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Considering a career in technology? Here’s what women tech leaders have to say

When I asked women tech leaders to share their insight on being a women in technology for an article, I didn’t expect the hundreds of responses to flood my inbox. Since being a woman in tech leadership is still vastly underrepresented, I wanted their voices to be heard to encourage and excite the next generation of women to consider a career in tech.

A big thank you to all the tech leaders that shared their insight. If you’re a tech leader and/or HR/Hiring experts and are willing to share your comments for future articles, please email ElizabethB@protechfl.com.

“As a technology pioneer, as well as music industry insider, the best advice I can give to any aspiring female who dares to chart her own course is this: If you’re going to get in the game, then play the game with all your heart, and learn to win fairly and squarely. Low self-esteem will destroy you. So will secrets. In the end, whatever you choose to do, own it. Don’t apologize for being brave and courageous. And admit when you’ve made a mistake. Learn from it and move on. Don’t be a spark. Be the flame that burns through inequalities and leave an indelible trail of dust that boldly leads other women in the direction of their dreams,” said Elizabeth Vargas, Founder and CEO of Edge Music Network

“Go for it! You are just as qualified as anyone! Have the confidence that you can make an impact. Sit at table and be an active participant in everything you can. Don’t sit on the sideline,” said Shelly Mudd, CRO of Jobs2Careers.com

“Tech is such a fast-changing space, that it’s important to keep an open mind. It is easy to develop a simplified view of tech careers when much of what you see in the headlines is about the latest unicorn” or billion-dollar start-up powered by a mobile app. Yet, there are so many other possibilities. Some career paths like product management are not supported by a formal area of study at most colleges and universities, so it takes some extra courage to just try it out. In my case, I tripped and fell into the product management field before I even knew what it was called. Product managers need to collaborate extremely well with others and provide effective matrix-style leadership – influencing and persuading others even if you’re not the boss” and your title is special projects Sometimes women in tech may not perceive themselves -or be perceived by others – as having confidence, especially true when you are a product manager in a matrix organization with mostly male colleagues. I remember a time earlier in my career when I left a boardroom meeting with the executive leadership team and the senior vice president over my business pulled me aside to ask me why I was so quiet when he knew I had a lot of ideas. The point was Why be present in an executive discussion if you’re not going have a presence?” I still reflect on the nudging he gave me whenever I walk into a meeting, knowing I’m likely to be the only women or one of very few in the room. It takes building a high level of self-awareness to always bring your unique strengths and confidence in your ideas to the table,” said Jeanine Banks, EVP of GlobalProducts and Solutions of Axway

“1) Mentor – Women should get involved with programs like Girls Who Code and Ladies Learning Code as these are raising awareness and opening opportunities for women in tech. 2) Speak Up – A woman should communicate and recognize their achievements to their managers, taking charge of her career path. In that same vein, a woman shouldn’t hesitate to ask questions and examine problems and concepts from a different perspective. Communicating with your team is key to succeeding in the tech space.  3) Be Proactive – If you are unhappy where you are at, don’t be afraid to make a move that will advance your career. Go after what you deserve and don’t wait for someone to give it to you,” said Deborah Kilpatrick, Co-founder and VP of Marketing of SourceKnowledge

“Although it seems as if technology is a male-dominated space, technology is only a tool to solve real world problems. The one biggest advantage of recent advances in technology is that it allows us to create solutions to problems at scale. My advice to young women would be to try to identify important problems that need solutions, and if technology is one tool to solve that problem, pursue it,” said Swathi Kiran, Co-founder and Chief Scientist of Constant Therapy

“As a woman in tech, you have to be more vigilant and harder than you might want to be. It’s not easy, but fascinating and rewarding,” said Christine Bottagaro, CMO of Rogue Wave Software

“Be especially mindful of what I call ‘shiny ball syndrome.’ Because the tech space operates on the edge; we don’t just participate in a market but we define markets, you’ll often know about and have access to the latest things. Whether that’s as straight-forward as the latest social channel or a more complex programmatic tool, in many ways those options are no different than the classic out-of-home billboard – they’re just tools in your toolbox, available to pull out if they support your strategy. Don’t get distracted by the latest thing: consider it, but use it because it has a place in your marketing plan and not (just) because it’s exciting,” said Alina Morkin, Director of Marketing  of Voices.com

“Be yourself but try some experiments with your looks and behavior to gauge people’s reactions. In my experiments, I noticed that the less makeup I had on and the more I stood my ground, the more respect I felt like I was receiving. Whether my perception was real or not, making these personal tweaks gave me more confidence around the many dominant personalities at Microsoft,” said Jessica Jobes, Founder of OnTheGrid

