Despite a good faith effort by many tech companies to close the gender gap, women in tech still face an uphill battle. But that is no reason to give up on your dreams. Here are a few tips for carving out a strong career path as a woman in the tech industry.
Find a Support System
Superstars in the tech industry, whether male or female, didn’t get there on their own. But many women feel compelled to do it all, without asking for help. Now is the time to enlist your partner, your best friend, or your parents to assist you with carving out time to work on your career. Whether it’s babysitting, cooking dinner, or helping to clean your house, any daily tasks that you can offload onto your support system free up time for you to build your career.
Look for a Mentor
Even if you’re fortunate enough to have a housekeeper and a nanny, you will still need someone to guide you through your career journey. Ideally, your mentor will also be a woman in the tech industry. Women in tech face unique challenges, and someone who is already successful can help you learn to navigate those hurdles. As you gain experience in the field, you can pay it forward by mentoring another woman who is just getting started.
Learn the Business Side of Tech
You can stand out in a crowded field by sharpening not only your technical skills, but also your business savvy. After all, tech is still a business, and the goal is always to grow the company. Yet few tech experts, regardless of gender, are also well-versed in the business side of operations. Being an expert in both can help you defy expectations and shatter glass ceilings.
Set Your Goals High
Men tend to apply for positions if they meet most of the qualifications. Women generally only apply if they meet ALL of the qualifications. Remember when you were deciding where to apply for college and were advised to apply to a few “stretch” schools? Channel the memory of those applications and apply for jobs that might be a reach, but would be highly satisfying. You have nothing to lose.
Figure It Out as You Go Along
Billionaire business mogul Sir Richard Branson once said, “If somebody offers you an amazing opportunity but you are not sure you can do it, say yes—then learn how to do it later.” Basic improv classes are grounded in the concept of “Yes and…”—taking whatever your scene partner offers and building upon it.
Apply the principle of saying yes throughout your career. If you are in the tech field, you already know how to improvise and problem solve. Use those same skills as you grab opportunities that come your way and then figure out what to do with them. Sitting back and waiting will never help you get ahead.
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