusive working environment for everyone, whether you are male, female or non-binary. "Companies develop software for all types of people, so all types must be involved in developing it for the best possible results – and not just in terms of gender. With us, you should be able to be yourself," says Anna Jonsson.
Getting more girls, women, and non-binary people to understand the many opportunities in IT is a priority. “Research shows that diverse groups work better than homogeneous groups. It's important to learn to cooperate and understand that people with different experiences than you often have a perspective that you would have missed completely otherwise," Jonsson says.

Encourage and involve

Regardless of who you are, you should think about both taking and giving space. “For example, male students need to think more about encouraging and involving girls and non-binary people in study discussions and activities. This will benefit them both personally and career-wise," says Lili Jiang, also a lecturer at the Department of Computing Science. Like Associate Professor Suna Bensch, Lili Jiang and Anna Jonsson are new programme directors at the department. They will visit upper secondary schools and participate in education fairs, aiming to reach and empower more girls and non-binary people in marketing and activities.

Challenging, creative and fun

“Learning to solve problems through programming is great fun and gives you an interesting, challenging and creative job, no matter what industry you want to work in. You develop solutions that can support and help others  – and you get paid well!”, Suna Bensch concludes.

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Programme Directors

Suna Bensch
Associate professor
Lili Jiang
Associate professor
Anna Jonsson
Associate professor