For women considering a career change or looking for their dream job, the tech industry can be as intimidating as Fort Knox. Many women are discouraged from switching to the tech industry for multiple reasons, including the gender gap and the idea that it’s full of computer whizz-kids.
The truth is, having more women in the industry is one of the best ways to influence and close that gender gap. And, you don’t have to be a software engineer or computer programmer to enjoy a tech career, you don’t even have to have a tech-related degree!
The tech field is constantly evolving, and it incorporates many different fields, such as Product Management, UX design, IT management, website management, computer repair, software development, and IT security, to name a few.
Tech businesses need all sorts of people and a wide variety of skills and talents. It’s a fast-paced industry full of opportunities and one which offers different working options from solo work, in working teams, or client-facing.
If you’re looking for a new career challenge, in a fun, innovative, and exciting industry, then the tech industry could be the place for you.
Here are 8 ways women can hack into the tech industry:
1. Do Your Homework
This means doing your research. Sign up for the blogs, read the books, listen to the podcasts, and ask questions on the forums. Find out everything you can about the different roles available in the tech field and what working in those roles is like on a day-to-day basis. If you know anyone in the industry, pick their brain. Do whatever you can to research the job opportunities that may best match your abilities and interests.
One great way to get in touch with other women in tech is to join the WomenTech Network.
2. Learn Some Basic Tech Skills
Before you start applying for roles in the tech industry, it’s a good idea to get some basic tech skills. Thanks to the wonder of the internet, there are plenty of platforms to make learning easy and accessible. You can also go the traditional method and go back to school, but check out your options for online courses or blended learning.
3. Have a Plan
Once you’ve chosen your tech field and the type of learning or training you need to do to get you started, it’s time to create a plan of action! Transitioning into a new career can be a lengthy process and you need to keep momentum and motivation. Have a plan and a timeline, it’ll help you stay focused and right on track.
4. Check Out the Tech Startup Scene
The tech industry is booming with small companies and startups who are often looking for all-rounders, people with tech knowledge but who also have other talents, skills and experience that they can put to use in a young company.
5. Check Tech Companies With Women in Management
The gender gap in tech is no secret, but if you are looking for a company that is inclusive and advocates diversity, then check out the tech companies with women in upper management. Sending your CV directly to women in leadership positions can be a good way to get your foot in the door as they will understand the challenges you face. If you’re qualified for the job, they can be a great ally.
6. Take Risks
The tech industry welcomes those who are risk-takers and switching careers is a risk to begin with, so you’re already proving that you’ve got what it takes! If you are willing to learn and try new things, then the tech industry will welcome you with open arms. Remember, not all risks will pay off, but part of any learning process is failure and dead ends, so be prepared to get stuck a few times along the way. Just pick yourself up and keep going!
7. Find a Mentor
When you’re doing the legwork to research the field you’re interested in and learning the ropes, one of the other hacks you can use to help make your way into tech, is to find a mentor. A mentor who knows the industry inside out can guide you in handling the challenges of the tech world and point you in the direction of reliable resources.
This is one more reason to join the WomenTech Network. We've recently launched a new mentorship program that will be powered by the women in our network.
8. Network, Network, Network!
This is key for finding your potential mentor but also for staying up to date with the hottest tech trends and finding out what businesses are hiring and what they are looking for. Attending tech meetups is also a great way to get yourself some tech friends and industry contacts.
The WomenTech Network holds regular events where you can connect with other tech professionals and meet the movers and shakers of the tech industry. There is also a LinkedIn group you can join and meet other tech professionals.
A career in technology is fun and rewarding. You can break into it without a high-tech formal education. All you really need is the knowledge, the passion, and the drive to break into the tech world.
Check out the WomenTech Network for your first step to your dream tech job!