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How is it being a female in a male-dominated career?

I am majoring in Computer Science and it is clear to me that there is a huge gender-gap. I am a bit worried about being over-looked because I will be a female in a male-dominated career. Any tips on how to stand-out and how to not let the gender-gap affect you?

Thank you so much for your guidance.

#expertise #career #stem #women #technology


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Christa’s Answer

Hey Alexandra!

This is a valid concern considering women in the workforce haven’t always had equal treatment. We have made great strides. I am privileged to work for a leading technology company that goes out of their way to ensure women are treated just as equally as men. My tips for you:

Start doing your research now on potential employers. How to they stack up in equal pay treatment and benefits? (As an example, do they have benefits for working mothers?)  Do they have a good representation of women in leadership? These are great indicators that your business doesn’t see worth based on gender, so much as skillsets.

Another piece of advice would be to focus on your skillsets and being proactive with strengthening them. Find some mentors in the field and interview them on what their career path was and what skillsets they are strong in to get where they are currently.  


Going in, focus less on your gender and more about showing them what you bring to the table.

You’ve got this! :)

Christa recommends the following next steps:

Do your research now on potential employers
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Seek career mentors.
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Hi Christa: I like your advice to Alexandra; something I would tell my young nieces that are still in high school. Sheila Jordan

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Rita’s Answer

I would say be yourself, and do not let anyone make you feel incompetent. Know your worth! Alot of times women feel they have to be humble and downplay their knowledge....don't be that way! Also, if you have mentors in your industry that you can leverage to have your back...that helps.


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Prashant’s Answer

You must have heard a lot from females on this topic. Here is a man's perspective. My one line answer would be - CONTROL THE CONTROLLABLES. Stop worrying about things that izs beyond your control. The sad truth is that the diversity ratios are heavily skewed in favour of men meaning there are far more men in the industry compared to women.

As a result of gender diversity being so heavily skewed up, you will see lots of men occupying the higher positions. However, that does not mean women are not given their dues. If you perform well there is no reason why you would not group up the ladder. Lot of big companies keep an eye on this fact and work accordingly towards empowering women at the work place.

So the only thing you need to worry about is your performance. If your performance is right up there, the chances of you being overlooked is slim. By the way, there are so many men who feel they are not getting their dues all the time in any industry. Not everyone gets promoted every year. Managers have got to make the hard choice of determining the best performers. And I don't see a reason why they will not select a women if she is really performing well and beating others and presenting better metrics.

In short, do not worry about what you cannot control. If you are really good, recognition will follow sooner or later as it happens with other men out there in the industry. Below are some of my suggestions for you to standout from the crowd:

1. Be a good human being. Good people always enjoy other people's goodwill
2. Help others in your team
3. Communicate well within and outside your team
4. Be a smart worker rather than hard worker. Being smart does not mean being manipulative and not work hard. All it means is you should be able to showcase your work at higher platforms rather than just putting your head down keep working hard without knowing/showcasing what difference your work is creating for your organisation.
5. Be visible within your hierarchy meaning people up the ranks must know who you are and what your contributions are for the Org.

Hope this helps.


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Prerna’s Answer

I totally understand the thought process behind asking this question and hence I am answering accordingly. Yes, STEM has lesser number of women compared to other fields . That's the more the reason to encourage women to join STEM fields. My favourite thing is get to do what I love. I work as Technical Consulting Engineer and I solve Customer's problems everyday , interact with them and help them through different processes. 

Having said that , every job has its fair share of prejudices and cons. Be rational and practical.

If you are passionate about learning and working in STEM field , don't let your gender be a roadblock. Decide exactly which vertical you want to join and how you want to progress in your career then focus on that and go about it.

As long as you keep learning and excel at your job , anyone else's prejudice shouldn't be a cause of concern. My colleagues , both male and female always motivate me do my best . Research says that mix gender workforce is more productive than single gender ones.

