Information Technology has become a hub of employment for hundreds of thousands to probably millions of workers globally, yet there is a dearth of participation by women in the tech industry. It wouldn’t be an overstatement to say that IT is somewhat a ‘male-dominated’ sector giving rise to certain bottlenecks when it comes to being a successful woman in tech. Gender bias aside, the work-culture and the overall construct of IT has evolved as male-centric or in other words, more suited to men as workers rather than women. Moving forward, we’ll go through some practical and useful tips on how to be a successful woman in IT industry and overcome the hurdles.
1. Speak up and have your own voice
Don’t let the majority of men in the tech world overwhelm or discourage you in any way. Learn to speak and voice your opinions and ideas, as it turns out, women are great at ideation, do not hesitate to share the same. Have confidence in your abilities and make an increasing contribution as an employee to your team and company.
To have a strong voice isn’t just limited to expressing ideas and opinions. In the so-called ‘male-dominated’ sector, you might be subject to situations where you’re being treated unfairly owing to your gender. Do not let that happen, take a strong stance against discriminatory policies and gender bias. Having a strong voice is one of the most vital tips for career success in IT as a woman.
2. Leverage your accomplishments & establish a reputation
Women are perfectly capable of accomplishing just as much as their male counterparts, and in some cases, even more so. For instance, there is a multitude of female entrepreneurs out there such as Shree Bose- the co-founder of Piper, Caterina Fake- the cofounder of Flickr, Katherine Minshew- the co-founder and CEO of The Muse, Reshma Saujani- founder of Girls Who Code, and the list goes on.
Better yet, learn to be public about your accomplishments, doing so is perfectly normal, and it makes it easier to feel that you belong, as many women sometimes go through what is known as ‘imposter syndrome’, where they don’t feel that they belong at their job. Furthermore, acknowledging your accomplishments in public helps you earn a sound reputation and furthers your quest in how to be a successful woman in the tech world.
3. Take bold decisions
It’s a common stereotype that women are more risk-averse than their male counterparts and many don’t consider women to take bold and risky decisions when it comes to business. In the IT industry it’s all about taking risks, do not hesitate to take bold decisions if you have to succeed, remember, the higher the stakes, the higher the reward.
Take the lead and develop a minimum viable product that you can take in the market and get customer feedback and accordingly you remake and redesign to perform better. Furthermore, it’s important not to fear failure, in the tech world, failure is just a baby step toward learning and developing something unique and profitable.
4. Get used to work in flexible shifts
In the IT industry, it’s normal for employees to work flexible shifts and sometimes even longer if the project demands. This can be quite challenging for women in some cases, especially if they have children or a household to maintain. In such cases, it’s important for women to get used to long and flexible working hours and strive toward finding the right work-life balance.
Engage your management if you have to and seek their help in adjusting the work schedule as per your convenience as much as possible. Another good idea would be to involve your spouse and family, ask them for support and they’ll surely come forward and fill in for your absence at home when it’s needed.
5. Work from home opportunities
At the end, if it becomes really tedious and painful to maintain the proper work-life balance due to lengthy hours and odd shifts, consider the alternative to office work, such as working from home. There are multiple IT companies out there who hire employees to work remotely, after all, it’s the age of enterprise mobility.
Considering Freelancing is yet another option if it’s difficult for you to work from the company office. The web is teeming with freelancing platforms with plenty of work for talented individuals, in fact, many freelancers earn more than salaried employees. Get inside the trend and you can find success outside the office in the tech world.
6. Update your knowledge regularly by reading tech blogs & articles
The tech world is ever evolving, there are new programming languages, software, coding, etc. Besides, it can take years to hone your skills as an IT engineer. Make sure that you stay up to date with all the latest developments in information technology.
In order to accomplish that, inculcate the practice in your routine of reading tech blogs and articles on a regular basis such as Coding Horror, Chaotic Flow, CTO Vision, etc.
7. Think like an entrepreneur and become your own boss
Last but not the least, we have entered a new age of entrepreneurship, startups are budding everywhere, and most of them are IT or IT enabled businesses. Despite the low participation of women as employees, there are plenty of women who are active as entrepreneurs having founded or cofounded their own successful tech startups (as mentioned above).
Leverage the knowledge and experience you have gained and transform it into an opportunity to create something new and be known for it. Once people see the leader in you, there will be no scarcity of followers and supporters who will surround you and accompany you toward success as a strong, successful woman.