5 ways women can get ahead in the tech industry in 2017

Women in tech (or the lack of them) is still much-talked about as we move into 2017.

Since companies like Facebook and Apple released their disappointing diversity statistics in 2013, it’s become common knowledge that there’s a lot work to do in achieving gender parity in tech.

While there has been an intense focus on getting more women into tech, women who are already working in tech roles need more support to help them get ahead in a male-dominated industry.

Here are 5 ways to help you achieve your career aspirations as a woman in tech.

1. Find your tribe

The importance of finding a strong support network cannot be underestimated. It doesn’t necessarily mean you have to choose only women to populate your network, but the key focus is to find people who can understand you and act as cheerleaders for your efforts.

Professional networks can be an invaluable source of support for women in tech. Many can be participated in online, such as Ada’s List or Tech Ladies.

For those who prefer the offline experience, there are groups such as GeekGirl Meetup UK and Women in Technology. For local Leeds groups, head along to Leeds Ladies of Code meetup, or She Does Digital.

2. Take advantage of free coding courses

With such a strong focus on diversity and inclusion initiatives for women in technology, make sure you take advantage of all the free opportunities available to you.

You may work in the tech industry, for example as a product manager, but have a desire to learn more technical skills. Free coding courses can be a brilliant way to do this.

Many women feel self-conscious about learning technical skills, but they provide a non-judgmental, inclusive environment in which to do so.

3. Go to free women in tech events

Attending free networking events in your industry that are aimed primarily at women in tech is a great way to open yourself up to an exciting world of opportunities.

These targeted events are often really interesting, and you leave with a sense of confidence due to being exposed to companies that are actively seeking to hire you.

You’ll develop yourself professionally, connect with like-minded individuals and feel connected to something wider than yourself.

Fruition IT’s next sourcing event is focusing on inclusivity and diversity, exploring how organisations can create environments where women can do their best to work and thrive. If you’d like to attend, register now

 4. Find a mentor or sponsor

One of the primary methods that women in technology find useful to advance themselves is finding a mentor or a sponsor.

A mentor is someone who supports you and helps you develop by imparting their experience and advice.

A sponsor is someone who proactively champions you at a senior level, and puts you forward for opportunities.

Both mentors and sponsors will be someone, male or female, who is further ahead in their career than you. A sponsor is more likely to be someone in a senior leadership position who

5. Work for supportive companies

Give yourself a head start. If you’re in the market for a new role, make sure you thoroughly research the companies you’re interviewing for before accepting any position to ensure you will experience a good culture fit.

Websites like GenderAvenger and Includeed promote gender balance in the workplace, and the latter is a startup that rates companies based on their inclusivity policies.

Glassdoor provides an inside look into what it’s like to actually work for different organisations by hosting reviews written by current and former employees.

Use your networks to talk to people who have experience working at your target companies, and gather information about their experiences.

Conclusion

As a woman in tech, you will be well aware of the hurdles and opportunities out there for women in this industry.

It’s an exciting time but also one that’s not without its challenges. Many companies are still resistant to the idea that the lack of women in tech is a problem, and may turn a blind eye to the women already building their careers in tech who are facing an extra struggle.

The good news is that the tide is turning, and there are lots of initiatives and opportunities available for women in tech.

Please contact me personally to find out more about the companies we work with who passionate about promoting opportunities for women in technology – 0113 3239730 / sarah.pawson@fruitionit.co.uk