Also with regards to being talked down , If you ever face such a a scenario at workplace be sure to inform your manager or concerned authorities. Every company has gender diversity cell or HR who addresses such concerns.


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Anu M’s Answer

I totally get where you're coming from. I've been part of an industry for the past 10 years where at any given time, there are more men in a meeting room than women. Initially, I didn't really notice the difference, but the more time you spend in such environments, you become more conscious of this fact.

Trust me when I say this, once it comes down to the work that needs to be done, there is mostly never any bias. The only way to have people take you seriously is being the best at what you do. If you are, you will be the one they call on for anything that is important. It is crucial to block out the noise and keep doing what you do. Join all diversity related conversations that targets making changes and stand at the front line to make it happen.

Most importantly, mentor other women in your field and empower them - share stories that inspire them to reach their full potential. Do this frequently, because when more women rise up and feel empowered, we will be closer to achieving equality in the technology space.

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Rachel’s Answer

Something I've found as a woman who's worked in male-dominated spaces is that:

1: Sometimes it really sucks. Sometimes you will be in situations where you are discriminated against because of who you are. Just know that you don't want to work in an environment where differences are perceived as weaknesses. That is a stagnant, rotting environment.
2: It can be challenging at times to not conform to the culture around you. Humans are told, both implicitly and explicitly, that traditionally "female" traits (collaboration, humility, empathy, etc.) are a liability in the corporate world. In my career, I've found that it's these traits (in addition to others in my personality) that have actually helped me professionally. What it boils down to is be yourself. If you're aggressive, go ahead and be appropriately aggressive. If you're inquisitive, ask questions without fear of being perceived as "stupid." Not only will it make you happier in your job, but your unique perspective may also result in faster problem solving, increased creativity, boosts in team morale, or a new way to think about leadership.
3. Protect yourself as much as you can against bias (unconscious or otherwise) by tracking your own performance. You are responsible for your own growth, make sure you can defend a request for a promotion or other ask by being able to give your manager hard numbers, positive feedback from your colleagues, and anecdotal evidence of your outstanding performance.

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Lori’s Answer

Hey Alexandra: It's not always easy being a woman in a male-dominated field, but if you're doing work you enjoy, and are willing to do some research into employers, it's definitely worth it. As a woman who has been working in software development for many years, I've found that I'm happiest in organizations where there are already some women in leadership roles at the company. That's a good sign that the company values and promotes women. I also look for companies that have internal groups that support women, like women-in-tech get togethers. When these groups exist, you have a built-in community you can turn to for support. You can get a good sense of whether a company will be supportive of women when you interview there:

-See if there are women on the committee interviewing you. If there are, you can ask them about their experience at the company. If there aren't, it's a sign that you might be on your own. That's OK as long as you know what you're getting into.

-Ask in the interview about how the company supports women and their careers. Ask both women and men. If only the women can speak to this, that's an indication that the whole company isn't on board yet and you may struggle there.

Lori recommends the following next steps:

Research any company you're interested in to see if there are women in leadership roles.
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Divya’s Answer

Hi Alexandra,

First of all Congratulations on your achievement so far. Do not classify your dream job as a male dominant industry !! You will find all kinds of people in your life males who support you and oppose you females who support and oppose you . The way people deal with you showcases their personality and it should not influence you . I working in IT Networking field and trust me the world is filled with lot of people who will choose to support you. Focus on self improvement and skills see if things beyond the gender and see if there is really something you can do to improve yourself to achieve your goal. The more you focus on your development and goals the more you will see people supporting you in your path and the rest of the world who do not require your attention will fade away. You can climb up the career ladder like any other counter part.Join the industry and walk the path and make it your own.

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Nancy’s Answer

One of the greatest things about being a woman in a male dominated field is that you automatically DO stand out. I have found it be an advantage - people remember me more than my male peers because there are so many of them.

Early in your career, focus on adding value in what ever situation you find yourself in. Be willing to help others - but speak up for yourself and own your work. The more wins you put on the board - the less people will think of you as a woman, the more they will simply come to understand your talent.


