For many women, growth in the tech field cannot depend solely on “being good at your job”. It requires planning and dedication to be recognised and successful. If you are a young woman looking to get into a tech career, here is a five-step roadmap for attaining the mindset needed to grow your career.
Step one: Learn to be independent
Independence means being a driver of your own success. For me, what this meant was taking a job opportunity overseas. Being away from my comfort zone taught me to let go of fear and gave me the confidence to pursue my own path. But learning to be independent doesn’t always involve drastic life changes. Take initiative for your own learning – enrolling in courses, attending meetups, reading books, listening to podcasts – to avoid stagnating when it comes to skills.
If you’re young and still don’t know what career path to pursue, developing independence and personal interests is a step towards understanding what you want to do. Using immersion and integration is key to building an interest in various areas and developing a diverse skill set and knowledge base without formal guidance.
Step two: Focus on the big picture
The big picture is your career goal – use what you learned in step one to determine what you ultimately want to do. Following this, reverse engineer the skills you need to develop and the career moves you need to make.
It may sound mechanical, but performing a SWOT (strength, weaknesses, opportunities, threats) analysis can be enlightening. From there, give yourself a set of personal milestones, and ensure that you have a way of testing if and when those milestones are met.
If I were to recommend a single area in which to upskill for all working in tech roles, it would be data.
Product Manager at Objective Corporation
Step three: Hone your data skills
If I were to recommend a single area in which to upskill for all working in tech roles, it would be data. Regardless of role, data allows you to be more informed when making decisions and gives your choices weight – this is crucial, especially as many young women struggle to attain credibility in the workplace.
To improve my own data knowledge, I also picked up data science to help me resolve problems that were too large to decide on with logic alone.
Step four: Focus on your strengths first
There is an undisputed tendency for many women to doubt themselves regardless of their capability. This is called “imposter syndrome,” and causes them to shy away from potential risks. However, risk-taking is critical to learning, and failure from risk-taking teaches the most.
To take risks, it is necessary to build up the confidence to do so. Although it seems counterintuitive, focusing on your strengths rather than weaknesses can teach you more. Rather than bringing all your skills up to par, becoming an expert at the particular things you are skilled at and enjoy will improve people’s perceptions of you as an expert. It will also give you the confidence you need to take calculated risks that will go on to improve your weaknesses.
Step five: Give back
I believe in giving back to the community – sharing your experience and learning from others is the best form of education. This is a particular consideration for women in STEM: for many young women, the desire to enter a tech career comes from role models and influencers. The limited number of women in tech has historically created a cyclical ripple effect, further deterring younger women from entering tech careers.
Giving back, for me, means mentoring. I participate in meetups to both network and exchange my knowledge. There are specific programs as well, in which more experienced employees in tech have the opportunity to train and teach students how to code or develop other skills essential for the field. By teaching, you are consolidating information for yourself and developing a stronger foundational base, all while forming connections that may one day prove highly beneficial.
If you’re interested in joining our team, take a look at our careers page for updates on opportunities at Objective.