How Google Cloud is Providing a Launchpad for Women in Tech

We sit down with Erin Rifkin, MD Learning Services and Lee Moore, VP Global Consulting, to discuss how Google Cloud is helping tackle the cloud gender gap

The technology industry has long grappled with a significant gender gap, with women remaining underrepresented in many fields, including cloud computing and AI. To address this disparity, Google Cloud – one of the world’s leading cloud providers – is taking a proactive approach through its innovative Google Cloud Launchpad for Women programme.

This comprehensive initiative is designed to empower women across various industries, equipping them with the cloud and AI skills they need to thrive in an increasingly tech-driven world. By providing a supportive learning environment and a clear pathway to certification, the programme aims to break down barriers and foster a more diverse and inclusive workforce in the cloud and AI sectors.

Erin Rifkin, Managing Director of Google Cloud Learning Services, underscores the importance of this endeavour. “Organisations often cite 'lack of skilled workers' as one of their biggest barriers to digital transformation. This skills gap is further compounded by the significant underrepresentation of women in the cloud field, who represent only 14% of the global workforce,” she explains.

Erin Rifkin, Managing Director of Google Cloud Learning Services

This motivated Google Cloud to create the Google Cloud Launchpad for Women programme, aimed at helping customers upskill their teams while empowering more women across industries with cloud and AI skills. “We launched the first version of the programme in March of this year,” Rifkin says, “and we were impressed by the level of demand from our customers. We had over 5,000 people, with a wide range of titles from CEO to IT analyst, sign up for the program, representing major Global 2000 companies like Electronic Arts, Highmark Health and Palo Alto Networks.”

Ensuring everyone has a stake in shaping a new tech landscape

Lee Moore, VP of Global Google Cloud Consulting, explains the motivation behind the programme: “With AI as a significant inflection point, it's crucial that we, as an industry, ensure everyone has a voice and a stake in shaping this new landscape. That means actively making training and resources more accessible to those who have historically been underrepresented in tech, so they can be part of this exciting future.

“At the end of the day, everyone wins when we build a larger, more skilled workforce. It helps open doors to lucrative, in-demand careers for people from all backgrounds, whether they're in tech, marketing, HR, retail, or manufacturing. AI truly has the potential to benefit every industry and every role.”

To help organisations – and the industry itself – combat the gender gap, the programme offers a comprehensive suite of resources to help participants achieve the Cloud Digital Leader certification at no cost, including a complimentary exam voucher, instructor-led training, dedicated exam prep sessions and expert panels on generative AI.

Lee Moore, VP of Global Google Cloud Consulting

A key strength of the programme is its accessibility to participants with diverse backgrounds and expertise levels. “We've designed this programme as a gateway into the world of Google Cloud skills,” Rifkin notes, “ensuring it's accessible to a wide range of participants, regardless of their role or expertise level.

“This is reflected in the program’s diverse participant pool, which includes CEOs, developers, UX designers, business analysts, product managers, and HR professionals from some of our biggest customers.”

Furthermore, the program addresses unique challenges women face in tech. The program fosters a supportive environment where women can connect, share experiences, learn collaboratively, and lift each other up.

The impact has been remarkable, with participants and customers praising its effectiveness. “We've heard inspiring stories of participants who finally aced certification exams thanks to our expert instructor and supportive learning environment,” Rifkin says.

Already, the programme has directly facilitated career advancement for many participants, as organisations increasingly seek to fill the growing demand for cloud and AI skills. As Marija Radulovic-Nastic, Chief Technology Officer at Electronic Arts, attests: “Google's Launchpad training has provided skill development across AI, machine learning and cloud technology, helping to enhance the proficiency and education of our teams across Electronic Arts and empowering them to lead future transformation.”

Looking forward, Google Cloud is exploring expanding the programme to other regions and groups, including offering it in Spanish and extending it to students, nonprofits and government workforce programs.

The long-term goal extends beyond individual advancement. As Moore envisions: “Success for the Google Cloud Launchpad for Women program goes beyond simply providing training. It's about fostering a thriving community of skilled women who are empowered to drive innovation and shape the future of cloud and AI technologies.

“As more women gain expertise and confidence in cloud and AI, they will become powerful advocates for change, inspiring others to follow their lead. By empowering women with the skills and confidence they need to succeed, we're not only investing in their individual careers but also in the future of technology itself.”

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