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Allison’s Answer

I worked in hotel management for 10 years, which is a very male dominated field. I found that I gained the most respect by treating the men I worked besides and under with the same force, confidence and social grace that I bring to my relationships with the women in my life. It can be intimidating and sometimes I wanted to "play the role" of woman in the office, That only gave others the chance to treat me differently. If you own who you are and the experience you bring then it shouldn't matter who you're working with. Let your skills and performance speak for itself :)


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Kasturi’s Answer

Knowing that you are a major in Computer Science is good. Yes, there is a huge gender-gap. You don't need to be worried as many companies and more companies are focusing on diversity based hiring, If you have the right skills and you are trying for a job in the right company you wont find this challenge.

Please talk to friends and people in the industry to get more details. In my team, i have hired women employees with Computer science background and networking background. Good luck.

Kasturi recommends the following next steps:

Try to connect with peers and friends from the Computer Industry
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Companies like Microsoft, IBM, Cisco, Accenture are all looking for diversity (gender diversity) candidates. Check for skill sets needed in the company Websites
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Shikha’s Answer

I work in a networking domain and the ratio is less as compare to men but if you know your job well no one will question you no matter what.


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Reya’s Answer

Computer Science has been male dominated space for a long time. I knew this before choosing computer science as my major, but really understood the gap when I found there to be only 10% females in class, and I ended up being the only girl in my team at my first job.
This can sound intimidating, but the key factor here is are you interested in what you are doing? Only then can you strive to be great at it. Don't let the gender ratio be a deterrent in you achieving your goals.

Also, before joining an organization, make sure you research on how inclusive the company is; for females, LGBTQ+ etc. This is a good indicator of the culture of the company, which should be an important criteria in accepting a job offer.

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Sarah’s Answer

I am coming at this from a different direction to most, but am in a lucky position that I speak with women in technology almost every day as candidates looking to join our organisation. In fact, I am proud to say the majority of my senior stakeholders are actually women, and I work for one of the biggest technology companies in the world.
My advice would be that if you are working in the right company, you don't need to prove yourself any harder 'because you are a woman', but you should want to prove yourself because you love what you do and it's the right attitude to have as a technologist.
You may encounter prejudices or other negative issues, so try to be resilient, and frankly, call out poor behaviours as there is no excuse for it.
- Be visible in your organisation.
- Don't be afraid to make mistakes, but always learn from them.
- Always be learning and growing - stay ahead.
Good luck!

Sarah recommends the following next steps:

Feel free to reach out directly for a more detailed conversation if you like
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Sonya’s Answer

Alexandra...First of all congrats in choosing a great field to pursue in your career. Second, think about why you made that choice and the steps you need to take to get your degree and land a job with the right company. Third, think about all the women who were the "first" in their field. They went for it regardless of who was there before since they knew they were passionate about what they wanted to do and determined to make a success of it regardless of their gender. With effort and determination you will be successful.


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Linda’s Answer

It's a good question.

People may think it's very hard and quite challenging at the very beginning, and indeed it requires courage for females to start in a male dominated career.

The good thing is many leading companies are aware of the importance of diversity(e.g. gender equality), it's an advantage being a female engineer at times. For example, we have "connected women" and "women in Cisco" in my organization which I am very proud of, we have lots of community activities to help female engineers grow.


Linda recommends the following next steps:

I would also like to recommend a book " Lean In: Women, Work and the Will to Lead" written by Sheryl Sandberg, who is chief operating officer (COO) of Facebook and founder of Leanin.org. This book is very inspiring and hope you can get something from there.
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Nicole’s Answer

Every field on the planet benefits from having both male and female counterparts. The Construction Industry has recently realized that women are a much needed asset for managing relationships, contracts, vendors and teams. The reason is that we are good at it.

The best advice I could give is be yourself.

Having confidence in your skill set, your unique perspective and background will be enough if you have the knowledge and ability to perform the job function.

