If someone asked you to think of a typical person working in IT, what would you picture? Some of us might envision the hooded, jean wearing ‘bro’ of Silicon Valley. Others the nerdy, introverted male who lives off of energy drinks and fast food.
Well, it’s time we all started to envision something else. It’s no secret that while the IT industry is currently under-represented by females with only 30% making up the entire workforce in Australia, the culture is changing.
If you’re a woman in IT, it’s time to realize that the industry is a brilliant place for us to thrive and there are few things that support this. Below are 3 that all women in IT must know:
1. WHO CARES IF YOU CAN’T CODE.
Times are changing, no longer are forward thinking organizations looking at technical ability alone to promote staff. Many are focusing on the importance of softer skills as these are crucial for leading high performance teams. To lead a team effectively and deliver outstanding results, you need to be able to motivate them, coordinate them and articulate the vision to drive passion within the team. Being able to write code isn’t as important as focusing the team and after all, the team is there to do the technical work. So don’t be afraid to go for that promotion!
2. BE PICKY WHO YOU WORK FOR.
Never before has there been a better time for women in IT to ‘cherry pick’ their employer. It’s a key strategic initiative for many great organizations to diversify their workforce as they realize the value that men and women working together brings. Organizations such as ThoughtWorks, PwC, and EMC have a fantastic company culture in place that supports women and encourages them to fulfil their potential. If you’re working for an archaic, hierarchical ‘boys club’, time to move on and leave those companies for the ones that deserve you.
3. IT IS THE PERFECT INDUSTRY IF YOU WANT TO START A FAMILY.
What is the one thing that has enabled mothers (and fathers for that matter) to be able to work flexibly or from home? IT.
The top IT companies realize that embracing technology to allow flexible working arrangements will allow them to attract and retain top talent. There are still many companies out there that shun the thought of allowing someone to work from home (of course people only want to do this so they can watch TV all day, right?).
But for most organizations actually keeping up with the times, they realize that parents can be the most productive people out there, particularly when working from home. The popular saying “If you want something done, ask a busy mum” is true for a reason. Mothers (and fathers) are great at prioritizing and dealing with multiple dramas!
So as a woman in IT, it’s time to ask yourself if the company you work for shares the above values that many now have. Is your employer supportive and encouraging of your career? Will they support you to move up the career ladder or if you want to start a family?
Remember, don’t settle for anything less than a supportive culture!