Did you know only 26% of computing-related jobs are held by women? While women have made great strides in the fields of technology, there’s still a long way to go to achieve equity. If you desire to break into tech as a woman, here are a few tips to help you navigate the workplace:
The most important thing to remember on your tech journey is that you aren’t alone. There are other junior, mid-career, and senior-level women in tech facing the same challenges and navigating the same terrain.
Finding and tapping into that community of women for support, guidance, and resources is one of the best ways to accelerate your career. According to a study by researchers at Northwestern University and the University of Notre Dame, women with a tight-knit circle of supportive women are two and a half times more likely to become high performers. “Don’t be afraid to ask for help,” advises DigitalCrafts Operations Coordinator Intisar Omar. “Networking is a powerful tool when breaking into tech. Find relevant mixers or conferences in your city. It’s the best place to get valuable advice.”
Connecting with other women in tech can help you build relationships and identify potential mentors and career sponsors. Mentorship is important in any career, but especially in the careers of women. According to a study, conducted by the Society of Human Resources Management, 63 percent of women reported that they have never had a formal mentor.
Not only can mentors provide guidance and advice on a variety of career decisions, but they serve as role models for what’s possible for your career. Having a mentor can increase confidence, provide career clarity, and help identify skills/performance gaps. While it’s important to have mentors of all genders, women mentors have insights into the unique challenges that women face in the workplace.
Every working person faces challenges in their career. Having a community to go to for support can make a big impact on your career and your ability to thrive in tech.
Confidence is key as a woman in tech. Allowing imposter syndrome or doubt in your abilities to run rampant could stall your career and pose all sorts of challenges. But building confidence can certainly be easier said than done.
One tip is to try and find work environments that are empowering and uplifting. The wrong environment can do major damage to your self-confidence and make you second guess yourself and your career decisions. However, building the right community will do wonders for your confidence.
Another way to build your confidence in the workplace is to accept that everyone makes mistakes. When you first start out, there will be times when you don’t know the right answers. It can happen to everyone. That doesn’t mean you don’t belong in this career. When you’re able to put your mistakes into perspective, it will help to make your confidence unshakeable. “Don't overthink, when you see an opportunity presenting itself and you know it can elevate you, like a cool project or a speaking opportunity, volunteer yourself even if it feels uncomfortable,” suggests DigitalCrafts graduate Juliana Mei.
Identifying people in your workplace who value you and want to help you thrive is paramount to your success as a woman at tech. We all need people who will advocate for us in the workplace. Whether you’re being talked over in a meeting or overlooked for a project that will give you much-needed visibility at work, allies will speak up for you when you’re unable to.
Having allies means not having to navigate workplace challenges alone; this support can help you go further and navigate challenges much easier. Another great way to start being an ally is to look out for others. Is there someone’s voice in the workplace you can help elevate? When you use your voice to advocate for others you may find that people are willing to do the same.
If you’re having trouble finding allies at work, it may be time to find a workplace with a more collaborative and inclusive culture.
It can be scary to use your voice at work. Especially when you’re a junior-level employee or in a new work environment. Whether it’s contributing your ideas in meetings or speaking up when something makes you uncomfortable, using your voice to advocate for yourself and your ideas is imperative as a woman in tech.
Speaking up can be intimidating, especially when women are faced with so many double standards around how they communicate in the workplace. When you’re worried about being too docile or too assertive, it can seem easier to stay quiet.
When possible, practice what you might say in your next meeting beforehand so you feel confident sharing your thoughts. Another way to get comfortable using your voice is to ask your allies to bolster your voice, when necessary.
As a woman in tech, it’s important to remember you are not alone. If gender parity is to be achieved in the tech industry, then it’s imperative that women learn to navigate the uncertainty that comes with being trailblazers. While being the only one in the room can be daunting, it’s also exciting to know that you’re opening doors for other women and the young girls that will follow in your footsteps. Having a fulfilling career in tech as a woman is possible if you find your confidence and build a positive, supportive community.
Looking to start a meaningful career in the tech industry? Check out DigitalCrafts’ bootcamp offerings.