The following is a guest post by Sara (Ms. Digital Diva)
Today’s tech industry has a new face, and that face is female. Though traditionally male dominated, more and more women are making their mark as leaders in the tech field. Contributing not only to the continuous advancements we’re seeing in technology, these women are making a point to build up one another and the young women who look up to them. Progress has been made, but there’s still work to be done. Here are some of the ways these women are doing it.
Hit the Ground Running
Just as important as the women who are already working in the tech field, are the young girls who aspire to be like them. Supporting these young women and girls to follow their passion and providing them with the necessary resources to reach their goals, is key to the future of tech. An example of these efforts comes from founder of Girls Who Code, Reshma Saujani, who aims to close the gender gap by providing an outlet for girls to explore their abilities and pursue interests computer science. Similarly with Women Who Code, Alaina Percival empowers women by offering services to assist in building successful careers in technology. Breaking out of the stereotypical boxes and utilizing these sorts of programs not only builds confidence, but helps those just starting out find their niche. This can have a important impact on professional development when it becomes time to specialize.
Pursue What’s Most Beneficial to You
There’s no stopping a woman with goals. Once you have that goal set, it’s up to you to do everything it takes to get it done. In this industry, technology is constantly advancing. To stay current, you must maintain a hunger for learning. Staying up-to-date with trends, and qualities that are most in-demand by employers, will keep you ahead of the game and closer to reaching your goals. This quality fortunately seems to come natural to women. According to HackerRank’s Women in Tech Report, women are incredibly practical in this sense, and tend to pursue proficiency in whichever languages are most valued at the moment.
It’s tough to admit, but getting more women in tech is still a work in progress, and in order to continue progressing we must work together. Rarely does anyone succeed in life without mentorship, guidance or at least support from others. There’s nothing wrong with asking for help. Taking the time to network with women who have earned a position you hope to achieve someday is essential in overcoming workplace challenges and clarifying questions. Even if you can’t get in physical contact with a role model of yours, keeping up with what their writing, saying and working on, can help you expand your own interests and continue learning. The process of working towards your ultimate potential is a long one, but embracing advice can help you get there efficiently.
Like anything in life, developing your professional career comes with lots of trial and error. You’ll succeed and you’ll fail, you’ll try things you like and try things you hate. It’s all a part of the process. When you’re the only woman in an office full of men it can be difficult to speak up or put yourself out there in fear of making a mistake. But if I’ve learned anything in my career, it’s that staying silent signifies acceptance and not involving yourself in situations that can help you grow only hurts you. Getting involved in groups, committees, projects, anything that interests you is the biggest piece of advice I can give. Not only will you expand your knowledge and experience, but it’s a great way to get to know others in the tech community. Building relationships is a key part of any profession, but especially in environments where you want to build confidence.
A final thought to take with you is, to always be advancing. So much of the technology industry is self development and striving to discover the next best thing. Curiosity is what will keep you afloat. Utilizing programs, and keeping up with verticals that interest you can help in develop strong points of view on emerging technologies. This is crucial as you grow in your career, as people generally listen to those who have something to say. What you don’t want to do is get swept up in the crowd and lose your voice. If tech is what you’re interested in than it’s where you belong, whether you’ve been studying it your whole life or just getting started. Never underestimate yourself and don’t confuse experience with ability. There are so many incredible women doing incredible things in the tech industry. All they need to be even greater, is you.