DMACC and a group of central Iowa employers are working together to address a critical shortage of Information Technology (IT) application developers. The Java Application Development program (formerly DIAD) is designed to close the gap in the IT talent of Central Iowa by training women to become JAVA application programmers.
The typical student enrolled in this program is a full-time employee of a Central Iowa business who has been identified as having potential for increased responsibility. The student has little to no previous programming experience, but a willingness to learn.
Upon completion of the program, students will:
- Earn an accelerated DMACC Java Application Developer Certificate in eight months.
- Gain applicable, practical and technical skills.
- Receive optional exam prep following the course for the industry approved Java SE Programmer certification.
The classwork will include the following:
- Weekly accelerated classroom instruction from experienced professionals and local IT experts.
- Eight to ten hours of online instruction weekly.
- Guest speakers and industry panels.
- Review of past material with question/answer time.
- Networking opportunities with local IT professionals.
- Lab/Online teaching assistant for tutoring and support.
Most Central Iowa Chief Information Officers (CIO’s) have had difficulties finding qualified application developers to staff their growing backlog of projects. This accelerated program was created specifically to help fill the programming gap with qualified candidates. The companies who have partnered and are committed to supporting/mentoring women by sending them through the course include:
Principal Financial Group
Farm Bureau Financial Services
Farmers Mutual Hail Insurance
The majority of the eligible partners had students enrolled in the first cohort.
“The IT Industry Partnership is committed to working with DMACC to develop in-demand technology training programs for the local community,” said Dan Greteman, CIO of Farm Bureau Financial Services and IT Industry Partnership Chairman.
“The DIAD program will provide a unique opportunity for individuals interested in expanding their technical skills to advance in their careers,” said Lori Smith, Assistant Vice President with Principal Financial Group. “DMACC has designed this program to prepare students to take the industry standard Oracle Java developer exam. The goal is to help prepare more IT professionals in the local market to meet the growing demand for IT skills.”
Erin Harris, a Business Analyst for GuideOne Insurance, was a member of the first cohort.
“Learning about Java will provide me with an understanding of the technical possibilities and challenges associated with the various systems we use every day,” said Harris. “I feel so fortunate to work for a company that recognizes the importance of women in technology and who is willing to convey that importance by taking action and joining forces with DMACC to create an amazing technical program for women.”
Katie Sullivan of Workiva also recently graduated with the first cohort.
“When I started as a Quality Assurance Analyst at Workiva, I was able to use my domain knowledge as a CPA to immediately provide value in a technical role without having software development experience,” said Sullivan. “The DIAD program is a key component in my professional development plan to become more skilled and provide the most value to my team.”
Nationwide Insurance is one of the Central Iowa companies who has been very supportive of this partnership.
“I am very thankful that my company, Nationwide, is supporting me in my career goals to learn Java,” said Sophy Yang, Specialist, IT Application Development at Nationwide. “This program offers the right mix of work/life balance to help me do this.”
As of 2012, the last year for which the National Science Foundation has published data, only 18 percent of degrees in the computer science field were obtained by women. That is the lowest percentage of any STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) discipline.
A national initiative, the “Million Women Mentors” supports the engagement of one million science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) mentors (both male and female) to increase the interest and confidence of girls and women to persist and succeed in STEM programs and careers.
“Million Women Mentors – Iowa” is a collaboration led by Lieutenant Governor Kim Reynolds among Iowa’s business, government and educational sectors to provide STEM education and career development opportunities for women and girls within the state.
“Our goal here in Iowa is to get at least 5,000 volunteers—women and men—to serve as mentors in all 99 counties,” said Reynolds.
Many Iowa companies already have mentoring programs in place and should register these initiatives on the Million Women Mentors – Iowa website as part of this national effort to support females in STEM careers.
“This DMACC program, guided by its IT Industry Partnership Board, opens new opportunities for Iowa companies to participate in the “Million Women Mentors” campaign (www.mwmia.org),” said Reynolds. “It is another great example of how Iowa is moving forward on meaningful, job creating Science-Technology-Engineering-Math initiatives. I ask that all Iowa companies make a pledge to mentor and encourage girls and young women to pursue STEM classes and STEM-related careers.”
“Based on the conversations I’m having with area businesses about this concept, we expect the program to be in very high demand,” said Rob Denson, President of DMACC. “We are already planning on ways to expand the training to help meet the IT needs of area businesses. Responding to industry needs like this is a core competency of DMACC."