A Woman’s Guide to Breaking Into the Tech Industry

We live in an incredibly digital world, with the vast majority of us relying heavily on technology in our daily lives. Because of this, the industry offers unparalleled opportunities for lucrative careers with great development paths. Despite this, women still remain underrepresented in the IT sector, with current figures suggesting that just 26% of the technology workforce are women. Much of this imbalance can be put down to stereotypes and barriers to entry in the industry, however breaking into the tech sector as a woman is not only very possible, but immensely rewarding, too. With determination, planning and support from peers, females can pave a successful career in technology. In this guide, we detail eight steps to help you navigate your journey into tech.

1. Choose your path

Technology is a widely varied world, with hundreds of areas you could go into or specialise in. Take some time to learn a little about different aspects of technology, considering your soft skills, experience and what roles are in demand. Whether you aspire to be a software developer, project manager, UX designer or any other role, understanding where your passion lies will help you to guide your career path and ensure you thoroughly enjoy your job.

Find out more about different areas of tech in some of our handy guides:

2. Upskill yourself

Whatever stage you are in your life, it’s never too late to consider a change in career. The great thing about technology is that there are hundreds of resources you can use to learn more about the area of IT you’re pursuing. Invest in yourself by enrolling in relevant courses and bootcamps to help propel you into the industry. Many platforms offer resources and courses to suit various skill levels, and many of these are free, too. If you’re still in full time education and considering a tech career, speak with teachers and career advisors to ensure you’re choosing the best course for you – be it at university or college level. If you’re making the change later into your career, many companies will offer apprenticeships which help you to train whilst you earn.

3. Build your portfolio

Once you’ve gained some theoretical knowledge, it’s important to consider what practical experience you can undertake too. This can be difficult when you’re looking for entry-level experience, however working on personal projects can be really impressive to prospective employers and you will gain invaluable experience by practising what you have learnt. Hackathons are a great way of showcasing your skills in programming, for example, and most hackathons are free too. Building a strong portfolio of experience which you’ve initiated yourself will demonstrate your capabilities and passion to prospective employers and help to set you apart from other candidates.

4. Networking is key

They say in business it’s not what you know, it’s who you know, and this is definitely the case in the world of technology. Building a strong professional network of relevant people both in and out of the industry will help you to make connections and move your career forward. You can do this by attending industry events such as expos and awards ceremonies, as well as engaging with online communities. LinkedIn is a great tool to help you keep track of connections and stay updated with their career movements and news. Being active on LinkedIn is so important when job seeking, as many employers will look on there when they consider you for a role.

5. Tailor your job search

Now you’ve selected your skill area, built on your education and experience, and are well on your way to building a great professional network of people, you’re ready to start looking for a job. In tech, there are many specialist job searching tools and sites to help you find the perfect role for you. Research employers who are actively looking to recruit women into their tech teams and who promote inclusivity and diversity in their organisation. Use niche job search sites for your skillset and make the most of your professional network to find opportunities which are relevant for you. Additionally, consider reaching out to companies / recruiters directly and attend career fairs to expand your network and visibility.

6. Be prepared for an interview

Job interviews are something a lot of us, particularly women, tend to dread. Things like imposter syndrome and self-doubt can easily creep in, but if you prepare yourself for the questions you’ll likely be asked, you can relax in the knowledge that you are ready. If you’re going into a very technical role, be prepared to demonstrate your skills via things like technology assessments and tests. Remember to utilise your experience and skills that you’ve picked up along the way and showcase yourself and your passion for the industry confidently.

7. Never stop learning

The technology industry is one of the fastest-growing in the world. Continuous advancements and new technologies mean that you cannot afford to rest on your laurels. Commit to lifelong skill development and learning and stay updated on emerging technologies, industry trends and best practices through online resources and development programmes. Employers will really value someone who is passionate about the industry they work in, and by using the learnings you’ve gained from your own research and genuine interest in the sector, you will stand out as an ideal candidate.

8. Be an advocate for other women

One of the ways we can increase diversity and reduce the gender gap in technology is by advocating for DE&I in our workplaces and the broader tech community. By encouraging and supporting other women who are pursuing careers in IT and actively participating in creating inclusive work environments, you can play your part in helping the mission. Seeking out support networks like Women in Tech can help you to share your experiences with others and gain advice and information.

Breaking into an industry will always come with challenges and barriers, but by remaining determined and equipping yourself with the right tools, learnings and experiences, anyone can do it. Technology is a dynamic and innovative field with great benefits, especially for women. Embrace opportunities for growth, leverage your unique perspectives and talents, and remember that your voice and contributions are invaluable to shaping the future of technology. Good luck!

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