Major: Information Technology
Hometown: Morristown

Breaking the Gender Gap in IT

“We need more women in IT. We need their power and ideas represented in the industry.”

Young woman in front of a building in the cityMaricris Flores doesn’t consider herself a trailblazer as a woman seeking a career in information technology. She’s just doing what she loves as she works toward earning her associate degree from County College of Morris (CCM). She does believe, however, that more women should join her in pursuing a career in IT.

“We need more women in IT. We need their power and ideas represented in the industry,” she says.

Women make up over half the U.S. workforce and jobs are plentiful in the world of IT. Yet women hold only 26 percent of the positions in IT, according to the National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT). That and an overall lack of diversity means products and services are developed without the benefit of multiple perspectives.

Flores’ goal is to obtain a position working in cybersecurity for the government. As she explains, “I want to help protect people and organizations against hackers and scammers.” Her next step after CCM is to earn her bachelor’s degree at NJIT.

As an IT student at CCM, Flores has been fortunate to have a number of role models given that women make up nearly half of the full-time faculty in the Department of Information Technologies. She also has found the faculty to be very student-focused. “The professors at CCM,” she says, “take the time to get to know you and support you so you can meet your goals.”

She also has benefited from a cybersecurity curriculum that is aligned with National Security Agency and Department of Homeland Security standards. And she has gained some valuable hands-on experience. She has expanded her knowledge of cybersecurity as a member of the college’s Cyber Centurions team. She also worked for two semesters as an intern for the college’s Department of Marketing and Public Relations where she assisted with updating and maintaining the college’s website.

“It was a great learning experience and it meant a lot to be working on the website for CCM,” she says. “At CCM, the people really help students to develop their abilities.”