Never let self-doubt get in your way and the fear of rejection stop you from growing, advises Narayan Mahadevan, founder, BridgeLabz, an edtech firm.
Let's face it! The tech industry still lags when it comes to hiring women.
Only 19% of the tech workforce are women.
For decades, businesses and organisations have been working towards eradicating gender diversity in the workplace.
The technology sector is further away from achieving gender equality compared to the rest of the job market.
Even the big tech corporations like Amazon, Facebook, Google, and Microsoft have only about 34.4% women in their workforce.
The struggle for women to take a break in their careers is real because of marriage, childcare, or caring for ailing parents.
These are the most common reasons women's careers take a back seat while their male peers flourish. However, when they paused their careers earlier, there was hardly any going back to it, but today, things are changing.
A recent survey at BridgeLabz registered a 50% uptake in women joining fellowship programs to kickstart their careers in the IT sector.
The figure reflects that women are ready to break stereotypes and resume their careers in tech jobs post-break.
The survey also revealed that women are better prepared and ready to be employed as compared to men. They are open to getting mentored by experts in their respective fields and have shown amazing progress in the fellowship programs.
If you are also somebody who is planning to go back to their tech job, here are a few tips that may help you take your career in tech to the next level:
1. Build your business skills
Ladies, build your business skills! Build your technical skills!
The gender debates do not define your skills. It was never easy for women and it's never going to be less challenging in the future.
Sheryl Sandberg gives an important message in her book, Lean In: Women, Work and the Will to Lead for all the aspiring women out there who juggle between careers and other different roles in their lives.
Women need to shift from thinking 'I'm not ready to do that' to thinking 'I want to do that -- and I'll learn by doing it.'
Look for opportunities that can help you in growing your expertise.
Be the game-changer and stay up-to-date with industry knowledge.
The tech experts are usually not interested in the business aspects, but it’s time to understand the critical business pain points to address technology needs.
In the era of continuous advancements in the tech industry, coders must focus on the improvement of their programming skills.
Follow a mantra of upskilling, reskilling, and practice to keep pace with the new advancements in the tech industry.
Get hands-on in your field and coding specifically. It will improve your confidence level.
While at learning, it's time to improve learning methods as well.
Make use of online quizzes, creative apps, algorithms, etc.
Gain fluency in debugging and get to work on some projects to improve yourself.
Pick one technology stack and master it. It is all about challenging yourself and growing consistently.
2. Mentorship is major
Never hesitate to seek advice from those who have gained more experience and knowledge in the tech industry.
Seeking a mentor and developing networks are important for your success.
It's a great idea if you volunteer to work on different projects and groups, which can help you in learning more and building a network as well.
Having a mentor who has been in your shoes before means having huge support in staying updated about trends and technologies that you may not be aware of because you were away.
A mentor can be your constant guide in learning independently through skills enhancement programs.
The mentorship and coaching activities can help you build your confidence in the tech industry.
A mentor's role is to provide guidance, motivation, and support and help you achieve your career goals.
Here are the things a mentor may do for you:
- Listen and encourage
- Give honest feedback
- Discuss career goals
- Advice on the professional front
- Help in identifying career resources
- Grow leadership skills
- May provide insight into corporate culture
- Networking in the industry
- Motivate and support
3. Never stop learning
Don't just rely on learning through visuals or certification-based learning in the tech industry.
Rather adopt an experiential approach to learning and get more experiences through ongoing interactions and engagement with the world around you.
It's a more holistic approach that may help you understand that every single experience counts and shapes your journey in the tech industry.
Our environment, cognition, and emotions play a major role in nurturing our experiences.
Surface learning is only for qualifying for any exam but an experiential approach allows you to gain knowledge and skills through hands-on experience.
Some technologies are leveraged in training environments that may help you in applying theories and discussing them rather than just memorising them.
Experiential learning helps fill the skills gap through faculty-guided industry projects.
4. Learn new technology
In today's technology-dependent world, the competition for top talent is getting fierce.
People with strong technology skills are in high demand and achieving growth in the tech sector without the knowledge of one trending technology is just a dream.
Women are breaking barriers now and organisations are also willing to invest in creating learning and development opportunities for women at all levels to empower them at work.
To leverage it, enrol yourself in a skill enhancement program and learn about the latest technology.
Equip yourself with new technology and upskilling programmes to take on new roles and opportunities which can also help you in getting back on track with your career.
5. Get ready for the future roles
Get ready to cope with the dynamics of the emerging tech industry in your current roles. And stay confident to adopt the roles of the future.
The best way to shrink the gender gap in tech companies is by learning and refining your skills.
Be bold with your choices and decisions and not let anyone intimidate you.
Never hesitate to ask for help and be okay with not knowing. Rather consider spending time in personal learning and upgrading your skills.
Get ready to work in a dynamic environment and set your goals.
Take risks. Surround yourself with tech experts and know technology from your network and prepare yourself for future roles.
6. Strike a work-life balance
When it comes to job satisfaction, more than 57% of women opt for flexible work hours and remote work.
Also, to encourage more women in mid and senior-level management positions and curb drop-out rates, NASSCOM (The National Association of Software and Service Companies, a non-govt trade and advocacy group) has already favoured a flexible work atmosphere for women engaged in raising their families.
Striking a good work and life balance is important for sustaining in a rapidly changing tech industry.
Prioritising a balance between work and home helps you in prioritising 'you' as well. Don't neglect yourself.
If you put too much energy into work and neglect yourself then you will get burned out.
Job burnout is a real issue and most women are facing this exertion that may leave them feeling low and unmotivated.
Being ambitious is not wrong, but not taking time for yourself and prioritising your well-being is not going to help you.
You can take some more inspiration from Thrive Global (an American behaviour tech firm), which aggregates stories about work-life balance, health and wellness, and avoiding burnout.
Women are under-represented in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) jobs and that's what is referred to as a 'broken rung.'
There is a substantial barrier between women and promotions to manager-level positions which puts them at an instant disadvantage when it comes to their growth opportunities in the tech industry.
The women in the tech industry may be outnumbered but they are motivated, sharp-witted, and have a dream of reshaping the industry.
All you need to do is never let self-doubt get in your way and the fear of rejection stop you from growing.
Learn, rebuild and go fearless!