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Career Advice from Women in Tech

July 7, 2020

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When people think of jobs in technology they often seem to conjure up images of a stadium full of guys in hoodies, coding away at computers in the dark – but that couldn’t be further from the truth!

Women are moving from strength to strength in tech these days, and it’s an industry being led by the companies that are commited to nurturing women’s careers and giving them opportunities to thrive.

We spoke to 20 impressive women, some from our Endorsed Employers who we’re always so proud of. These women are smashing glass ceilings and creating amazing careers in technology. They shared their advice to women starting or changing their career to tech, and their words may just surprise you.

If you’re considering a career in the industry and you want to hear advice and stories from inspiring women who’ve built skills well beyond technical capability, read on!

Deborah Moore-Lai, Head of Protein Sciences – Abcam US

“It is incredibly important to always keep looking for new opportunities to learn. Boldly seize any opportunity you are presented with to continue building your toolbox of know-how. You never know where this may lead, but life is a continuous opportunity for bettering yourself and knowledge will take you there.”

Dawn Alderman, Site Head and Director of Product Development in Branford – Abcam US

“Be who you are and that’s who they’ll love”, my high school yearbook quote. I have kept that quote close to me and find that every time I veer away, I am quickly reminded that the key to being a strong leader is authenticity.”

Corvida Raven, Founder, EIC – SheGeeks.net

Girl, do you. With so many possibilities for anyone considering a career in tech, it might seem daunting or overwhelming to choose a starting point.

“I encourage women entering this field to seek and explore opportunities where technology can be leveraged alongside their existing skillsets or passions. Opportunities that resonate with who they and allow their full selves to show up, all while making an impact. This helps to keep one engaged and motivated in spite of the challenges we all face as women working in this industry.”

Wendy Anderson, IT Lead II – Agco

“When an opportunity to learn something new presents itself, say yes! Have an open mind and don’t be so afraid to fail that you don’t try. Embracing new challenges is a great way to expand your network and your skillset. My greatest growth came from pushing outside my comfort-zone.”

Diana Melick, Vice President, Information Technology, North America and Global Application Delivery – Agco

“Technology will offer you a world of opportunities. It is up to you to scoop them up. Step up to new challenges, step out of your comfort zone and learn from everyone! Do everything you do with Confidence!”

Jotaka Eaddy, Founder and CEO – Full Circle Strategies

The one piece of advice that I would give to a woman who is either starting or changing her career to tech is to “get out of your own way and know that you are enough”.

“Often “we” can be our biggest roadblocks. Self doubt or feeling the need to be overqualified before we make a leap are all factors that can stymie growth. This was certainly my truth. Despite all that I had accomplished in my career in politics and advocacy, I had self doubts about my ability to transition and be successful in tech. What I soon learned, was that not only were my skills transferable but they were needed. Not only was there a place for me in Silicon Valley, but there was a need for me and women like me.”

Donna Rooney, IT Project Manager III – Agco

“Technology offers career and financial opportunities. You can be a developer, BA, PM, CIO and more. You can be a leader or a teammate, an extrovert or introvert. You can travel or stay close to home. With confidence, commitment and grit, technology can open your world. You can do it!”

Jennifer McClinton, Director of Regional Technology – Brown-Forman

“I tell my two teenage girls and would tell all women, study what makes you happy no matter what others think you should study. The technology field is so broad and exists in every industry, you just have to figure out what interests you and go for it! My second piece of advice is to build relationships with people who you aspire to be like. Always be willing to listen and learn. You don’t need to know everything, rather learn how to bring together people to find the solutions and answers.”

Priyanka Mitra, Principal Software Engineer – Clari

“Technology and the skills are constantly evolving. The ability to adapt and continuing to learn to stay relevant is just one aspect of becoming a successful engineer. In addition, having a positive attitude, curiosity, investing time and effort to build a great work relationship with teammates, communication skills and empathy will ensure a longer term successful career as a technologist.”

Lisa Mae Brunson, Founder – Wonder Women Tech

Surround yourself with other women in various stages of their career in tech. Having a mentor, and a close community of industry peers will provide you the strong foundation you need to succeed and thrive.

