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We hear it all the time…the tech industry wants more women. The tech industry NEEDS more women. Without women, workplace culture suffers and the world we’re building on algorithms starts to look highly skewed.
So what do we do about it? How can women enter and succeed in the tech industry?
We are thrilled to share these inspiring quotes with our audience of smart women, who are either looking for work in technology or are interested in the sector. We want to encourage and inspire you to achieve great things, whether you’re starting out, changing careers or trying to find a manageable work/life balance.
Most important for working women (and as it happens helps men too) is flexibility. As women we often have other commitments – children, aging parents and friends we need to support. Tech is one industry in particular that can allow flexible working to be widely adopted and I would encourage you to seek out companies who are truly supportive in this space.
I changed careers completely when I moved from Interior Design to Technology over 20 years ago and have never looked back. Fortunately I was hired for my skills rather than experience. If you like change and learning new things, then working in the technology sector could be for you. A logical mind and good business skills should be all you need to kick start your career in a fast paced, future proofed business. Many technology companies extol the virtues of agile working and work life balance too so you can choose to have a career and a family.
When talking to people who are interested in becoming a Product Manager in tech, I often hear them caveat their interest with "but I’m not sure I’d be any good because I can’t code and I’m not very technical".
In response to this, the advice I give is always the same: Being a great PM is not about being technical, it’s about being able to deliver impact by solving the right problems in the right way. To really answer whether you’d be good at being a PM, you need to reflect on examples of problems you’ve identified in the past, how you validated that the problem was worth solving and how you mobilised people around you to get the problem solved.
If you’re not satisfied that you’re doing a good job of this – Google has many examples of great problem-solving techniques you can try out. Also, being proficient at Excel and SQL is always helpful in helping you to validate the problem size.
The tech industry we are proud to be a part of is exciting, demanding, always evolving, challenging and male dominated. To enter into this industry and succeed there are few key attributes that you need to be in control of, be mindful that they may need to be reviewed and you need to reset them regularly to move forward successfully.
Set yourself 3 month, 6 month and 12 month objectives to keep a focus, how do you want to develop? Where do you want to be? Have a clear plan.
Build a community of people in and out of the business you can talk to and learn from professionally. Get a mentor, get a few if you can, people who you respect or who other people respect that they can recommend to you.
Take the time to have a good self-awareness, understand how you are perceived in your personal and work life, if you don’t like the feedback only you have the ability to change this. Always take full responsibility, be accountable and be resilient.
In college it was an evidence to me I would study English literature and become an English teacher. But it dawned on me I had disregarded a part of myself that needed something more than teaching. I needed a challenge. I needed to be somewhere where women were not expected. And that, for me, was technology.
I started by training and demonstrating technical products. That was something I had never done before, but as I’m curious, and slightly geeky, that appeared as a great challenge to me. So, I went from managing a team of engineers in the telephony business to managing a demonstration centre in Paris, talking about Unified Communication, to video and headsets solutions, and Microsoft architecture.
So, my advice is this: think outside of the box. Transfer your skills. If you like to challenge yourself to a world of exciting and new possibilities, technology is it.
What’s the first thing that comes into your mind when you think of the Tech Industry? Computer geek? Have you considered a career in Product Management, Business Analysis, Project Management, Testing, Architecture, Service Management, Security – the opportunities are endless and each depends upon different personality traits and skills.
I fell into a career in technology when I started a graduate scheme after leaving University – I had never done any programming before but as a logical thinker it turned out I was pretty good at it! Since then I progressed to become Head of Engineering building out a global team of Business Analysts, Developers, Testers and System Engineers creating and support business applications, and some 20 years later I’m Head of Application here at Vaultex. This is one industry that offers the flexibility I need to balance my career and family life.