Your capacity to be professional and dedicated to your job along with good performance should be all that is needed to fit in anywhere.

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Maureen’s Answer

Hi there! I'm a software engineer, and I look around my workplace, and see statistics that remind me of this almost every day. Good news is, more women are working in tech than ever before and there are great organizations that will help you connect with your peers. One organization is ChickTech https://chicktech.org/, which has chapters across the US and hosts local and annual conferences. When I've attended ChickTech events, and other women in tech events, I've found it easy to find people who look like me, have similar backgrounds to me, and were struggling with similar problems. It felt good to have people to talk to! And it's taught me the importance of helping others in their careers too. We are so strong when we work together!


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Adam’s Answer

I would tell you that if you are working somewhere that it would even be a factor then it isn’t the place for you. I have 7 General Managers who work for me and proudly 5 are female. They are amazing employees and gifted leaders. Your effort and engagement is what is important not your gender!


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Angie’s Answer

Confidence is key. Being able to prove that just because you are female you, are as good I'd not better than your peers. Work everyday to prove you got that career because you deserve it!


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Denitsa’s Answer

Hi!

You can go through this article:

You rarely see another soul in the ladies room. On too many occasions, you’ve been mistaken for someone’s assistant. Sound familiar? For many young, successful women, “making it” professionally means learning to master male-dominated workplaces where boys’ clubs still somehow pervade.

In college, I lived with seven girls. And so, perhaps it was no surprise that I found the transition to investment banking—where I was the only female analyst in my group’s class—to be rather challenging. But from finance, I jumped into sports, and I have yet to look back.

And along the way, I picked up some practical tips for thriving in the office—even when the gender ratio isn’t in your favor.

1. The Squeaky Wheel Gets the Grease

Chances are, your male colleagues are constantly vocalizing which opportunities and projects they want—and you might be sitting there, working hard, and waiting to get what is rightfully yours.

Sadly, most bosses are too busy to figure out what the most equitable project allocation is, and it often comes down to who yapped last to them about that hot media deal or the new partnership your company is launching. If you aren’t good at grabbing your boss in the hall or during your morning coffee break and bringing up the projects that excite you, then schedule formal time to check in at least once a month and let your boss know what you’d like to work on.

2. Beer is for Bonding

The best career opportunities often come out of interactions outside the office—often over a beer. The guys I’ve worked with would grab beers all the time—and I quickly learned to join them, whether or not I felt like drinking that particular night. And if you’re not invited (yes, this happened to me), create your own happy hour invitation—who can turn down a cold brewski?

3. Avoid Being Too Easily Offended

Guys have this thing at work called the Circle of Trust. You gain entry when they know they can be themselves around you, without being reported to HR. In the banking analyst bullpen, I heard every disgusting story there is to tell—but I stayed cool. And as a result, I eventually became part of the group and was included in the nights of ordering dinner in or going out for beers.

Note: There is a line, and “staying cool” doesn’t mean letting the guys cross it—sexual harassment is never OK.

4. Don’t Be Anyone’s Coffee or Lunch Getter

How many successful men in the workplace do you see picking up their boss’s lunch or coffee? If you’re not someone’s assistant, do not get in the habit of acting like one. Sure, maybe there are special exceptions when your boss is in fire drill mode or decides to treat a group for getting his coffee—but don’t make it a regular thing. And if your male peers aren’t chipping in—then you shouldn’t be doing it, either.

5. Don’t Be the “Yes” Woman

In the industries I’ve worked in, there’s tremendous pressure to work hard and keep an overflowing plate. Lunch and coffee runs aside, it’s all too easy to say yes to every project as you strive to “be a good employee”—but if you never say no, you’ll ultimately just hurt both yourself and your company. It’s important to stand up for the projects you really want to work on (see #1), and then push back at other times when you don’t have capacity. You can bet many of the guys say no—and you should, too.

