Just like other male-dominated industries, the technology industry presents both opportunities and challenges for women. It also comes with its own set of distinct barriers. If you are looking for someone to create your website, or if you are having a problem with your server, you would likely call your company’s IT department. Chances are you will be dealing with a man. Where are the women tech professionals then? In the United Kingdom alone, women make up only about 18 percent of the total IT workforce—this is according to a report released by eSkills, a sector skills organization. According to the founder of Women in Technology, Maggie Berry, more and more companies these days are looking for females in their IT departments. However, a survey done by the company last year also revealed that a lot of women were being overlooked for promotions in favor of a male co-worker. According to the survey, more than 60 percent of female respondents have been working in the technology sector for more than a decade, but only 26 percent of that number have been promoted to board or senior management positions. Here are some great career tips for women in the tech industry
Many technology recruiters are eager to hire more women but are unable to do so because they never come across your resume. For women, it is important to be speculative and strive for jobs that will stretch their skill set.
Studies have found that when women look at job qualifications, they often feel like they need to be able to do 100 percent of it before they submit a resume, whereas men are usually more speculative and will apply for that job even if they know they have much to learn. In this way, men are often more likely to stretch their skills and set out to prove to themselves that they can do more.
In the same study, approximately 90 percent of respondents said that they need to qualify for at least 75 percent of the job description before they forward an application.
While applying for jobs with just ambition and no experience will rarely lead to success, more women need to aggressively pursue tech positions that they can grow into rather than master right away. Ambition and self-confidence are key.
Self Promotion is the Key
All positions are to some extent about self-promotion. The small number of female professionals working in technology means that creating a recognizable profile may, for a time, be even easier. When you examine tech conference lineups, you’ll notice that most of the speakers are men.
Women tend to have their heads down and focus on getting work done. Your IT skills should speak for themselves, but in order for you to advance in this career, you also need to promote yourself to the public. Speaking at conferences and events is a great way of sharing expertise and letting people know what you are doing.
Advocating for yourself in the public realm is one way to excel professionally, and inspire other women to be equally vocal.
Look For a Sponsor
Find a mentor or an experienced professional in the industry that will offer you career advice. It is also best to find a sponsor or somebody in your organization who roots for you, showcases your work, and pushes you to be promoted.
Many women may feel aloft and isolated in an industry that is too crowded with male colleagues, so it is crucial that they have individuals looking out for them and strong role models.
Leverage Professional Networks
This isn’t just about your social networks online. The more professionals you know in your industry, the more help you can get. Networking is something that needs to be done right at the beginning of your career.
It should be a part of your professional life. Join professional organizations and networks in your neighborhood. You need people around for the best advice.
Avoid Acting Like a Man
Women should progress even without adapting traditional “male” qualities, be it aggression, dominance, or anger. Whatever your workplace culture is, it is important that you remain true to yourself.
The majority of the respondents also said that women who work in the tech industry are generally labeled as “geeks”. This image needs to change so that more women will be attracted to the field.
Be Updated Even With a Career Break
The tech industry loses a lot of brilliant and talented women who find it pretty hard to get back in the game after a career break with kids.
The tech industry is driven by the word “change”—every now and then, you will see advances in technology and software updates. Make sure you know the latest industry software and trends. Do all your research before you get back into the game.