If you are a woman in technology and beyond your first 15 years in the field, if you could go back to your year 1 self, what lesson would you impart? This is almost the gift I am experiencing right now. I am teaching a class for women in technology who are starting their journey, curious about how I have become who I am.
Some of the questions asked ahead of the class were around how I command respect, take control of a room, and ensure meetings stay on track. With each question, I thought….I might be a little bossy, ya know? At the same time, I shared with them the simple truths:
- Only 28.8% of the tech workforce are women
- 11 out of 100 women report regularly attending meetings where they are the only woman in the room
- Women in tech still only make, on average, 82¢ for every $1 their male counterpart makes
I told them not to feel bad. It’s better than when I started and it will be better for them being in the game. The journey is what they make it. I am having a great time.
My advice for women new in their tech career journey is:
- Define your journey: Your path is unique to you. Do not let anyone tell you what positions to take, if you must work in person or remote, if you must stay at home or travel, none of it. Make it your own.
- Networking works: Oh how I wished I had learned this one earlier. Define your 100 club, those who will energize your career and with whom you enjoy visiting. Don’t keep score, just enjoy the relationships. Being a good friend always brings rewards.
- Confidence: Many women swing the pendulum too far either way on this. Too much and we are aggressive. Too little and we get run over. Be authentic, focus on your contributions, and PRACTICE.