International Women’s Day is a global celebration of the achievements of women and an important reminder to recognize gender inequities worldwide. This day has evolved throughout the years and was officially recognized by the United Nations in 1977, but began as early as 1848.
While it’s incredibly important to recognize women’s contributions to the world around us, it’s just as essential to raise awareness of discrimination, gender gaps, and economic & social inequalities.
This year’s International Women’s Day theme is: “DigitALL: Innovation and technology for gender equality”.
From the United Nations:
The United Nations Observance of IWD, under the theme “DigitALL: Innovation and technology for gender equality”, recognizes and celebrates the women and girls who are championing the advancement of transformative technology and digital education. The observance will explore the impact of the digital gender gap on widening economic and social inequalities, and it will also spotlight the importance of protecting the rights of women and girls in digital spaces and addressing online and ICT-facilitated gender-based violence.
CareRev aims to empower and celebrate women in STEM every day. On this International Women’s Day - we wanted to showcase some of the powerful women who continue to push the boundaries in tech and engineering. We asked some women from CareRev what their biggest piece of advice would be for women entering tech today. Here are their answers:
What is your biggest piece of advice for women entering the tech industry?
Amanda Duke, Chief Growth Officer
"Identify an area or problem that interests you and go deep in developing an understanding of where the current gaps are and how you can leverage your skillset to "solve" the problem. Develop a network and work to maintain those relationships as this is likely how you will progress and advance throughout your career. And finally, never stop learning or growing in your field. Take courses, read books, and attend workshops and seminars."
Robin Maher, Director of Technical Project Management
"For women entering the tech industry, I encourage them to understand how coding works as part of their university education. You don’t need to be an engineer, but you should be able to understand how all the building blocks work together. I highly recommend either a major or a minor in computer science. Having a variety of experiences will help you to produce well thought out products and move into leadership roles. As you start your career be open to as many opportunities as you can to broaden your knowledge in tech, can you get exposure to Data Science, AI, as well as Front or Backend development. These experiences will also allow you to change roles within tech or move out of tech if you so choose.
For women transitioning into the tech industry later in their career. I encourage you to think about the parts of your career that brought you joy and a sense of accomplishment. Can you link one of those parts to an area of the tech industry? Do you like numbers? Maybe Data Science or Data Analysis. Do you have a knack for art? Maybe, UI is your jam? If you enjoy solving logic problems then maybe the backend is the right place for you? Then do your best to find classes or certifications in the area of interest to help open those doors."
Kate Reiss, Machine Learning Engineer Support
"When I started my career in tech, the enormity of potential information and skills to acquire posed a challenge. To tackle this, I recommend concentrating on one or two new topics at a time to gain a deeper understanding of what you’re learning.
Additionally, linking your fresh knowledge to your previous industry experience and interests can be beneficial. To narrow your focus, I found that seeking informational interviews with individuals in roles that I was potentially interested in was valuable as well."
Courtney Hans, Security Manager
"The landscape continues to change (daily!) and no one knows everything. Always be curious, and don't be afraid to ask questions or to say "I don't know, but I can figure it out, I can learn." Yes, technical skills are incredibly important, but so are non-technical skills; pay attention to and develop your 'human' skills - leadership, empathy, emotional intelligence, and communication."
Phoebe Law, Software Engineer
"If you’re having a hard time visualizing yourself in tech, don’t feel like you have to change yourself to fit in. It may be a male dominated space, but women have so much to bring to the table! You don’t have to become what you see to belong; feel free to make room for yourself. This field doesn’t belong to anyone, and believe me, everyone benefits when you share your unique strengths. Ask lots of questions! Don’t apologize for taking up space. Everyone starts somewhere! On the flip side of this… as you seek to be helpful on your teams, don’t feel like you have to take on certain responsibilities, even if no one is volunteering. Admin work — taking notes, organizing things, etc — is valuable and good. It’s also the entire team’s responsibility. Taking that all on yourself may sideline you for more technical work or opportunities. Speaking personally, I like to be helpful, and I enjoy creating order. There’s nothing inherently wrong with that, and I believe it’s brought a lot of value to teams I’ve been on. If that’s your thing too, just remember to keep a balance and not pigeonhole yourself. Administrative work is a team responsibility!"
Kelly Sample, Senior Software Engineer, Web
"- Engineering is an inherently collaborative field. We work on a codebase with others, and the team benefits from having a variety of skill sets and ideas. Communication skills are just as important as technical skills.
- Don't let stereotypes dissuade you from getting into tech. If you are curious, passionate, detail oriented, and easy to work with you will be successful!
- Mentorship can make a huge difference. Pick someone on your team that you aspire to be, and build a relationship with them if they are open to it. Ask them how they learned what they know now, for recommendations on books or blogs or podcasts, ask them for feedback on your code. If there is no one at your work, check out local meetup groups."
Lucinda Musa, Product Manager
"Find your advocates and make your career goals known! You will get farther if you have people backing you up. It could be your manager, a peer, or a leader at your company. If you let it be known that you want to work on a certain project, you want to be promoted, or you want to get better at a skill - tell your allies. Ask them to back you up in meetings, provide feedback, and advocate for you. Most of my best career opportunities came once I asked for what I wanted and had an advocate."
Caitlin Hyatt, Engineer Manager
"I have 3 main things I always offer as advice. Take risks, don't be afraid of failure and always stay true to yourself. Early in my tech career I was always nervous to ask questions or to fail. I felt like I needed to prove myself as a female in the tech industry and put very high pressure on myself. I never wanted to come off unintelligent by asking questions or making mistakes. However, some of the biggest opportunities in my career came from asking questions, taking big risks and staying true to my positive, cheerful personality."
Soujanya Mandala, Staff Software Engineer: Android
"Don't think of yourself as a woman engineer. Consider yourself an engineer. If you are feeling down, look for a female mentor. It's never too late to start a career in the tech field."