People pursue careers or hobbies of their choice for many different reasons, but a lot of these reasons boil down to seeing somebody talented doing something amazing, and wanting to achieve something on the same scale themselves. This can be seen in many different activities, such as sport, writing, playing video games, and even development! Some of the leading people in the tech industry today have been inspired by somebody else to get involved in the first place. Many people don’t have the confidence to believe that they have the potential to amount to anything great until they see somebody else from a similar background doing so.
This greatly applies to trying to get more females interested in pursuing a career in the industry. People read articles or watch TV shows and movies that show the industry for something that it isn’t. Shows such as The Big Bang Theory, The IT Crowd, Mr Robot to name a few are guilty for this very thing. Speaking from experience, not everybody that works in tech is a socially awkward, nerdy, black-hooded male. However, it is very evident from numbers that the vast majority of jobs are taken by males, which creates a problem.
If you ask people who aren’t involved in the tech industry who they think are the most well known role models in tech, they’d most likely pick from a list of Mark Zuckerberg, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Elon Musk, Bill Gates, and many more males that are widely known in the industry. There don’t seem to be a lot of female role models in the industry that are known to the level that these males are, even though that shouldn’t be the case!
It is down to the females that are actively working in the industry to inspire and show other women that we can be just as amazing, confident and skilled as our male co-workers, and there are many ways that this can be done.
- Talk about your experiences. This could be writing about an amazing event that you attend on your blog after you attend it, right down to speaking to people about how amazing your job is and sparking their interest.
- Show off your work. If you’re working on your own project that you’re excited about, then make it widely available to be viewed by everybody! This could be sticking it on GitHub and sharing it to social media, for example!
- Volunteer. I have been an active STEM Ambassador for less than a year now, and I can already say that I love the whole idea behind it. Essentially, schools ask for ambassadors to come in to help out, deliver a lesson, or just give advice to students about what you do. It is shown to help aid their learning, and it changes things up a bit so that they’re not just listening to their teacher deliver something that you could deliver for them. You could even volunteer at your local school or code club, to inspire kids to get more involved.
- Be a part of the community. The tech community is one of the biggest and talented communities that I’ve ever been a part of. I have learned more from the people that I meet at events than I could ever learn in a classroom.
- Adopt qualities that you’ve seen in your own role models. Drawing common traits from the most highly thought of people from any path or industry have many things in common, such as: confidence, leadership skills, a drive to succeed, determination, being friendly, being themselves, being approachable, and standing against the crowd, in some cases.
The tech industry thrives off diversity. People from different backgrounds with different skills than others are going to see things from perspectives that some people may never have even thought were possible! This wide spread of talent can lead to amazing ideas, and ultimately if you have a huge team that’s very diverse, it might be able to save you a lot of time, energy and money in user testing too.