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How women can get started – and stay – in tech

ASHLEY TAYLOR, DIRECTOR, GLOBAL TALENT ACQUISTION AT ACRONIS

ARTICLE SUMMARY

In this piece, SheCanCode sits down with Ashley Taylor, director, global talent acquisition at Acronis, to discuss how women can get into the tech industry and stay there; and what she’s learnt during her career.

With women entering tech careers in larger numbers as the demand continues to grow many women are asking themselves how they can join the tech field and reap the benefits of a flexible and high-paying career path. As the director of talent acquisition at Acronis, I know what tech companies are looking for in new talent, and what women can do to break into tech, as well as maintain these jobs and not only grow—but thrive—in the industry.

NEVER UNDERVALUE YOUR CURRENT SKILLS

Always remember, the tech industry is your oyster. Almost nothing is unachievable in the tech space, with endless opportunities available to people with various skill sets—even those traditionally outside the realm of technology. Glassdoor reports that 43% of jobs available in the tech market are non-tech related, with corporations such as Google, Apple, and IBM embracing this “new collar” trend with various programmes and internships designed to find employment for non-traditionally skilled workers without four-year degrees. The current talent market cannot support the rapidly growing needs of the tech industry, leaving companies eager to find new talent regardless of background. 

Soft skills such as critical thinking, problem-solving, and effective communication are also valued by employers, and I believe women looking to switch career paths or join the tech industry capitalise on bringing in these transferable skills as an advantage when switching to a tech career. I suggest to women looking to start a job in tech to also ensure their LinkedIn profile is strong, thorough, and a good showcase of their skills, both traditional and non-traditional.

YOU GOT THE JOB: NOW WHAT?

Even though there are countless opportunities to enter the tech industry, many women eventually leave their tech jobs due to a lack of support systems or career growth opportunities. Luckily, the tech industry is always evolving, with more and more companies recognising this and putting in efforts to help close the gender gap. Some of these initiatives might be formal, such as a mentorship programme, but informal efforts such as listening to women and acting on requests and feedback as well as offering continuous and visible support shorten the gap between genders and allow women to feel comfortable enough to stay.

As an example of professional programmes for women, our global Women in Tech mentorship programme is a comprehensive initiative preparing female employees for growth and higher achievement with help from seasoned leaders, and our CyberWomen is a global network and community that assists with supporting and advancing the careers of women at Acronis. Contact your HR department and ask for available programmes you may be eligible for.

Additionally, the average salaries in the tech industries are notably higher than other industries, and the flexibility of hybrid and work-from-home (WFH) models makes the ability to balance work and personal lives more manageable than in pre-pandemic days. Most tech jobs have the luxury of being able to be performed remotely, with very few positions requiring frequent on-site visits. These benefits help retain workers regardless of gender, with the latter especially attracting a large amount of new talent in tech.

Finally, I encourage women to leverage their available networks, especially with other women. Not only can this help you with new career opportunities, but it can also open a support network to help you maintain a healthy relationship with your job. Learn from those around you and identify skill gaps you might have, and research certificates and courses available online to fill those gaps.

With the right preparation and guidance, women can achieve anything in the tech field, which continuously offers opportunity and growth to those willing to find it. I have personally seen the remarkable achievements women are making each day and can’t wait to see what further strides my fellow women make as a digital landscape continues to unfold.

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