What do you want from your career? Whether you’re motivated by money, want to make a difference, passionate about a specific cause or industry or crave fast-paced career development, the technology sector will bring all of these benefits, and more, your way.
Yet a major gender imbalance remains. There were 1.18 million IT specialists working in the UK in 2014, of which only 17% were women. Less than one-in-ten of the UK’s IT directors were women and female representation in the IT professions has stagnated over the last 10 years, research reveals.
The reasons behind this imbalance are not fully understood. It seems illogical that a sector as prevalent, fascinating and important as the technology industry fails to attract 50% of the world’s population.
Here are five reasons which show the benefits for women to work in technology:
If you work in technology, you don’t have to resign yourself to a lackluster role that serves no purpose. Technology inspires and drives the way the world functions and lives.
The passion and drive of the tech sector is infectious, as Blakelee Mills, CEO of scientific graphics software house Golden Software, explained: “I serendipitously entered the technological space, and I’ve remained because of the ever changing nature of the industry. Technology is the driving force behind the majority, if not all, of today’s innovations.”
You’ll never get bored in the tech sector either as new markets and opportunities are constantly arising, as Bhavya Aggarwal, co-founder for the web annotation and collaboration tool zipBoard, said: “I thoroughly enjoy being in tech, because of the every changing world of technology. I love the idea of being able to learn so much and still not know enough.”
Technology is the ultimate portable career. From app development to computer forensics, cyber security to web design, the range of job roles and industries that fall under the technology umbrella is huge.
A candidate with the right skill set can work for almost any company and from anywhere in the world. You can also marry your passions in non-technical fields with technology by, for example, developing the code that sits behind the next NASA space mission.
The transferable skills acquired from working in technology also bring career advantages, as Dr Rebecca Sykes, technology innovation leader at engineering, technical and business services organisation Lloyd’s Register, said: “A benefit of working in technology is that I have acquired a unique skill set which has meant I am able to move to many different roles in my company.”
It may even give you the skills, experience and opportunity to set up your own business, as Riya Jadhav, cofounder and director of ecommerce at digital agency iDigitalise, said: “Taking the tech route for my career has always given me the confidence to work in large corporates consulting global retail clients, leading to creating my own digital agency.”
Simply put, a career in technology is a career without boundaries.
Technology isn’t just about coming up with cutting-edge ideas – you need to work in technology to explore how those ideas will work in the real world. Mills added: “I have the utmost respect for the impact technology has made and will continue to make on the world.”
This gives you the opportunity to really make a difference by solving heavyweight problems, as Dr Sykes explained: “I studied renewable energy systems technology as I am also ethically motivated to care for the environment. Energy seemed to be such a significant form of pollution that by applying my skills in that area, I felt I may be able to make a contribution.”
Tech professionals are always in demand as technology is integral to the success of so many different fields. With high demand comes competitiveness – and high rates of pay. For example, a CIO usually commands a six-figure salary and a mid-weight software developer can earn an average salary of £30,000 per year.
It’s not just about your pay grade – tech companies are often swift to offer staff a range of additional perks from medical insurance to free food, maternity and paternity leave on full pay, flexible working hours, work from home options and, in the case of Airbnb, a $2,000 (£1,500) travel allowance.
What if technology just isn’t your thing? Well, you don’t have to be a genius to work in technology.
The technology industry doesn’t only need developers and programmers. It needs graphic designers, HR experts, project managers, marketing professionals and writers, for example. If you opt for one of these positions in the tech sector, you will also have the unique opportunity to learn more about the technology we use every single day – and expand your intellectual horizons and career prospects.
A switch from the humanities to technology is another potential pathway into the industry. Elisa Roselli, a senior information developer at Hewlett-Packard Enterprise, shared her story: “The University where I taught was offering a Conversion Masters in Computer Science for people who already had Masters in other subjects. I was the only humanist so it took me two years of preparation (including remedial maths) to get admitted to it. It was far more challenging than anything I had done at Cambridge, but I passed the course as I was entering my forties and reinvented myself as a technical writer in software.”
Whatever route you take, a career in technology is a fulfilling and fascinating one. Technology professionals develop cutting-edge products and solutions that entertain us, improve the environment, keep us connected and save lives.
I have worked as a woman in technology for some 10 years now and it has enabled me to carve out a second career as “the freelance writer who gets tech”. I’ve started my own business and can spend more time being a Mum to my two young boys.
Technology has meant I won’t miss out on those precious moments as they grow up – and I still get to challenge myself intellectually. Without technology, I would not have had the opportunity to set up my business or develop the skill set to see it thrive.
For me, working in technology means I have the best of both worlds.
By Gemma Church
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