female scientist looking at microscope slide, women in STEM

Why increasing access to technology will help show STEM as a viable career stream

female scientist looking at microscope slide, women in STEM

Over the past number of years, emphasis has been placed on making STEM a more viable career for young people – but the spotlight has been on a finite selection of roles.

Specifically in the region of tech, career routes, of which many are not well advertised to start with, can be often heavily male-dominated, shrouded with jargon and seemingly impenetrable. In an increasingly digital world, today’s employers have a certain responsibility to ‘sell’ the sector to tomorrow’s decision makers, says Ji Hye Chang, Senior Experience Scientist at CODE Worldwide.

Even in 2022, choosing a career path in technology does not necessarily feel like a viable option for everyone. By way of response, organisations like ours are bridging the gap with comprehensive training and mentoring schemes and ushering bright young things through the door to establish themselves in a sector which is set to dominate the careers landscape in years to come.

While traditional STEM roles, like engineering and medicine have been widely publicised and incentivised in the past 10-or-so years, these only scratch the surface. There are plenty of offshoot roles which are equally as crucial for an increasingly digital world but are less well-known and therefore less frequently pursued by young people entering the job market. One of these areas is data marketing, a hybrid creative and technical field which is growing rapidly and urgently needs to entice new talent.

While neither marketing roles nor purely technical roles are unpopular, the amalgamation of the two proves harder to attract talent. As marketeers, we know that the sector can have a reputation for onboarding creative types only, and while there’s nothing wrong with that, it leaves little room for deviation. System-loving, strategic thinking techies don’t usually seek out roles in marketing. Conversely, roles which focus heavily on data tend to conjure images of a certain sort of candidate, too. Marrying the two is a resourcing headscratcher.

The Marketing Science Academy is the brainchild of CODE Worldwide and parent-company RAPP Group, established with the ambition to directly solve the problem. It is a digital training and mentoring scheme which takes talented young prospective employees and gives them the knowledge, tools and resources to thrive in the ever-evolving world of data marketing. Trainees are exposed to real-life clients and given real briefs to work on, under the watchful eye of mentors and executives.

It’s not just a general effort to encourage people into the sector, either – it’s about getting the right people through the door to reflect today’s diverse and inclusive workforce. In what has been a traditionally white male dominated landscape, a diverse selection of candidates are chosen through CODE’s talent pipeline. This approach creates a varied talent pool, providing an incredibly desirable melting pot of ideas and points of view. The programme has run for the last two years with great levels of success, and the and the most recent cohort are being offered opportunities including internships and the chance to apply for junior roles within the business.

Mentors and subjects are paired after meticulous consideration; mentees are asked about specific learning objectives, skills and career aspirations before an appropriate mentor is identified. Once selected, mentors receive leadership and coaching training; after all, very few people build their careers with the aspiration of being a ‘mentor’.

Ultimately, in 2022 and beyond, we can’t allow initiatives that focus on ‘jobs in STEM’ just to cover off the first roles that come to mind. The landscape is changing rapidly, and as technology continues to advance and our working lives depend more heavily on it, fresh talent needs to be on top of these shifting sands. By arming young people with the tools, information and confidence they need to navigate a hybrid field like scientific marketing, employers can create a diverse and savvy workforce that are ready for whatever the future throws at them.

About the author

Ji Hye ChangJi Hye Chang is a Senior Experience Scientist at Code Worldwide who is a true data storyteller and offers tangible value in her strategic thinking and effective use of data. She sits at the helm of a number of game-changing data strategy projects starting with a journey of data discovery, scenario planning, sophisticated segmentation modelling and formulating end-to-end data strategy. Bringing 7 years of industry experience, Ji has been instrumental in challenging clients to rethink their strategy to prioritise their customers and utilise data strategically. Within 12 months of starting at Code, her expertise has already led to the strategic creation and delivery of tailored communications that consistently produce impressive and robust results for her clients. Not only is she a master in her field, but she is also an advocate for encouraging more diverse women into the data and technology sectors. She is passionate about sharing her experience and knowledge and mentoring the new generation.