The tech field is not just for men. The fact that top executives at global companies are primarily men clearly didn’t stop Marissa Mayer from becoming CEO of Yahoo! or Cheryl Sandburg from becoming COO of Facebook.
Whether you’re a woman or man, your success in the tech industry is going to come down to the same factors: Are you really good at what you do? Can you get the job done? And, perhaps most importantly, who are you and can you understand the people you work with? Coding geniuses will always have a place in the tech industry, but it is people with hard and soft skills that lead teams and take on great responsibilities.
5 Tips For Women Who Want To Work In Technology
The culture of today’s tech companies is collaborative and flexible. The power of influence will take you much further than the power of authority. Women (and men), if you’re ready to blaze a path into the tech industry, here is what you need to do:
1. Earn Respect
People who wish to succeed in a group environment must earn the respect of group members. Working in the tech industry is no exception. How do you accomplish this?
When you show up to a meeting, you are prepared to speak about the subject and ask helpful questions. Your goal is to figure out how you can deliver value to your team and your organization. Then deliver, even if it’s something you currently do not know how to do. You’ll earn praise by learning and using a skill your team members might not have. You’ll earn respect by sharing that skill with others.
2. Be Yourself
When you’re a woman in the tech industry, it doesn’t mean you have something to prove. You do not have to analyze each move and compete with your male peers or weave illusions around your co-workers. Be aware of your strengths and weaknesses and use them to your advantage by reading other people.
3. Be Aware of Other People
Your sensitivity to other people can make you an extraordinary asset to a team. The men and women who start and lead tech companies are not necessarily the best coders — more often, they’re decent coders with exceptional soft skills.
You do have to be able to answer two questions about the people around you: How does this person work best? How can I help this person succeed?
4. Know Your Stuff
A prestigious tech degree may very well be irrelevant in a decade thanks to the pace of technology and the nature of classroom educations. Therefore, what you currently know can only be bolstered by what you can learn, and your ability to sustain curiosity is highly relevant. Be a catalyst for change, always increase your knowledge and bring your team along for the ride.
5. Speak Up
Those who have a voice — and use it — influence people around them. This does not mean you should command with your voice; rather, listen closely to your team and guide them with your knowledge. The business knowledge you gain in a company is priceless and you can use it to lead your team. You don’t necessarily need to be an extrovert to have a voice.
Don’t let the myth that “tech isn’t for women” steer you away from doing something you love and doing something you could be great at. Earn respect, behave genuinely, know your co-workers, know your stuff, have a voice in an organization and then watch as career doors open to you.