Starting Out as a Female Newbie in the Tech Industry
While it may be improving, the field of tech undoubtedly still has a long way to go. As women in technology we tend to underestimate their own skills and often need to be pushed to apply for positions that advance their careers. Several stories abound on how women who are currently doing well in tech faced challenges in navigating the largely male dominated tech industry. From the statistical point of view, the ratio of men to women in tech firms is about 3:1.
What is the gender ratio in tech companies?
Deloitte reports that of the large global technology firms, the average overall female representation sits at 33% in 2022. The ratio is lower in developing countries like Nigeria and many sub Saharan African countries. For instance, as a Technology and innovation company, Digprom only has 3 Females compared to about 12 men that powers our activities. This is a 1 to 4 Female to Male ratio. With this said, there are some proven strategies you may adopt as a female newbie who wants to get into the tech industry.
1. Being in the Minority can be an Advantage
There’s no doubt that women are a minority in the IT sector. Many tech companies in the world are willing to hire women engineers in the past and is actively seeking to hire more IT engineers today,
Considering it is a booming industry filled with endless possibilities it is a shame there’s a lack of qualified engineers in the IT sector both male and female, but what an opportunity for any tech-savvy women looking for a career. So, don’t let being a minority as a woman in IT dishearten you. Don’t let your minority status make you self-conscious or stop you from being yourself. It’s much better to focus on the fact that you are unique and have something great to contribute. Instead of feeling out of place because you’re a female in a male-dominated environment, take advantage of your uniqueness and help other people to do the same. This will help you succeed in your career.
2. Don’t Head Yourself Out
You may be aware of the negative stereotype around IT engineers. Something along the lines of: IT engineers are geeky weirdos with no social skills, sat behind a computer or a game console all day. Oh, and their stench suggests they haven’t seen a shower in five days. You’ll be happy to know that most IT engineers don’t fit the stereotype. My tutors and co-workers here in digprom take showers, look nice, and have good social skills.
But with these stereotypes in a male-dominated industry, it’s no wonder that women choose different careers over IT. However, you don’t necessarily have to be fluent in geek talk to work within the IT industry. I think it’s important for women to know that it’s okay to break the stereotype, you don’t have to fit in to be an IT engineer.
Plus there are other ways to be involved in the IT industry: every company needs field engineers, project engineers, pre-sales consultants, salespeople, managers, content managers, digital marketers and other individuals if you’re more familiar with the personable aspects of a successful business. Don’t count yourself out of IT, whether you prefer to write Java or not.
3. Don’t Underestimate Yourself
There’s nothing innately “male” in any IT position. The physical requirements aren’t demanding at all, and anything that’s too heavy for a woman would be considered, under worker’s compensation, too heavy for a man to carry alone. The mechanical, technical, and analytic requirements aren’t an obstacle either. Say what you will. Believe what you want. The plain truth is that there’s no reason women can’t perform every bit as well as men in technology.
It’s true that women and men aren’t the same. Thank goodness. In service professions, most women are superior. It’s stereotyping, but women as a rule, seem to be more naturally empathetic than men. Women seem to relate better to the customer, and can often provide a superior customer experience.
Take ownership for what you know and seize opportunities to use your skills. I’ve learned that being confident in yourself makes a world of difference in what you’re able to accomplish.
4. Get a counsellor, it is okay to ask questions and seek advice
It’s safe to say that women naturally enjoy communicating and building support networks. So, it just makes sense that successful women have mentors who help them along the way. Be it a guy or a girl, formal or informal; you can learn a lot from having a counsellor. Plus, that extra bit of support is fantastic!
I’ve also found that there’s a lot to be learned from counselling others. Having a counsellor has exposed me to fresh perspectives, ideas and approaches. Plus, the professional reward and personal satisfaction through getting support from others that been opportune to achieve their goals.
5. Be Inspired, secure mentorship and Network
As we celebrate International Women’s Day on March 8th think about the female role models in your life and the world around you. Take a moment to connect with leading women in tech. Visit top tech news websites and be on the lookout for specific stories that celebrates exemplary women; be inspired. Also note that being successful means to ask for advice from those who have more experience. In this case networking is truly your return on investment. It leads to better opportunities and will help you find personal growth. Networking creates more visibility for your skills and knowledge. Meeting professionals and sharing experiences is essential to being heard and seen.
6. Be Projected
Be projected directed and indirectly using different social media apps like Facebook, Linkedin, twitter (now X.com) and the likes, connect with people in your stack, let people know what you are doing, create online group and awareness for females thinking tech is not for them.