The technology sector holds plenty of appeal for talented and hardworking employees. From the relatively high average earnings of over $100,000 per year to the interesting and exciting tasks that many who work in the industry have to complete on a daily basis, there are lots of reasons to consider working in this sector for the long term.
But for many women, the reality remains that technology is a male-dominated industry. While there have been some senior women executives in the tech sector, such as Sheryl Sandberg and Marissa Mayer, the figures show that most people who work in this field are men – with just 20% of tech employees believed to be women. As a result, women who are looking to make a move into the sector must ensure they have everything they need to make a successful career decision. This article will show you how to do just that.
Do Your Research
Before you accept a position at a tech firm, you should always clarify just what you’ll be letting yourself in for once you work there. Looking on websites such as Glassdoor can give you a sense of just what it might be like to work in a particular tech firm, for example, while looking over a firm’s website also helps. Is the firm, or any of its employees, a member of a professional women’s networking group? Or are any of the senior leadership team women? By doing some research, you’ll be able to note these factors and use them to form a mental picture of any prospective company you want to work for.
Get a Qualification
The technology sector doesn’t always recruit people based on qualifications – and there are plenty of success stories of people who lead in the sector without having the qualifications. Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg famously dropped out of Harvard, while others are self-taught coders. But it still remains the case that boosting your educational profile is a good way to increase your chances of success in the sector. It’s also important to do your research in this regard, too. By finding a list of technology degrees online, you can work out which technology degrees are right for you based on location, entry requirements and more before committing to one for good.
Know Your Rights
In theory, many businesses and governments have taken a stand against gender-based discrimination in the workplace and elsewhere. And in practice, it’s thankfully no longer the case that most workplaces and managers behave in a discriminatory way towards their female employees. However, women certainly do experience some barriers in the workplace which men don’t: pay disparities may exist, for example, while sexual harassment unfortunately still does occur. Before taking up your position in the tech sector, then, you should ensure that you know your legal and contractual rights in case something like this happens to you.
Find a Mentor
A final way to break into the technology sector as a woman is to get a mentor. A woman who works in tech will have been through similar things as you, including everything from negotiating a remuneration package to making decisions about future career steps. Attending a professional networking event may be a good way to meet someone who can help, so remember to sign up.
If you’re struggling to find such a person, it may be worth asking the women in your life to tap into their networks on your behalf. Perhaps your mother or a woman friend has a connection who is now working in tech, say, or maybe they can make an appeal on LinkedIn or elsewhere. Remember: mentors get a lot out of an arrangement like this too, and many people who had a mentor themselves early in their careers are only too happy to “pay it forward” and help now.
The technology sector is a great place to work no matter whether you’re a man or a woman. But the reality of the situation is that it’s still a male-dominated environment. For women, it’s a smart move to ensure you do your research and get some advice before making your big move into the industry. And by knowing your rights inside out, you’ll be able to ensure that if there is an unpleasant gender-related problem with either the application process or your new workplace, you’ll be able to handle it.