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Women in STEM

For Women in STEM, Upskilling Has Never Been More Important

Female businessperson working on a laptop
Female businessperson working on a laptop
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Iman Lau

Graduate – Certificate in Machine Learning, School of Continuing Studies, York University

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Preeti Raman

Instructor – Big Data Analytics Program, School of Continuing Studies, York University

For women looking to upskill or change careers, the York University School of Continuing Studies offers excellent learning opportunities in science, technology, engineering, and math, or ‘STEM’.


Today’s professional landscape is rapidly evolving. As advancements in technology proliferate, businesses must adapt in order to stay competitive. Companies are investing heavily in artificial intelligence (AI), and the demand for positions in machine learning, data science and analytics are growing at an accelerated pace.

With so many opportunities available, it’s important for women to get involved in these fields. Furthermore, to excel in these fields, you need a critical mix of not only technical skills, but cross-functional (“human”) skills as well — meaning that women are well-positioned to thrive in this growing industry. 

York’s innovative programs foster critical skills mix

The York University School of Continuing Studies helps students learn essential skills for in-demand STEM careers. It has a rapidly-evolving suite of programs designed to help students reach their career goals faster through flexible, accelerated learning. Current programs include part-time certificates in machine learning, big data analytics, full-stack web development, digital marketing, and cyber security.

Iman Lau is a graduate of the Machine Learning Program at York’s School of Continuing Studies who has gained immense value from the program. “It’s a well-rounded program because it doesn’t only focus on coding skills, and it’s not esoteric and research-focused, meaning it’s more relevant to those looking to enter the industry,” she says. The program’s flexibility and York’s accessible location also appealed to Lau. “It allowed me to attend part-time, enabling me to keep working while I learned,” she says. 

With the advancement of technology and automation set to impact most jobs in the coming years, it is essential to continue to upgrade and enhance your skills.

Upskilling the key to sustained career success

With the advancement of technology and automation set to impact most jobs in the coming years, it is essential to continue to upgrade and enhance your skills. “Upskilling is important because the jobs of today may not be the jobs of tomorrow,” says Lau. 

“Today’s job market is highly competitive,” adds Preeti Raman, a Big Data Analytics Program Instructor at the School of Continuing Studies and an Advisory Council Member of the Certificate in Full-Stack Web Development Program “To set themselves above the competition, professionals can learn new, in-demand skills in emerging fields. At the School of Continuing Studies, students can acquire the skills they need while also networking with peers and mentors in the field.”

Encouraging more women to enter STEM fields

A greater diversity of experiences is needed in STEM. “A monochromatic workforce, or even the impression of one, stifles that out-of-the-box thinking that leads to innovation,” says Lau.

“Women are still significantly underrepresented in STEM and this needs to change,” says Raman. “All STEM fields need more women, lest the over-representation of men in the design of these technologies quietly perpetuate gender inequalities.” 

In today’s rapidly-changing marketplace, STEM fields offer incredible opportunities – and more women should explore them! For existing STEM professionals or those looking to change career paths, York University’s School of Continuing Studies empowers women to pursue exciting new careers.

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