There is no doubt that the Technology industry has and continues to grow at a rapid rate with terms such as AI, IOT and RPA taking the world by storm. In 2019 alone it is estimated that over $5 trillion will be spent on technology, leaving very little doubt that technology will continue to grow at rapid rates.
While there are plenty of opportunities in the field of technology, with research showing that a gender gap is bad for business, and with numerous initiatives aimed at boosting the profile of women in technology. The reality remains that building a career in technology has proven more difficult for women than it has for men with only a quarter of all computing roles being filled by women.
That being said, there are a number of companies and professionals who are making great strides and incredible contributions to the industry.
Here’s what you need to know about being a Woman in technology.
The only woman in the room
“The gender balance in the software engineering teams is disappointing,” says Sarah, Software Development Manager. “I used to have a manager who’d say to me ‘You’re my favorite female tech lead!’ It was a running joke because I was the only female tech lead, and for a long time the only female developer.”
There is no doubt that being the only woman in the room can be intimidating. However, we are seeing an increase in female’s entering the tech field and despite the few female developers there is a better representation of women at team lead, manager and director levels. “I think for a lot of women, even when they’re very technical and very interested in coding, they start stepping beyond software development into those ‘collaborator’ roles. And these collaboration and communication skills naturally elevate them into a team leader or manager,” says Niamh Bohan.
The benefits of gender diversity
Of course, the benefits of having a diverse workforce are widely known. Gender-diverse companies are 15% more likely to earn above-average revenue and teams with 50/50 gender diversity outperform other teams in quality of work.
Lets be honest most software is used by both men and women who see things very differently, so when you only have only men develop a software you miss out on use cases and on the full understanding of how your clients are going to use the product.
Aside from product development, it is clear that mix gender teams also get along better together with fewer conflict and issues. “When you have high conflict situations, it’s very unusual that that would be among mix groups. We seem to be programmed to get on better as a mixed group rather than all male or all female,” says Niamh Bohan.
Being Taken Seriously
It is no surprise when we hear that over 63% of women in the tech field believe that their biggest challenge is “Being taken seriously in the industry, due to gender perceptions.”
We often hear how women are delegated menial tasks, and are overlooked for promotion, yet, that being said, it is also equally true that there are more and more organisations, colleagues and managers who are super supportive of women in technology. So if you feel like you are not being valued find the right organisation with a positive gender diverse culture that will encourage you to grow.
Female Role Models In The Industry
Slow but surely we can see a change in the number of high profile female role models in technology but there are sadly still not enough.
To counter this we need more female speakers. How often do you attend a tech event where 90% of the presenters are male? In the same way, how many times have we seen media coverage of large scale ransomware attacks where all the experts brought in to comment are male?
Women also want to see role models within their own organisations, they want to see that women have the same opportunities as men to climb the career ladder.
Why women should choose tech
With the variety of roles available in technology from engineering to design, UX research to management, there is no question a career in technology can take you anywhere.
“You can reinvent yourself as many times as you want. There are so many different types of projects and job roles. And there’s so much technology out there; it’s growing by the day. It’s hugely varied really vibrant so many opportunities for women.” Says Niamh.
Choosing a career in technology might seem overwhelming but it doesn’t have to be. The beauty about technology is that it is so vast and untapped that you don’t need to be a coding specialist or tech whizz to work in the field. You can forge my own path in technology and apply your own skills and knowledge.
A few tips
Being a woman in the field of Technology is no easy feat but here are a few tips to help you overcome the hurdles:
- Nr 1 Rule: Stop apologising!
Stop apologising when you’ve done nothing wrong. The tendency to over-apologise is dangerous; it essentially creates self-doubt and can cause people to question your abilities, especially if you keep taking the blame for something you had no control over. Believe in your actions and then stand behind them.
- Be your authentic self
You don’t need to fit into a certain label to do what you love. People often have the misconceptions that IT professionals need to be anti-social nerds but lets be honest that is far from so don’t change who you are to fit into peoples ideas of who you should be.
- Call out the people who don’t take you seriously
This can be a tough one especially if you prefer to avoid confrontation, but if you don’t stand up for yourself who will. Often you will find that the perpetrator is totally unaware of their action and a diplomatic confrontation will normally result in a changed behavior.
- Its ok to Brag
It is Ok to Brag a little and let people your achievements or when you’ve finally cracked a problem you’ve been struggling with. If you can’t bring yourself to brag a little then find a brag buddy who can do this for you. It totally works!
- Keep the faith
Keep reminding yourself that you are good at what you do, and that being a woman of technology means you are an inspiration to someone out there.
- Stick together
If you are a woman of technology you know how tough it can be out there. So stick together, encourage each other and most of all be that mentor to other women thinking of joining the field we love…called technology.