Chances are that if you hear colleagues talking about any IT department, there is a gender stereotype around the employees. The assumption is usually that Information Technology is a male-dominated field, which can be frustrating for female technicians and software designers. If you’re a woman looking to change careers into information technology, there are a few persuasive reasons to challenge the gender stereotype and become a female employee in the IT sector.
The World Needs More Technicians
Technicians are invaluable to any business or new start-up company. In the 21st century, we rely on technology and computers to a fundamental extent. If the server crashes for a day, then a company will lose a day’s worth of business. Re-training to become a company’s salvation is a great way to spend your working days.
Furthermore, there’s still a huge gender imbalance in the tech sector. Even though women are half of the U.S. workforce – we make up half of the population, after all – only 20% of tech jobs are held by women. So, yes, the gender stereotype that most IT employees are men in the United States needs to change.
Develop Specialized Skills
How many people can say that they can successfully design a circuit board from scratch? Learning the skills to use a design tool such as CircuitStudio to not only design circuit boards but also route them and ship advanced electronics is a unique ability. In other words, it’s not your average day in the office. Learning how to code and create software will also make you invaluable to businesses and start-ups who want to modernize.
Have a Career that Grows Out as Well as Up
With both software and hardware training, you have a diverse set of skills to use in many sectors. At one phase in your career you could be fixing a server in a factory. And then in a few years, you could be managing computer systems in a law firm. There aren’t many industries that don’t require information technology. By trying new industries and applying your IT skills to it, you also step outside of your comfort zone, which is a major factor in success.
Encourage Younger Generations
The more younger women and girls see their own gender in the technology sector, the more young females will be inspired to join in. Showing those who are in education and training that IT is a valuable career path, regardless of gender, helps to increase female visibility. A popular viewpoint is that visibility is what will help more women migrate into this industry. It’s the younger generations that are likely to change the 20% statistic I mentioned earlier.
The IT Gender Stereotype and Social Change
Overcoming the IT gender stereotype can have a big effect on up and coming generations. By joining the Information Technology sector you increasingly create a norm, not an exception. Challenging stereotypes by just turning up to work is a powerful move.
Perhaps your IT department sadly lives up to the gender stereotype. Or maybe it doesn’t, and you want to keep it that way. Changing the statistics and promoting visibility isn’t an overnight process. But one way to help is to encourage more women to join IT at education career fairs and other events. Let’s each do our part to push for gender equality in tech and elsewhere.