Quora, the user-generated, question-and-answer site recently featured a question about women in technology, “What advice would seasoned women in tech give to younger girls deciding to make a tech career for themselves?” As a woman and as someone interested in the tech industry (though I’m not an engineer or a programmer), I found this question so pertinent and relevant and the answers engrossing. The answer thread scrolls on and on with lots of insightful answers from a broad range of women.
Some of the answers repeat themselves a bit, in the vein of “Don’t let being a woman stop you from pursuing a career in tech” and “Let your work speak for itself.” Coming from a non-technical background, I especially appreciated one of the poster’s replies that not having an engineering background does not preclude you from working in tech.
And though there are some high-profile women in executive positions in well-known tech companies (Sheryl Sandberg and Marissa Mayer come to mind), the fact is that the majority of execs in tech companies and in companies in general are men. In my experience, it can be a bit of a boy’s club within the tech industry. The simple fact is that there are not many women in computer science or engineering, and the women who are in the tech industry are oftentimes in “softer” departments (myself included). And I agree with many of the posters who say that women struggle with underestimating their abilities–I know that it’s something that I have come up against several times.
That’s why I think it’s so important for women to support women in fields like tech, which are oftentimes so male-dominated. But, that doesn’t mean to exclude men or to write them off. Though, I know from personal experience, I feel more comfortable networking in a women’s-only conference or panel because the other attendees a) understand my experience and struggles, and b) won’t try to hit on me when all I want to do is build my network and learn from others.
Check out the thread on Quora. There are some great pieces of advice, not just specifically for women in tech but also for your career in general.
What are your thoughts about women in tech and do you have any advice to share?
Image courtesy of Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis