What should you study if you're a girl and want to work in tech?
Is it harder for girls to work in technology than boys? #technology #tech #women-in-tech
Caitlin - I'm so glad you are interested in this!
I've worked in a variety of tech related jobs, from doing customer support for AOL dial up (yes, I'm a dinosaur) to working on mid-range computer programming (I was a business analyst, not a programmer), to working in process improvement (CMMI and Six Sigma) and database development, and now I've ended up way over here in Regulatory Compliance which has little to do with technology per se, but I am constantly doing IT development projects, as we use software all the time and need to improve it regularly.
I think, as women, we actually have an advantage in technology.My 'official' background is in technical theatre (I have a B.A. in theatre from a small women's college) and I have an MBA with a concentration in technology management. However, because I am flexible and able to make connections between things in ways that a lot of men are not, I've been promoted and given opportunities that others haven't for that reason.
You don't have to be a coder to work in tech - there are lots and lots of other positions where understanding the way the tech works and how it should be developed are critical and SDLC (software development life cycle) is a whole discipline in itself, and requires no coding, just an understanding of tech. Women are typically better at the human interaction side of software as well - and if you have an artistic or creative side, GUI design is critical to a decent software product.
Don't look at being the only girl in the room as an impediment. You are getting in on the the ground floor of a movement, and there is a lot of chance to learn new things and be the new expert. That's not a bad thing. Also, if you aren't afraid to speak up, it's been studied that women's voices (in terms of the tone of them) are actually more attention-getting in a noisy room. That's why women's voices are so often used for emergency announcements, etc. in public places. Don't be afraid to use your voice!
The other fun perks are being able to get in and out of the ladies room faster (men are often actually lined up to get in the mens room at tech conferences while women breeze in and out, believe it or not), getting preferential treatment when it comes to being stuck crawling under a desk to hook up a monitor, or carrying heavy stuff. I know darn well that I CAN do all those physical things, but it's nice to have an out - and it helps to keep your 'in charge' image intact, believe it or not. I wear skirts and dresses exclusively, am not afraid to use a pretty pen or have feminine accessories, but no one takes me any less seriously because of it. You can still be YOU and be in technology. Enjoy it!
Caitlin, this is a great question. I recently attended a summit in NYC addressing how we get more women in the technology field. I have been in the workforce for 10 years since college. My major was English and my minor was history. I also have a graduate degree in Creative Writing. However, my interest in technology began long before college. My parents used to keep me very up-to-date with technologies coming out because they never wanted me to be at a learning curve for anything. As a result, I was able to market and sell (with a creative background) and also train on technology products. Companies like Verizon and many others are looking for people just like you. If you have an interest, you should pursue it! It's true that the technology field is a predominantly male space, but we are seeing many more women step into positions that are more technical every day. As for things to study, that depends on what you would like to accomplish in the field. I began my interest with wanting to understand technologies and help others to incorporate those technologies into their lives and their businesses. That's why I went into sales. But you may have more of an interest into the interworkings of products and services and for that, you would want to have more of a technical study route. Engineering, Computer Science, Programing, and Information Security and Information Technology are all areas to take a look at. I hope this helps and best of luck!
I've worked in information technology for my entire career, so close to 20 years now. I started as a UNIX/Linux Systems Administrator and then moved into Network Planning and finally Cybersecurity. I didn't have a technical degree when I started (BA in Political Science), but I've since gone on to pick up an MS in Project Management, an MS in Information Systems Security, and I'm currently working on an MS in Information Security and Assurance (graduating June 2017). I also hold the CISSP and CISM certifications.
If you like hard sciences and math, then I definitely would suggest that you take programming classes in college. If you want more of a higher overview of technology, then going with information management or information security might be a good choice. Either way, remember that getting experience is key, so keep yourself open to opportunities to learn from people who know what they're doing. Enthusiasm for your topic is a definite bonus.
These are still very male-dominated fields. Currently I'm the only woman on a team of 6 men (including the manager). The most women I've ever worked with was 4, and that was for a team of about 15 people. I've encountered prejudice before, but as time has gone on things have gotten much better. It definitely gives you an opportunity for practicing your soft skills and keeping an even balance no matter what gets thrown at you!
I love your question! In my perspective (having worked at Dell for over 12 years) I think most of this gap is perception based and not really in reality. However there are a few things you should think about - I used to be in tech. support and then corporate sales which was mostly males, you need to understand how to communicate assertively and hone in on your command skills. If you can communicate your ideas clearly and back it up with great knowledge and performance, being a girl should be no issue at all. Good luck!
It depends on what you want to do. There are many different technical roles, some are more welcoming to females than others. However, never let that stop you if tech is your passion. Technology is an exciting place to work and it is always changing, there is always something new to learn. When you find a place that embraces that learning, that's a great place to be. I will tell you in addition to the technical courses and math, finding courses that can help you understand the human side of tech and to develop critical thinking skills can be an advantage as well.
come on, now nobody cares about your gender, but qualification. Completely don't worry about it. My case is a pretty long story. During my childhood my conservative environment tried to persuade I can't study anything scientific because of my gender. In the very beginning I believed in it and gave up all my interests about high-tech (even though I spent most of my free time on sitting in front of PC or video games). After many years of higher education I found my dream studies (information management) and I understood it's better to find your path later than never. I got another close friend who experienced the same (from English literature studies to PhD in advanced materials). Today it's much easier to achieve whatever you want than 100years ago ;) Remember, never give up because of others' opinion. Do what you love and compare yourself in prism of your achievements.
