Despite much progress in the field, women are still vastly underrepresented in the tech sector, especially in senior positions. Research suggests that just 10 percent of CEOs at larger tech firms are female.
So how can women in the sector climb the ladder and address this imbalance? Well, there is no secret sauce. The solution requires a lot of hard work – and teamwork.
NEVER STOP LEARNING, AND DON’T BE AFRAID TO SHOW OFF
No-one can afford to be complacent and stop learning and developing, especially in a field as fast paced and changeable as technology. But this is perhaps even more important for women, who may need to go that little bit further to prove themselves. Work hard on your development, but also work smart. Identify the knowledge gaps in your field and focus on overcoming them.
Alongside this, remember that it’s okay to be proud of your achievements and show off what you’ve accomplished. The old attitude that women should be demure can still linger on, but you deserve to be just as loud about your wins as anyone else.
Don’t pass up any opportunity to claim credit when credit is due. Make sure to, if relevant, include your team too. In essence, be armed with facts to back up your claims.
UNDERSTAND AND COMMUNICATE WITH YOUR ORGANISATION
Working hard as an individual is one thing, but everything you do will be that much more impactful if you’re in sync with the broader organisation around you. Take the time to understand the big picture. Where is your company heading? What needs to be done to get it there? Knowing this will help you work out how you can be most valuable and better identify future opportunities.
As part of this, you should consider how you communicate with your colleagues. This includes both your immediate team as well as all levels in other departments. Soft skills like communication are just as necessary as hard skills like coding abilities if you want to start moving up the ladder. Being a clear communicator will make you a more effective leader and enable you to share your ideas, so if speaking in public isn’t naturally your forte, work on it until you improve.
DON’T GO IT ALONE
Your dedication and hard work will ultimately enable you to climb up the rungs in your organisation, but it doesn’t mean you have to do it all by yourself.
Find a mentor who can help you grow and overcome your challenges. It’s easier to talk about our weaknesses when we speak about them with other women, in the same situation or, who have overcome similar challenges in the past.
Many tech firms have mentor schemes, but if not, you should try to find someone independently. Once you’re working with someone you trust, accept their advice and apply it to your daily work to boost your career progress further. And as you grow, make sure you return the favour and take on your own mentees.
By working hard – and working together – we will not only further our own careers but help to improve the representation of women in tech across the board.