The Microsoft YouthSpark Scholarship helps female students pursue their dreams of studying Information Technology

On September 10, 2017

Pham Thi Thu Huong,- a junior at VNU University of Engineering and Technology, Vietnam National University, Ha Noi,- has overcame many difficulties in pursuing her dream of becoming a professional software tester.

Are female students studying information technology finding it difficult to apply for jobs?

Pham Thi Thu Huong (Nam Dinh) was born into a family with 4 siblings. She had a better life thanks to her father’s motorbike business. When Huong in her final year of high school, her father lost his ability to work due to his depression and had to stay home, where money is spent on his medical treatment. Huong’s mother who helped with her husband’s business, was not able to put five children through school. While the youngest child in the family has congenital heart disease and her father-in-law has brain disease. The family gradually fell into poverty.

At that time, Huong was contemplating her future career path. When she was younger, like other girls, she wanted to become a teacher. Huong’s father advised her to study Information Technology because “this field is easy to get a job with a high salary. You have good academic performance , you should follow that field so that you don’t have to worry about the future and have money to cure my disease”. With her father’s statement ingrained into  Huong’s mind, she found motivation to enter the IT industry.

Pham Thi Thu Huong,- a junior at VNU University of Engineering and Technology, Vietnam National University, Ha Noi

Pham Thi Thu Huong,- a junior at VNU University of Engineering and Technology, Vietnam National University, Ha Noi

But many people doubted Huong when she expressed her determination in study this major . “ When I said I would study IT, many friends and relatives looked at me with a look that is difficult to describe. Many people think that girls should not follow this field because it is difficult to apply for jobs. Sometimes all the things they said were discouraging”, shared Huong. But Huong was still determined, and passed the exam in Information Technology, at the VNU University of Engineering and Technology, Vietnam National University, Ha Noi. “The motivation for me to enter this field was my father and also to prove that girls can also study Information Technology. And now I think that my choice was perfect, because I love this field more and more. I like the logic, algorithms and creativity in technology that can solve many problems in life.”

Nguyen Thi Thu is a senior student at Ha Noi University of Technology. Like Huong, Thu also wanted to be a teacher.  When she was in high school, she discovered that Information Technology was an emerging field and had great potential. Thu learned about this field and decided to enter the Hanoi University of Technology. But she did not get support from the people around her – leading her to feel sad sometimes. “Everyone around me said that girls should not pursue Information Technology because a girl’s ability was worse than a boy’s. Even my mother did not support me. She is still worried about me.” Shared Thu.

Hương and Thu are just two of many girls who are pursuing the IT or Computer Science fields, but did not receive much-needed support from their friends and relatives. There are no official statistics available in Viet Nam, but in the world , only 20% of women work in technology-related fields, while 52% of women work in other industries. For every 10 people working in the fields of science, technology, and engineering, only 3 are women. 68% of girls are influenced by their parents when they decide to pursue fields in STEM (Science, Technology and Math).

Scholarships support female students who are studying Information Technology or Computer Science.

The Microsoft YouthSpark Scholarship was created to encourage women to pursue their studies in Information Technology and Computer Science. An important feature of the Microsoft YouthSpark Scholarship is that besides the financial support of $ 600 per student per year, students are also provided with regularly training sessions, activities, and meet and greets with experienced professionals in the IT or Computer Science fields. They are Le Thuy Hanh- Managing Director of DigiMarketing, Mrs Thach Le Anh- Executive Director and Founder of Vietnam Silicon Valley Project, MOS Power Point Ambassador 2013 Phung Quang Huy… The program is organized to support the scholarship recipients develop socially and as well as intellectually to apply suitable jobs after graduation.

Thanks to the amount of 600 USD per year, Huong can pay her tuition fee instead of borrowing money from a bank, thus relieving the burden on her family. Huong was also able to reduce her working hours, so she has more time to participate in community activities and training sessions. “Office 365, Azure, the soft skills training sessions, and interacting with successful alumni or employers are all very valuable to me,” shared Huong. Huong has maintained good academic standings over her third year and participated in all of the trainning sessions held by the scholarship program because she knows that employers are now not only interested in professional knowledge, but expect a variety of skills as well. Huong is currently an intern at a well-known company in Vietnam and has many career opportunities.

“Many people think that if girls learn Information Technology, their personality and appearance will become masculine. But I am still feminine. I like to go shopping and hanging out with friends. Occasionally, I participate in programs for girls and community activities, ” shared Huong.

Mrs. Le Hong Nhi, a Microsoft representive added, “ Through this scholarship, we want to encourage female students to overcome their mental and physical barriers to pursue their passion for technology. There are a lot of successful women in the technology industry, a field in which men typically dominate. Having the contribution of women in this industry is extremely important and meaningful. We want to tell  girls not to be shy, don’t give up on pursuing your dreams.”

This year, the Microsoft YouthSpark Scholarship Program began receiving applications from July 1, 2017 through September 10, 2017. Students interested in the scholarship can find detailed information on the website or apply for the scholarships in form online.

H.K/Dân Trí