Caroline Caton is helping shape Bermuda’s financial technology approach through her internship at the Bermuda Government. The 19-year-old from Pembroke has worked on a multitude of projects concerning cybersecurity, digital commerce and Caroline Catoncyber awareness with the Department of ICT Policy and Innovation.

 

Throughout the past year, she has worked as the lead writer and editor of the 2017-18 IT Career Guide, helped draft a cybertips workshop curriculum and helped develop the Department of ICT Policy and Innovation’s 2018 Student Survey, which was used to help build a curriculum for Bermuda’s 2018 Digital Leadership Conference.

 

Her accomplishments garnered recognition from the University of Ontario’s Institute of Technology, her alma mater, and the Department of ICT Policy and Innovation, which named her a “Rising Star in ICT”.

 

As the daughter of a computer specialist, Caroline took interest in computers at a young age, seeing programming as “a simple solution to complex problems”.

 

Working with computers became a career goal by the time she reached middle school. She said: “I had this really amazing IT teacher who kind of showed me the benefits of how IT can progress you professionally.”

Caroline, soon to start her third year of university, has greatly attributed the experience to developing her programming, cybersecurity and computer architecture skills. While she recognises that computer sciences are a male-dominated field, recalling that many of her classes had around six men for every one woman, she appreciates the support of female colleagues. “You feel a little outnumbered, but I find that, because it’s such a small community, most women are supportive of each other. “There’s a really nice camaraderie there because we all think, ‘hey, we’re outnumbered, let’s band together’.” Caroline is working as a government intern with an all female team of four. They work with experts from abroad through BDA’s Fintech Department and are currently exploring the benefits of blockchain for businesses. Caroline believes the shift towards fintech could inspire young Bermudians to get involved with computers. “I know ConnecTech does coding classes for students already and I think that’s going to be expanding,” she added.

 

Caroline also stressed the importance of cybersecurity and understanding basic computer skills. She said: “With such a small island I think people don’t think that there’s ever going to be a threat to us because we’re just this little island and we’ll be left alone, but I think, with the more promise we get globally with this tech industry, I think we do have to be careful with cyber threats.”

 

Caroline will develop her understanding of cloud computing, cryptography and security systems in her remaining university years. She plans to finish school in 2020 with a degree in networking and IT security and a business minor in operations management.

 

The intern expressed her interest in computers by saying: “I constantly want to keep learning and developing knowledge and I think IT is the one industry that constantly updates every year so you’re never bored. There’s always something new to learn, there’s always something more interesting out there.”

 

She also said that those who are curious about computers can find resources outside of college, adding: “You can go online and learn how to code, or go on to Khan Academy for step-by-step guides or local programmes. “Do your own research and try and find an area that you’re interested in, then see what skills are beneficial for that area and try and develop those.”

On April 26th, the Department of ICT Policy and Innovation celebrated the winners of three competitions aimed to recognise women in ICT (Information and Communications Technologies) on the Island.

 

The department ran the competitions to mark the occasion of the International Telecommunication Union’s (ITU) Girls in ICT Day. The global effort is meant to encourage girls and young women to consider studies and careers in information and communication technologies (ICT).

 

Welcoming everyone to the event, the Minister of National Security, the Hon. Wayne Caines, JP, MP, said, “In Bermuda, the goal is to also encourage, foster and mentor young women as they enter the ICT industry and develop into tech leaders. This means, encouraging girls and women to pursue ICT studies; recruiting women into ICT related posts; retaining and promoting women in the ICT sector; and creating opportunities for girls to learn beneficial IT skills, like coding.”

 

The Minister encouraged all the women in the room to become tomorrow’s innovators, and shared that success will be driven by what they can do with what they know.

Women in ICT

 

In order to select the “Inspiring Woman in ICT”, the public was invited to nominate a woman who is based in Bermuda and who stands out in the Island’s ICT sector. The Department of ICT Policy and Innovation received many worthy nominations, confirming that women in the Island’s ICT profession are involved in diverse areas and providing services to their organisations and to the community. Ultimately, the judges selected Lisa Stevens, the Communications and Information Technology teacher for Mount Saint Agnes Academy.

 

Mrs. Stevens teaches Elementary through Grade 12 Computers and is committed to working with every student and helping teachers to integrate technology into their classrooms. She is committed to ensuring that her students of all ages can function in a world of technology. Whether it be cyber safety, using IT tools or learning how to programme, she gets her students involved and prepared for the real world. Mrs. Stevens also involves parents, sending information home, helping them understand what they need to know and encouraging conversations with their kids.

 

On receiving her award, Mrs. Stevens said, “I am honored to have received this award. My students inspire me every day and I love what I do. I believe that the more students are exposed to different technologies the more open they will be to the benefits technology can provide to their learning. Students need to know how to be safe, responsible and aware as they navigate this fast-paced digital world. There are many rewarding career choices in a variety of technical fields awaiting students who are proficient in the use of technology.”

 

The afternoon also showcased the results of the poster-colouring competition for Primary students. The image on the poster, created by artist Cristina Capelo, featured for the second time Bermuda women in ICT roles. This year’s profiles were:

o Angela Berry, Commissioner, Bermuda Regulatory Authority

o Kennette Naylor, Service Desk Manager, Bermuda Government

o Giselle Muhammad, Security Analyst, Butterfield Bank

o Carol, “Trailblazer”, Programmer and IT Auditor

o Caroline Caton, “Rising Star”, UOIT Cybersecurity Student

o And last year’s Inspiring Woman in ICT, Sloane Wilson, Cybertips Programme, Bermuda Government.

 

The 2018 prize winners were:

Lower Primary Competition (Primary 1-3):

o 1st - Austin Smith

o 2nd - Tori Phipps

o 3rd - Kailyn Butterfield-Pereira

 

Upper Primary Competition (Primary 4-6):

o 1st - Ezekiel Cordeiro

o 2nd - Ishe Hunidzarira

o 3rd - Ryan Cundliffe

 

Middle and secondary-school students were encouraged to produce 3 minute video on girls and ICT. Once again, the judges were given the difficult task of selecting the winners:

o 1st - Rickai Lightbourne Jr.

o 2nd - Katarina Rance, Lara Backeberg and Malsha Amarasighe

o 3rd - Ashlyn Lee, Skye Oliveria and Jasmin Williams

 

Dr. Marisa Stones, Director of the Department of ICT Policy and Innovation closed the afternoon’s activities by thanking the judges for their time and support for this initiative. She also expressed her gratitude to the teachers, parents and students who took the time to participate.

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