6. Play to Your Strengths (Even When They’re Stereotypes)

The first week of my banking internship, my managing director asked me how the interns were doing and feeling. I’m willing to bet he asked me partly because I was the only woman there, and he assumed I was therefore most likely to know about people’s “feelings.” But you know what? I did. And thus started our mutually beneficial relationship: I gave him a live read of the pulse of the group he was managing, and he gave me the opportunity for senior exposure. Whether it’s listening, emotional aptitude, empathy, socializing or just being the den mother—if you have these strengths, play to them. They’re good qualities to demonstrate as a rising future leader, and, particularly in a workplace where those skills are in short supply, they’re also not a bad way to get noticed.

7. Get a Sponsor

A sponsor is a mentor who will promote you within your organization, who has your back, and who will tell the rest of organization—including the senior leaders—how great you are and how much you deserve recognition (and promotions). And like it or not, it can be nearly impossible to advance as a woman in a male-dominated workplace without a sponsor. Dr. Sylvia Ann Hewlett has written quite a bit about sponsorship, including its importance for women. What does it all mean for you? Start building relationships with your boss and other senior leaders from the beginning, and pay particular attention to cultivate those relationships with the individuals who believe in you and publicly support you—they are going to be your best advocates.


Source: https://www.themuse.com/advice/7-ways-to-excel-in-a-maledominated-workplace


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Dhairya’s Answer

Hi Alexandra,

Great question, and I think it is important to think about institutional challenges women and minorities face in stem. I'm not a woman, but I've had the privilege to work with many amazing women in the engineering and computer science space and hear their stories. I hope this response provides some general value.


I think Ken offers some good advice here, but I want to rebut his claim about finding the right fit through external validation (i.e. aptitude and personality tests, etc). This is precisely the bad advice leads to women and minorities dropping out of STEM or thinking they're not qualified to pursue it. The other advice he gives though is good. Definitely apply for internships, talk to women computer scientist and software engineers in field, and find mentors.


So to Ken's first and second point, don't do this. Aptitude tests are poor signals for your potential success in a given field and often test your ability to take tests and not actually the core concepts. The way you demonstrate you're a good software engineer is to write good good, which comes with practice and experience. Personality traits are a terrible proxy for "fit". The underlying research for personality traits in the workplace is very hokey, institutionally biased, and often serves to disadvantage women and minorities by selecting for traditionally white male traits (see refs below) . Additionally, it's not reflective of the diverse work environments out there. When you're on the job market, you'll learn to find which environments and teams you'll be most successful in. It may be trial and error. For me it was several poor environment fits, until I learned where I could be successful. It's ok when you struggle. You'll learn about yourself in the process.


The best test is learning by doing. Find a technical project (build an app, a website, whatever) you're excited about and do it. Ask for help if you need it, research on your own, and see how far you get. If you fail, totally cool. Are you motivated to pick it up again, or perhaps try a different project. If so, you're in the right space. It is very much about trial and error and finding the problem space that you find interesting (whether its a particular domain vertical, or perhaps a technical stack - front end vs backend or both). But you'll know what you find compelling and interesting by experimenting.


In my experiences working with amazing women in engineering and computer science, I've heard many stories where they felt they didn't belong and or felt couldn't make it. This was due peers, guidance counselors, and conversations with biased professionals in the field telling the them they weren't a good fit or they couldn't hack it. It's unfortunate, but the academic system and traditional IT shops (large companies with male dominated departments) often provide terrible signals as to your capacity for success. They can only measure how well you do at accomplishing tasks and instructions in rigidly defined and artificial circumstances. 


This is a bit of personal thing for me as well. I ended up majoring in English because I thought I wouldn't be able to be successful in CS. CS programs have pedagogically changed since I was in college and are taught much more effectively today. Theory is paired with practice, and foundational knowledge is explicitly taught. And if the program is lacking, there is many online resources to bridge the gap.


And as a heads up, I do machine learning and artificial intelligence research today. I was able teach myself the advanced math, statistics, and programming to be successful. So even if you end up not sticking with CS, if it a field you that you feel is a calling, you'll find a way back in.


