IT systems are genderless
– they must help both women and men
Binish Sheikh, Test Manager at Systematic Consulting in Copenhagen, has a simple explanation as to why it is important and natural that, in future, seven out of ten IT jobs are not filled by men.
It is Binish Sheikh's experience that women often ask more user-relevant questions, and have more focus on details and structure than their male peers. And when it comes to social interaction at the workplace, most men are more than happy to just sit down and open a beer rather than laying a table properly to create an inviting atmosphere.
“My point is that diversity is important. For both the professional and social aspects at work. Men and women have different strengths, and focus on different things, which together results in really good solutions,” says Binish Sheikh, who is well known for her cheerful spirits and how much she enjoys her work and colleagues at Systematic.
Important for society
“When I work with testing and quality assuring a new system for the police or the health service, I’m helping to solve an important task for society. Which fills me with pride. And I like it when I feel that I’m being appreciated and respected for my work by both my colleagues and clients,” says Binish Sheikh, who lives with her 19-year-old daughter and 14-year-old twins.
She still remembers the 1990s, when she completed her IT degree from the State University of New York. Back then, she was one of only four or five women in the auditorium out of a group of 30. Since then, she has worked for large companies such as KMD and Maersk, and for the last year at Systematic. Over the years she has worked with a child benefits system, Borger.dk and health systems.
Necessary to talk about the positive things we do
Many years on, the IT industry is still male-dominated.
“This needs changing, and it’s important that I – and everyone else who works with IT – don’t tell those we know that we ‘just’ work with IT. Many people assume that all we do is sit and write code, which can seem boring. Especially for women. We need to tell them what our solutions can do for people in their working lives, for example how the world’s best health systems make a difference for the people who use them daily and for the patients. It’s only here that we can highlight the exciting perspectives of our work. And it is they who will attract tomorrow’s IT candidates,” says Binish Sheikh, who is well aware of her status as a role model, especially for women who are entering the IT industry.
Ann Høst has known Binish Sheikh for several years, and is currently her manager. In her experience, Binish is very skilled at transforming theory into practice, but that she also focuses on asking slightly unusual questions that can result in even better solutions for client and users alike.
“Binish Sheikh sets great store by collaboration. Both with her colleagues and the end-users, who she is really good at talking to. She is extremely solution-oriented, and clear about clarifying matters which are important for everything to move ahead in the right direction. Every day, she helps to ensure that we are on the right course,” says Ann Holst.