Back We need more women in tech
My skills are the ones most women naturally develop throughout their lives, whether it’s simply by running their own lives or raising children. For this reason, I have an unfortunate tendency to dismiss these skills as unrelated to tech (as many women do), but I’ve come to know they’re fundamental. This is why it has taken a while for me to get comfortable saying, “I’m a Woman in Tech” because it’s not something I ever expected. It’s not a career path that was ever pitched by my educators, in their minds I was first and foremost a writer and that was that.
So I grew up knowing that I’m not terrible at turning a phrase, and my first paid role outside of academia as a copywriter cemented this belief in my mind. Being paid to write was initially a dream, so I settled into a marketing agency and turned out around 20,000 words per week, becoming an expert in estate agency and childcare -- a rather novel experience when you don’t own your own home or want children. But, before long, I ran out of creative steam for topics I didn’t care about and I only wanted to write about topics that made me happy -- even if that meant not being paid for it. Having had this realisation I quickly fell out of love with my job and needed to take stock of my marketable skills.
Copywriting and proofreading (aka storytelling and attention to detail) -- check.
Type A personality -- check.
Hyper-organised -- check.
Deadline management -- check.
Loves client services, even on the bad days -- check.
Knowing who I was aside from my job title and what I could bring to a company made job hunting easier and it opened so many new possibilities up to me. Being willing to learn and willing to start over opened even more. With this said, of all the things I considered, being a Woman in Tech wasn’t on the list. Like so many women, I assumed that the only role in tech was coding, that the entire industry was a ‘nerdy’ boys club and that extroverted women who love the world of client services need not apply. I’m delighted to have been proven wrong.
I was fortunate enough to find a recruiter who saw me for my skills rather than my education which allowed me to consider new options, including tech. Accepting a role where I didn’t fully understand the industry was a risk, but I’m glad I took it. Of course, the imposter syndrome was real and I hurriedly Googled every acronym my new colleagues used. A year ago, when I heard ‘PR’ I thought of Public Relations, because I didn’t know what a Pull Request was. In all honesty, it has taken a long time to rewire my brain to accept the new acronyms I’m surrounded by, and I still occasionally have to look up the terms my teams use that I don’t recognise.
When I started in my current role I hadn’t ever written a line of code (I still haven’t for work, but I’ve learned some very basic HTML and CSS in my own time to satisfy my own curiosity) and I will never be a developer. I don’t want to be a developer, learning to code doesn’t float my boat. I want to learn about our clients and how I can help my team deliver the best possible work for them. This is my superpower and why I belong in this industry.
We need more women in tech, we need them to know that not every tech role includes coding, but that if you want to dive into software development it’s not just a boys club. We need to talk about how ‘soft’ skills are valuable and how they don’t have to change to fit a pre-supposed tech mold to be successful. We need them to come join us as they are, because that’s how we’ll make our teams more well-rounded and ultimately more successful -- and isn’t that what everyone wants?