It's often a terrible cycle of negative reinforcement, where searching for external signals may end up making you feel even more insecure. You'll unfairly compare yourself to others and get bad signals that aren't a true reflection of your potential. The only signal you should trust is your internal motivation and curiousity.


Here's some advice, which I hope maybe helpful:

  1. Surround yourself with the right people who are positive, ambitious and supportive. This could be other female STEM students, honest friends you trust, it could be professors, professional mentors and family. But try to build a support system where you can and engage them in the good time and bad times.
  2. Experiment a lot and don't wait to code. Computer Science is one of the few fields where there are no real repercussions to live experiments. You're not going to fry your computer writing bad code (unless you're cpu hacking, in which case be careful!). So explore different tools, frameworks, problem spaces and see where they take you. Some things will be interesting and some things will be boring. But they are all useful signals in your development as computer scientist. You'll learn where you struggle and will need to work harder and where you naturally excel. Reflect on which of those problem spaces were most exciting, motivating and fulfilling to you and look for professional opportunities there ( internships, coops, jobs, etc).
  3. Learn to trust yourself by making mistake often. This one is really hard, because we are often hardest on ourselves when we stumble and falter and mistakes can be costly. But the more mistakes you make, the more you learn about yourself. The biggest takeaway here is you can't alway control external circumstances but you can control the decisions you make. If you learn to trust yourself and are confident in the choices future you will make, you'll be able to weather adversity as it comes.
  4. Take risks and apply for moonshots. I too often see my women friends not apply for jobs and internships because they feel like they don't check all the boxes. At the end of the day, many of these opportunities are crapshoots. The worst case scenario is you get rejected, which is no different from the status quo where you didn't apply. But there's always a chance and the upside is alway worth that risk. And as an aside, if you get selected for that moonshot you think you're unqualified form, you are not unqualified. You were selected because they saw potential in you and believe that you will do what it takes to be successful.


Good luck!


References:


Aptitude Tests are Bad

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/answer-sheet/wp/2017/04/19/34-problems-with-standardized-tests/?noredirect=on&utm_term=.84dee1eecbc9


Limitations of Personality Tests:

https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2016/06/25/483108905/personality-tests-are-popular-but-do-they-capture-the-real-you


https://www.humanguide.org/images/Documents/pdf/Personality_Testing_Gladwell_eng.pdf


https://www.americanexpress.com/us/small-business/openforum/articles/dangers-personality-tests-screen-workers/


https://www.law.upenn.edu/journals/jbl/articles/volume4/issue2/Stabile4U.Pa.J.Lab.&Emp.L.279(2002).pdf


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Divya’s Answer

Hi Alexandra,

First of all Congratulations on your achievement so far. Do not classify your dream job as a male dominant industry !! You will find all kinds of people in your life males who support you and oppose you females who support and oppose you . The way people deal with you showcases their personality and it should not influence you . I working in IT Networking field and trust me the world is filled with lot of people who will choose to support you. Focus on self improvement and skills see if things beyond the gender and see if there is really something you can do to improve yourself to achieve your goal. The more you focus on your development and goals the more you will see people supporting you in your path and the rest of the world who do not require your attention will fade away. You can climb up the career ladder like any other counter part.Join the industry and walk the path and make it your own.

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Christina’s Answer

Hi Alexandra,


There are definitely challenges but I still find working in tech to be a rewarding career. My advice to you would be to not let imposter syndrome get the best of you.  Be prepared to deal with things like being talked over or having your ideas ignored by practicing how to combat those kind of situations and build relationships to help amplify your voice and successes. Research companies which are working to hire a diverse workforce. Look at their board of directors and senior management to see if how the diversity looks in leadership.  Network at local events and talk to people who work at the companies you’re interested in and ask questions about the culture and office environment. Networking can also help you get your foot in the door for an interview. ALWAYS negotiate your compensation. It’s very difficult to make up for a low starting salary without changing jobs to a new company. Research salaries and opportunities at least once a year. It’s always nice to see what else is out there and if you’re getting paid what you’re worth even if you think you’re happy where you are. Set and track measurable goals so you can provide quantitative data when it comes time to request a promotion or a raise.

