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It's The Problem Solving, Silly!

Fat paychecks and the usual wide availability of IT jobs are not key factors in drawing women into IT careers, according to a survey.

Talk of big bucks isn't as effective at luring women to IT careers as the message of how IT helps solve business problems, according to a recent survey by Ohio University. Undergrad tech programs apparently aren't a big factor, either.

Few women surveyed mention fat paychecks or the usual wide availability of IT jobs as key motivators for entering or staying in IT. The study of 275 women IT workers from 22 to 64 also suggests that liberal-arts programs are a viable avenue to introducing women to IT careers. About 31% of the respondents held nontechnical liberal-arts undergrad degrees.

The women who work as software engineers, network administrators, programmers, and Web developers say they chose IT careers for the challenge and the problem-solving aspects--more so than for the high pay associated with many IT jobs, says Phyllis Bernt, professor of communication systems management, who conducted the study with other professors at the school. Bernt adds that focusing on how IT jobs help people would change their image and attract more women to the field.

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