“Your commitment to build a career in tech will be a pathway for future generations to also build their careers in tech. Stay the course, and reach out to the community you build when you need support! There is strength in numbers. This is our time to Show Up!”

Corry Stanley, Director, Business Technology – Discover

“In every industry there are elements of adversity; statistics to overcome, barriers to break down. Make it a goal to work with leaders who value diversity and inclusion, learn from them and develop yourself. This will help you prepare for how you will lead when you become a decision maker.”

Ying Zhe, Director Application Development, Business Technology – Discover

“There couldn’t be a better time to be in tech right now. Technology is giving us unlimited opportunities to create new products and services that will make long-lasting impact, and to change the world and people’s lives for the better.”

Vivienne Tako Chkadua, Senior Client Success Manager – FundApps

“Transitioning into a new industry can be challenging; don’t limit yourself to your experiences. Instead, focus on your potential and willingness to grow. When I was starting out in FinTech, I demonstrated that I was eager to learn, and that made all the difference. Have courage!”

Sandra Lopez, Vice President/GM – Intel Sports

“Whether in business or tech, companies have previously overlooked the value of EQ. Yet, if you aspire to be a leader you will be required to master EQ. As a leader, you are responsible to motivate individuals to become better in service towards a common goal. That requires self-awareness, the ability to communicate and engage effectively with your employees and the ability to inspire your employee base, partners and industry. Recent events punctuated the focus on humanity: people are human and when we lead from a place dignity, respect and acceptance it will drive meaningful results.”

Jumoke K. Dada, Technologist and Social Entrepreneur – Tech Women Network (TWN) and HUE

“The one piece of advice to the woman starting or changing her career in tech is to not be intimidated and keep going. Who knows what problem awaits that you are uniquely designed to help solve? In many ways, technology levels the playing field because anyone with the ability to innovate (with support and focus) can thrive.”

Alina Gertsberg, Strategic Business Manager – LiveTiles

Have confidence in yourself and the work you do. Even if it’s hard in the beginning, believe in yourself and know that hard work will always pay off.

“That was something that was difficult for me at the beginning of my career. Being new to the technology industry, I lacked the confidence to express my opinions. I think it’s important to be able to take critique well and listen to others, but don’t doubt yourself and speak up if you have something to say. As you build your confidence, you’ll notice a lot more opportunities open up and a change in yourself.”

Also, try to create real relationships in your organization. You’re spending so much of your time with the work you do and people you work with, if you can create meaningful friendships, you will feel even more fulfilled in your job.

Jennifer Chan, Senior Solution Specialist – LiveTiles

“From my time in the industry my advice is to make the most of opportunities that arise. Be prepared to always learn on the job and from your peers, while having some fun along the way. Set some standards for yourself with where you want your career to go and work towards them. Finally, it is important to focus not just on your technical skills but your interpersonal ones as they are often what people remember you for.”

Kesha Williams, Software Engineer & Training Architect – A Cloud Guru

“Tech is an exciting industry that has opened many doors for me and allowed me to take care of my family. I enjoy that tech challenges me daily to grow, explore, and continue to learn new things. Unfortunately, you may encounter sexism or racism that often surfaces as microaggressions. My advice is to be strong, have thick skin, and stand up for yourself. And you can never let how other people treat you cause you to question your own abilities.”

Dong-Nghi Huynh, Senior Analytics Manager – Redbubble

“In my experience, imposter syndrome is the exercise of comparing me at my worst to someone at their best. When that happens, I remind myself – my growth has been the product of audacity, not preparation, and a practice of self-compassion lays the groundwork for moments of boldness to occur.”

Poornima Ramaswamy, EVP – Strategic Clients -Qlik

“Believe in yourself and strive to become the best version of you!”

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About the Author
WORK180 promotes organizational standards that raise the bar for women in the workplace. We only endorse employers that are committed to making real progress so that all women can expect better.

Looking for a new opportunity?

Our transparent job board only has vacancies from employers we endorse and lets you see what benefits, policies and perks come with the job.