Christina recommends the following next steps:

research companies
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build skills
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network
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always negotiate compensation
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smash the patriarchy
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Ken’s Answer

When you are involved in a career field, you are judged by the contribution that you are making to the accomplishment of the company's goal. As long as you do all that you can do to assist in that direction, you will do fine and will be treated based upon your accomplishments.


However, the most important thing for you to determine for yourself is if this area is the most suitable career field for you. Many people have the most problem with their career when they become involved in an area for which they are not well suited, as it affects their ability to perform and contribute to the company's goals.


Getting to know yourself and how your personality traits relate to people involved in various career opportunities is very important in your decision making process. During my many years in Human Resources and College Recruiting, I ran across too many students who had skipped this very important step and ended up in a job situation which for which they were not well suited. Selecting a career area is like buying a pair of shoes. First you have to be properly fitted for the correct size, and then you need to try on and walk in the various shoe options to determine which is fits the best and is most comfortable for you to wear. Following are some important steps which I developed during my career which have been helpful to many .

Ken recommends the following next steps:

The first step is to take an interest and aptitude test and have it interpreted by your school counselor to see if you share the personality traits necessary to enter the field. You might want to do this again upon entry into college, as the interpretation might differ slightly due to the course offering of the school. However, do not wait until entering college, as the information from the test will help to determine the courses that you take in high school. Too many students, due to poor planning, end up paying for courses in college which they could have taken for free in high school.
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Next, when you have the results of the testing, talk to the person at your high school and college who tracks and works with graduates to arrange to talk to, visit, and possibly shadow people doing what you think that you might want to do, so that you can get know what they are doing and how they got there. Here are some tips: ## http://www.wikihow.com/Network ## ## https://www.themuse.com/advice/nonawkward-ways-to-start-and-end-networking-conversations ## ## https://www.themuse.com/advice/4-questions-to-ask-your-network-besides-can-you-get-me-a-job?ref=carousel-slide-1 ##
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Locate and attend meetings of professional associations to which people who are doing what you think that you want to do belong, so that you can get their advice. These associations may offer or know of intern, coop, shadowing, and scholarship opportunities. These associations are the means whereby the professionals keep abreast of their career area following college and advance in their career. You can locate them by asking your school academic advisor, favorite teachers, and the reference librarian at your local library. Here are some tips: ## https://www.careeronestop.org/BusinessCenter/Toolkit/find-professional-associations.aspx?&frd=true ## ## https://www.themuse.com/advice/9-tips-for-navigating-your-first-networking-event ##
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It is very important to express your appreciation to those who help you along the way to be able to continue to receive helpful information and to create important networking contacts along the way. Here are some good tips: ## https://www.themuse.com/advice/the-informational-interview-thank-you-note-smart-people-know-to-send?ref=recently-published-2 ## ## https://www.themuse.com/advice/3-tips-for-writing-a-thank-you-note-thatll-make-you-look-like-the-best-candidate-alive?bsft_eid=7e230cba-a92f-4ec7-8ca3-2f50c8fc9c3c&bsft_pid=d08b95c2-bc8f-4eae-8618-d0826841a284&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=daily_20171020&utm_source=blueshift&utm_content=daily_20171020&bsft_clkid=edfe52ae-9e40-4d90-8e6a-e0bb76116570&bsft_uid=54658fa1-0090-41fd-b88c-20a86c513a6c&bsft_mid=214115cb-cca2-4aec-aa86-92a31d371185&bsft_pp=2 ##
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Anne’s Answer

Gender should not be a roadblock for you in your career,

As long as you set a goal and continuously learning new skills including soft skills, communication etc to achieve your goal. I had worked in one of manufacturing industry and now working in IT Tech industry, and I found many great females leaders & colleagues.

