Possibilities endless for girls in ICT, says Danielle Mullings
For as long as she can remember, Danielle Mullings has always enjoyed the idea of breaking the mold. In fact, the Software Engineering major will be quick to tell you that ‘limit’ is not a word in her vocabulary. She’s always thinking big, focusing on ways to inspire the next generation. In her eyes, possibilities are endless, especially for girls in the information and communication technology (ICT) sector.
Mullings, who describes technology as a conduit for bettering one’s life, says as one of few women in her field, she wants her journey in technology to encourage other young women to see ICT as a viable career path.
“For me, technology is really a conduit for youth empowerment, just lifting up young people and allowing them to just have greater access to things that may seem impossible. Technology is not just sitting behind your computer all day, every day just coding. That’s just one aspect. You also have people who do marketing for new tech products who are going to come up with videos and designs,” she said.
“A career in technology and science overall doesn’t look one way and it’s completely ok if you want to approach it a little bit different. I love showing persons that you don’t have to fit into one mold. You don’t have to be a ‘tech’ person solely. I have shown that you can be in leadership, marketing etc.”
“It’s an honour because one of the most fulfilling moments for me is when I see younger girls in ICT. When young people come up to me and be like ‘you know Danielle, I wanna do things like what you’re doing. The fact that you’re doing it shows us that it is possible.’ That is the most awesome feeling for me because when I started university, my class was heavily male,” she continued. “I love when girls come up to me and tell me I’m part of the reason they’re doing what they do. I use to say in high school that I want to inspire the next generation of leaders and I especially love that the next generation of leaders in ICT include women.”
As the world observes Girls in ICT Day on Thursday, Mullings spent part of her day in a session spearheaded by Caricom which focused on encouraging young women to foster careers in science and technology. For her, sessions like those are particularly important in helping to bridge the gap between the number of men and women in the field. The latter, she revealed, is something her male counterparts also see as important.
Mullings told OBSERVER ONLINE that although the profession is still largely a ‘man’s playground’, her male counterparts have been very open to the idea of injecting more feminine energy into the field.
“Men have actually helped me a whole lot on my journey in this field. So the whole idea of men needing to be an ally in this fight for increased inclusion of women in technology, is great. To join some of these organisations, men have been the mentors that have helped me to push myself. I’ve had a number of my male counterparts say to me ‘we see your potential and we want to bring you on board with this project.’ That has been very encouraging,” she expressed.
Mullings, who revealed that her dream job is to one day become the United Nations’ Envoy on Technology, says she’s already begun making moves that will set her apart from others in her field. So far, she has worked with organisations such as the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF), was a member of international organisation Young Tech Expert for Health and represented Jamaica at the Wonder Woman Intech Conference in California back in 2018. Armed with a minor in film studies, the creative said she wants to continue biting into history as she aims to make science and technology more appealing to the everyday man.
“I actually had my performance review today with my supervisor and one thing she was saying was that ‘Danielle some of the things that set you apart is your tenacity and resilience. This idea that even if you don’t get it right the first time you’re gonna keep trying and doing whatever it takes to keep putting your foot forward’,” she said.
“I am fundamentally a very creative person so sometimes people would hear that my major was in software engineering but my minor was in film studies and they’d be like ‘what are you even doing?’ The arts has been something that has helped me and my growth in technology overall. Just the fact that I have a background in media and communication, that has actually put me in such a great position because I’m able to just speak and articulate very clearly the big tech terms to the layman. I just want to be able to reach as many people as I can with the talents I have been given. Once I’m doing that then I’d be fulfilling my purpose.”