10 years ago, if you’d have told me I would be working in the digital industry, I most probably would have deemed you insane. Fast-forward 10 years later, and here I am, a technology consultant deeply immersed in the world of everything digital. I even got myself a degree in software engineering. Yet, I feel like an impostor.
It may come as a surprise to you that someone who has been in this industry for nearly 7 years still has Impostor Syndrome. How can I not? Given that I have only ever worked amongst people of the opposite gender and have sometimes been made to feel inferior, consciously or subconsciously by members of the opposite sex. Women in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) are a rare breed but based on my experiences, women in tech, especially those who write code, are significantly more uncommon.
Let me begin by clarifying why “Women in Tech”, the minority, start feeling like impostors despite being good, perhaps even great at their jobs. Firstly, and most importantly, is the lack of females in leadership within the industry which leads to us having few people to emulate or relate to. Secondly, we are generally deemed as inferior by default, leading to lower chances of advancement. There has been a time where someone told me to my face, and I kid you not, that I was simply a diversity hire. How does one expect a women to feel motivated to remain in this industry, despite having the highest possible qualifications, when we have been reduced to a being a diversity hire?
Ladies, more often than not, we are alone in this industry but fear not, we can get through this together. Despite its shortcomings, it is a great time to work in digital and tech jobs will always be abundant. It is not all bad. So, I’ll divulge in some secrets for you to get your foot in tech and push your way in through the door.
Make use of your strengths as a person, and as a woman, to get an edge over the competition in the industry. Generally, we possess more empathy and understanding as well as great communication skills. Use it to your advantage. If you’re interested in technology to begin with, start by learning to write code. You can use several online platforms like Codeacademy or even YouTube. Once you’ve figured out whether coding is for you or not, you’ll be able to decide on your next steps. Contrary to what you might have heard, coding does not equal to technology. In fact, there are several other roles you can take up within the industry which may align better to your interests.
Before diving deeper into these roles, allow me to backtrack to you ladies who like coding. Lucky for you, there are several paths you may wish to take. You could choose to become an application developer (frontend, backend or even fullstack!), a data engineer, a Dev Ops engineer or even a cloud engineer. These are general terms for what you could actually do. The world is your oyster.
For women who do not like coding, do not be discouraged, tech may still be for you. As you may or may not already know, technology projects can range from small to massive projects, requiring a significant amount of management. There are also different software development lifecycles such as the Agile or waterfall lifecycles. Within these lifecycles, there are several roles you could potentially be interested in such as project manager, Agile product owner, Scrum Master or even technical business analyst. The nitty-gritty of these roles may be explored in a future article but the reason I highlight the existence of these roles is to encourage you to pursue careers in tech without being deterred by your lack of interest or knowledge in coding.
To all the beautiful women out there, working hard in STEM, do not give up on your dreams. There are several opportunities for you out there and despite feeling like an impostor, you will make it through. The challenges only make the rewards that you eventually reap so much more worth it. I wish you good luck with everything that you do!
P.S. These are my personal opinions based on my own experiences which may not be relevant to everyone and are certainly not meant to offend anyone, so do take it with a pinch of salt.