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Will I be treated differently in an IT career as a woman?

I have heard that the IT industry is mostly men. So, I was wondering if I will be seen as a woman who is not capable of doing certain things. Will I be given the same opportunities? #technology #it #information-technology #computer-science #computer


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Archana’s Answer

Great question, Gabriela. I can tell you based on my experience that women have held multiple positions within an organization in IT field, and continue to do so. There are definitely more males than females, however more and more organizations are focusing on diversity and inclusion, so I do believe the trend will change. I have never experienced treatment any different than another colleague. What is valued the most is hard work, integrity and passion for your job. I have been involved with multiple organizations like "Women Who Code" and "Society of Women Engineers", and I would encourage you to engage with such organizations to learn more about the industry and prepare yourself for a career in IT.


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Jaikumar’s Answer

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Gabriela, women play various roles in IT. From System Analyst( gathering Requirements on what needs to be built) to Application Developers (coding the requirements in various languages like C#, Java etc) to Quality Assurance(testing the code and interfaces itself). They also lead projects as Project Managers. They help build databases, complete infrastructure work etc. I have seen women in all phases of IT projects and operations. When I started out of college I had little knowledge about our systems, how they integrated, how to code using company standards etc. My peers, both women and men, coached me to become better at my job. You will use the skills you learned in college and expand them ten fold. Everyone starts at some place and then grows as a professional. As long you have interest, the desire to work hard, learn and ask questions you will be successful and respected. Women are valued and well respected in our group. Their contributions, their thoughts and ideas are appreciated by all members of the team.


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Adam’s Answer

STEM jobs (including IT) are still held by more males than females. However, that is changing more and more.

That being said, if you can accept the challenge of being NOT in the majority, I think you can actually have MORE success because you are rarer. I know multiple amazing female CIOs, Managers, and very talented Individual Contributors. Diversity of THOUGHT is way more important than diversity of APPEARANCE.

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Megan’s Answer

Hi Gabriela,
The short answer is unfortunately yes. My first experience started right off when I was hired at $10K less than a male colleague with the same experience. I didn't walk away at that time, because it allowed me to get into the company. My way of dealing with it was to run circles around this person and I became far more successful than he in the long run.

I love my work, it is interesting, challenging and a lot of fun at times. More than my work, I am so very thankful for the really amazing people that I've had the opportunity to work with and in many cases, are now a part of my life as good friends. My three best friends for many years are all male, as yes, it is still mostly a male dominated field. But as is the case with my friends, a good many of the males I know will never treat you as a second class citizen and you should never allow yourself to be treated as such.

If this is your area of passion, you will need to have thick skin and also be ready to stand-up for yourself, even if it means walking away from a job or a toxic environment. As more and more females go into the engineering field, I hope that this will change for the generations coming ahead.

Best of luck to you.
Megan

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Sherrill’s Answer

That is an insightful question you pose. My career has spanned several decades and although I have witnessed many changes and more career opportunities for woman, it will be up to your generation to demand and achieve parity. Just remember that you deserve a seat at the table and your gender should have no impact on your opportunities. I look at the Board of the Fortune 500 companies and note that women only hold 10.6% of those positions. That is the bad news! But the good news is this is an increase of 18% since 1994. 50.8% of the US population is women, so that should be our goal for Board representation as well. I hope you will be one of those women who help to change the make-up of the Boards of US Corporations so women are represented more fairly.


My career has spanned several decades and although I have witnessed advancement for woman, but it will be up to your generation to demand and achieve parity. Just remember that you deserve a seat at the table and your gender should have no impact on your opportunities. I look at the Board of the Fortune 500 companies and note that women only hold 10.6% of those positions. That is the bad news! But the good news is this is an increase of 18% since 1994. 50.8% of the US population is women, so that should be our goal for Board representation as well. I hope you will be one of those women who help to change the make-up of the Boards of US Corporations so women are represented more fairly.


It will be up to your generation to demand parity. You deserve a seat at the table and your gender should have no impact on your opportunities. I look at the Board of the Fortune 500 companies and note that women only hold 10.6% of those positions. That is the bad news! But the good news is this is an increase of 18% since 1994. 50.8% of the US population is women, so that should be our goal for Board representation as well. I hope you will be one of those women who help to change the make-up of the Boards of US Corporations so women are represented more fairly. Good luck--I am rooting for you!


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Gail’s Answer

Hi Gabriela. I am a woman in IT and have been in this business for 39 years. It has been a lucrative as well as interesting career so I have stayed with it. At first I was the only woman in a room full of men. I have found in my experience that women in IT have been and still are treated differently from men. We make less money then men do. We have been targets for harassment, etc. I fought against that for decades for myself and to pave the way for women like you to get into STEM. Our intelligence is needed in this field. Now more than ever there are women in leadership positions so it has become steadily more welcoming over time, and men in IT have learned our value. In turn I value the diversity of all of my colleagues. Be fearless, be yourself. Good luck!

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