Hi- It depends on what type of position you're most interested in! There are many different options...it doesn't all have to be technical-roles. From operations to marketing, sales to enablement, there are many important functions that make a tech company successful. Math, engineering, computer science are good options for more technical functions. I have a background in Business, which allows you to go for other roles that are equally important to many industries, especially tech!
It shouldn't be any harder to find a position. however, if you find resistance, I suggest focusing on:
Math classes. This is a key foundation for programming jobs.
Any experience you can get programming. It doesn't matter what it is. If, for example, you build a web page, show off your strengths in what you build.
Many firms are following the advice of of people who study successful companies, who say it is always better to have a diverse workforce. History has shown that these companies do better. So, in an odd way, if you are in a group under-represented in a company, you might have an advantage! At least for companies that are forward thinking.
It is a great career for everyone!
My step daughter is top of her class at Linfield College in Oregon. She is a double major - math and physics and yes there are very few females in her department. With more young women pursuing technical and science people will be more accustomed to seeing them in those roles. I started in IT when I was 37 - after years of being in the administrative field. I don't feel that my being female made it more difficult, but what I did do was prepare. I gained Microsoft and Cisco certifications since I did not have a heavy work background to fall back on. I started out on a technical helpdesk and shot up from there. Confidence in your abilities and projecting that goes a long way in any field.
Great question - so glad you are considering a career in technology as it's a rewarding industry. First I would consider what areas of technology most interest you. You can do that by subscribing to some news sources like tech target. Then you can further think about what roles are available in that technology field. Remember not all roles require major math or science. Sales, marketing, human resources, and many other areas allow you to be in tech without being a scientist!
This is a great question and I'm going to give you the most honest answer - yes it can be. As a woman working on a male dominant field, we have to work harder to gain respect and fit into the "boys club." This is one of the reasons I like this field, because it's challenging. Woman have to show compassion but also need to work smarter. Once you have gained the respect of your colleagues and proven yourself, it becomes easier. I recommend that you focus on your area of expertise and learn it better than anyone. I also find that my experience in other fields help bridge the gap and make me valuable to my team. A huge challenge women face is the perception of power. It is ok for a man to be powerful and make decisions but when a woman challenges in the same way, they are thought of as difficult. Because of this, I have taken courses on critical thinking, leadership and psychology. Woman always feel they have something to prove, and we do, but approached the right way you can learn to become a valuable player on any team. I find many men think linear while women tend to think outside the box, this is a valuable skill. Good luck!
It has really changed over the years. When I started there were not a lot of Women in technical fields and even in programming. But I think even back in the 80's that this was more of a perception that women did not work in that field and thus there were not a lot. So it has been a gradual growth over the years. As far as suggestions and what you should study, It really depends on what area that you want to go into. So depending on your passion, Technology can cover vast areas. Telecommunications, Programming and new industry. I have been doing telecom since 1984 and I have constant learned something new. Be willing to accept change and to constantly think outside of the box or the bubble. Always strive to grow your skills and knowledge. Strong Math, project management and planning skills are a big PLUS.
Cailtin this is an awesome question. Ive been working in telecommunication for 15+ years. It was never an industry I was drawn to, just one I was good at. I loved math in high school. My recommendation is to study what you love and the rest will fall into place. The 'tech' world is wide open to your dreams and imaginations. Outside of school I would recommend participating in STEM groups and find local resources that you can partner with. My career has spanned many different opportunities but it was always doing something I loved. And lastly, take risks! Don't be afraid to try something new. Even if you fail, which I have done many times, it was always an opportunity to learn, grow and try again.
It's not about your gender, its about what you love to do. since you are starting your career 'assuming' it's always fun to try few things here and there from support, implementation, sales & marketing in the tech world then you can see where your heart goes too .. It essential that you love the career that you will pick by the end of the day because this will make you thrive, creative and shine ... Best of luck
Whatever you want and whatever you find relevant. When you type in a code, the computer will not ask who you are, what matters is how well you have written the code.
So, find your interests and the skills you wish to have. Find a mentor and Develop a career plan and nobody can stop you.
It is said that women have a tough time getting in tech, but try visiting conferences and events like GHCI and you will know, there are al lot of awesome women out there and some amazing men who are going to help you in achieve you want to be.
Hi Caitlin! Great question. Don't let traditional gender job roles in tech sway your thinking. I work for a leading high-tech company of 80K employees that has a 100% commitment to inclusion and diversity in the workplace. I'm in the network security industry and we hire a lot of systems engineers many of whom are female. Systems engineering is a great field to set your sights on. And, throw in some communications courses, project management, and you'll create a strong skillset that is in high demand across many industries.
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