Finding mentors can be a great way for you to help your development


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Jamie’s Answer

Christa did an amazing job answering this question. I too am fortunate to work for that same company. I have worked with them for over 20 years and the focus we have now on ensuring women are treated equal has not always been there. I've had to deal with some pretty "boy's club" minded managers and people over the years. But, I didn't let it hold me back or stop me from being who I am or doing what I wanted. If that attitude shut a door, I found another one to walk through.

Things are very different than they were 20 years ago, but as others have also stated, just be yourself, don't focus on or let it be about gender-even if others do, be confident and know that you have options.

You can also surround yourself by a diverse network of people who want to see women succeed just as much as men. Because while I said don't focus on it, it is still a reality.

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Wendy’s Answer

Hello Alexandra,

I work in a technology industry where the majority of the senior leaders are male. Within my organization I have been lucky enough to be part of a program that helps develop female leaders and have received some amazing feedback that I would like to pass on. First, remember that you have a voice and a voice that should be heard. Men will speak up even when they only have a percentage of the answer/information and women tend wait until they are at 100% . If you have value to add add it! Second, no one is given a seat at the table you have earn it and take it. Be your own advocate. Make sure others know your value and worth. This is not being “braggy” or conceited this is being strong and taking the seat that belongs to you. Lastly, (I have heard this in many answers) be true to yourself. As a woman you bring a perspective and skill set that is unique and as you you bring so much more. Own that.


Good luck!




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Harshita’s Answer

Hi Alexandra!
This is a valid concern. I feel really priviliged to work in a company that values women and men as an equal.
Here are My tips for you:

1. Let your voice be heard- Recognize the value of your opinion and believe that what you have to share is worth listening to.
2.Take on a leadership role.
3.Don't be afraid to ask for a raise or promotion.
4.Become a person of value- No one will appreciate your contributions until you appreciate them yourself. Work to become known as someone who can be counted on.


Focus less on your gender and more about showing them what you can offer.

Harshita recommends the following next steps:

Be confident.
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Worry less about gender
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Rosalind’s Answer

Sad to say Computer Science is a male dominated field, but as someone who has worked in the field for the last 32 years I can say that if it's what you love doing it is worth it. One good thing was the recent creation of the Hidden Figures movie. It along with a number of activities reminding people that computer science actually started as a field for women, helping remind the entire industry that there is nothing about the industry that means it should be male dominated.

First and foremost be yourself, don't try to be like other people as it will make it much harder to enjoy what you are doing. Secondly, stand up for yourself, simple things like sitting at the table for a team meeting, not sitting to the side. Speak up when you have something to contribute. Don't be the one to take notes just because you are the female, let that be a rotation and/or ask if they are asking you just because you are the only women.

Don't underestimate your skills, generally speaking men apply for jobs or take assignments if they know just one of the required capabilities, women don't unless they have all of them. I am not saying exaggerate your skills but understand what you know and clearly articulate it. Just because you don't have all of the required skills do you have related skills? Can you use them to do what is required, make it clear but don't not apply because you are not 100% covering all the skills listed.

Be open to continuous learning, stay current with your skills. Get involved with activities that provide support, such WITI and SWE. Find mentors, both men and women to help you go through your career.

Don't assume someone else is taking care of your career, pay attention ask for what you want. Make it clear what your goals are to your manager, they can't guess.

Don't be pushed into project management or management if that is not what you want to do. If you want to stay a developer do it. One reason we have fewer female developers is they many times also make good managers and project managers so they get pushed that way. If you want to stay technical do it.

And last but not least, pay attention to the reputation of the company you are joining. There are some companies that are better than others, look for a good fit for what you want to do and your personality.

Software development is a great career, I have enjoyed my time so far, though at times there are challenges, at times I am pushing back, listing to others take credit for what I have done, or the idea I had, but over the long term, continually doing a good job, doing the right thing, and making it clear what you want can give you a long and successful career.

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