I have filters setup to be able to see articles, blog posts, etc., being tweeted or shared about women in tech. I check this stream out daily. I would say on average there is about one or two new articles or ideas being shared every day. BUT, they all continue to say similar things about why we need more women in tech. Why is everyone saying the same thing? Doesn't anyone have their own brain and own way of thinking about this problem?
I wrote about this in another post but I want to get more people thinking about why there are less women in tech BUT I want to approach it from a different angle.
The reason why there are less women in technology jobs is because not all women know that jobs exist in tech that they can do. Women in tech come in different forms than only being someone who can code or develop. I am not a developer. I don't know how to code software. I can't build a single line of code. I also don't really want to be able to. There are jobs out there in the tech and startup space that women can thrive at. The thing that bothers me is that the media just keeps talking about how we need more women who can code, how we need more developers who are women. Why are we just focusing on those jobs? There are other roles that women can have at technology companies and at startups. A company is a company is a company. Right? Just because we are labeling a company a technology company doesn't mean they don't have jobs for women who can't code. We should start to focus on what types of jobs women can succeed at in the tech world.
Working at a tech company or a startup is a fast-paced life style.
Some women really want this type of environment. I personally know it is hard to come by in the corporate world. Working at a startup is fast paced. It is always changing. No really, everything is always changing. if you like that type of work environment then maybe tech is for you.
Working as a women in tech is not work. It is fun and it is a lifestyle choice.
Working as a women in tech is also something that you should recognize will change the way you live. Most people who work in tech or in startups are not working just to work. Just because you have to work to make a pay check. You are doing this because you like, no love what you do. You are working at a startup or a tech company because you believe strongly in what your company is solving for. If you really live and breathe the vision of your company you will make work a lifestyle and not just a way of making money. At HubSpot, for example, we don't work 9:00-5:00. People work when they want to or need to work. I can work from wherever I want, however I want if I consistently hit my goals and do my job well. There is a lot more freedom that you have when you work in the tech space. Your work is more fluid when working at a technology company or startup compared to a corporate environment.
Work fast. Work hard.
People always say working at a startup or technology company is fast paced. Yes, it is. If you don't like that then you wouldn't want to work in tech. But, for myself as an example, I am a fast person even when I am not at work. I don't know how to sit still. I don't know how to turn my brain off and not think about anything. if you are constantly going, constantly thinking about things and love to work hard all the time then you should think about startups and tech. You will work hard, you will work fast.
Culture. Culture. Culture.
Culture is a lot more important than I think we make it out to be. I know more than ever people and companies are posting culture decks and talking about their culture. Culture is really important to the happiness of your employees. If you don't have a great culture where people enjoy coming to work everyday then you won't have happy employees. Those unhappy employees won't do as well as they would if they were happy in a culture that fostered happiness. In the corporate world it seems like everyone is always complaining, always bored, just doing things to do things. I didn't like that culture at all. I wanted something where I could feel awake and happy all the time. I wanted a culture that fit with my personality. One that was supportive, friendly, hard working. You will find that in technology and at startups because they hire for culture fit. Find a company where your personality is a match for culture. Sometimes just having the grades, having the resume is not enough. Culture is part of a hiring matrix at startups and technology companies.
Support groups make women more successful.
Startups and technology companies seem to have awesome support groups. Usually there are different subsets of people popping up doing cool things. There might be a developer group that gets together on Monday nights to brew beer. There might be a group or support reps who go to a speaking seminar every week. There might be a group of women sales reps who get drinks once a month and have a speaker come in to talk. When I worked in the corporate world we never had these kinds of things. In startups you have people with similar interests, similar things in common so groups start popping up. There are so many different groups of people at HubSpot I can't even name them all here. But some include sports groups like ski groups, public speaking groups, learn to code groups, women in sales groups, etc. All these groups were formed to support like minded people and help these groups of people grow. Having a strong support group or people around you that support your vision and goals is important in helping you get to where you want to be.
You can make a good living in technology or startups.
Technology jobs pay good money. If you are trying to get out of that 9:00-5:00 job that pays $35k then you might want to start a career in tech or startups. You can work your way up at startups. You can work your way from nothing to something and make good money while doing it. Also, the skills you learn as a sole contributor to a startup or technology company could be really important to helping you make more money down the line or do something bigger like start your own company one day. The skills and the network you build at your first jobs in tech and startups will help you grow into other roles and other companies over time. Working in tech and in startups will help you grow financially and mentally.
We need to stop talking about just getting more developers and more engineers into the tech space. There are so many types of jobs that startups and tech companies can offer women. Women are good at lots of different things and we need to present the world with those types of opportunities. We as women in tech need to step up and help make what we do known to women who are not in tech. Some of those women not in tech might be one day if we expose them to the types of roles they could have in technology companies. We need to expose women to the benefits of working in the tech space. I want to highlight different types of roles that women have in technology and startups in some of my next posts. I am hopeful that women will share their stories as to what they do as a #womenintech so that more women know that you don't have to be a developer to work in technology. We don't just need women who can code in tech jobs we need all kinds of women with all kinds of skills. That will help us all to enable more women to get into tech.
For those women in tech or startups out there reading this -- please contact me and let me know what you do and why you do it. We all want to hear from you and more importantly we need to expose these roles to women who are not in tech so they might want to get into tech after hearing about them. #morewomenintech should be an initiative around exposure to jobs in tech not to just for getting more developers or having more women learn to code. We are setting a stereotype that for a woman to be in tech they must be a developer or must know how to code. Let's make it known that there are all kinds of women in tech and share their stories.