“Climb your own ladder. You don’t need to climb the same ladders as those before you, whether they are men or women. Be choiceful about how you can and want to ebb and flow in your career. Focus on the tradeoffs you are and aren’t willing to make along the way and the times when other things (e.g., family, friends, etc.) need to be prioritized before your career. Women need to remember that careers are long and nonlinear. For women to be more successful, we need to be more creative with our constraints and better at drawing (and holding to) our own boundaries – knowing when it is time to plow forward in our careers and when it is time to shift our priorities elsewhere – and believing that it’s ok to do so. Too many companies use ‘women becoming moms’ or ‘women don’t want those intense roles’ as excuses for why they don’t have more women at the top. But we don’t have to let that stop us, we may just have to get there another way, which allows us to stay true to the moms, wives, sisters, daughters, businesswomen, and friends we want to be. To do this, particularly in tech, requires drive, creativity, and efficiency – important qualities that many women possess. Hone your soft skills. In tech roles, women often find that it is extremely hard to remain true to their core values. It is sometimes hard not shift to the type of leader that appears to be more successful” in traditional tech environments. I’ve watched many women over the years become quite ‘harsh’ or ‘bullies’ as they take on characteristics they think they need to emulate to move up the traditional ladders. However, the tech industry needs more leaders with excellent soft skills, or what some might call more feminine characteristics. And nowadays, every company is a tech company in some form or fashion, so if the shoe doesn’t fit at one place, then don’t wear it for too long. You can change. It’s never been more necessary for tech leaders to tap into soft skills that allow them to lead openly with empathy, humility, approachability, and transparency, and today it is more possible than ever to find the right fit for you. Leaders with these type of soft skills tend to adapt and innovate quicker, collaborate well with others, think well on their feet without all the information, and determine how to triage between problems and priorities quickly. Take risks. Fail fast and move on. Women often are reticent to take on a role or task they don’t feel completely qualified to do. I promise you, men don’t do this! Take that leap into trying something completely different–lead a development effort, take on a change program, propose your new idea. I also find that women can tend to turn down opportunities that are out of their wheelhouse EVEN when a leader they respect offers it to them directly. What’s the worst that can happen? I find imagining the worst case scenario and thinking through the right team to help gives me the courage to give it a go. There is a great quote from Nelson Mandela, “I never lose. I am either winning or learning.” I bet if you take on this philosophy with new opportunities, you’ll be surprised at how well you do and how much you learn,” said Jackie Yeaney, Executive vice president, Strategy and Marketing of Red Hat

“Consider the full range of open tech positions available for to you — data science, UX design, product management etc. and see which of your strengths best complement the job requirements. It’s important to assess the company’s environment and practices to make sure that it’s representative of a collective and not a singular culture. Also, make sure that you find a mentor early on in your career who can teach you valuable technical skills, be a strong support system and sharpen your career trajectory,” said Elizabeth Scherle, Co-Founder and President  of Influenster

“Do it! Even if you’re somewhere else doing something else, you need to learn what it means! The word technology” can sometimes feel opaque and daunting. It can also feel like it has nothing to do with what you may have studied or dreamt of doing. But here’s the thing- technology is everything. It is the all-encompassing material to manifest what ever it is that you may have wanted to do. If you aren’t sure what you wanted to do or be, even better— understanding the way technology is designed and built will provide the tools to start something when you’ve decided what you want to do. It’s important to understand how software and hardware systems are made, otherwise,  it will get harder and harder to find your place in the economy of the future,” said Charlotte Lee, CEO of Kastling

“Do it! One of the biggest hurdles I hear from women looking to get into the field are often just myths. For example, I don’t know how to code, or I’m not a technical person. The truth is, the tech sphere is a very creative industry, and learning foundational skills like coding and design is extremely approachable; you don’t need to be a Zuckerberg in order to enter this industry. Plus tech is notoriously short on great talent, and many are looking to diversify their workplace, giving women a huge advantage to compete,” said Mandy Wise, Head of Curriculum and Lead Instructor  of Red Academy

“Do it. I think you should do what you love no matter what obstacles seem to be in your way. I have never let the fact I am a woman stop me from doing what I want to do.  If we let society tell us the direction we need to go in, we have nobody to blame for where we end up then ourselves.  The technology era and workplace we are living in now is probably the fastest growing and fastest evolving in human history.  Programs encouraging women to enter IT help, but it is our responsibility to jump in, learn the language and keep floating ideas or asking questions.  Many companies will welcome that approach and appreciate talent.  And if they don’t, by then you, too, may have the knowledge and ideas to strike out on your own,” said Nicolie (Nicky) Lettini, Founder of CostTree

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“Do not be intimidated by math or science. Your brain is fully able to learn, understand, and apply any subject. Be prepared for possible resistance from more traditional elements in either the industry, education, or maybe even from your family. When you know there will be obstacles, you can better prepare yourself for them. A woman looking to go into engineering or even help desk will see few role models. There is also research that says if you’re the only woman interviewing for a position, you’re the outlier” and less likely to even get the job. You may also end up being the only woman in the company. Which may mean harassment, being a marginal member of the team, or maybe nothing worse than being the only person who thinks that loud farts aren’t funny. You’ll maybe have to think of yourself as either being a civilizing influence or a brave pioneer, but just be prepared that it might be different than a company with more balance,” said Beth Bridges, Vice President of Digital Identity of J – I.T. Outsource

“Do what you love and don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t. The passion and curiosity you bring to the table will fuel your success– doing what you love brings that all together.   Also, get over your imposter syndrome and find your confidence and your voice — anyone who feels fully in control of their job needs a bigger challenge. There are so many decision points where capable women can easily opt out of tech into other fields, that if you remain in the field, you’re likely quite good. Additionally, don’t be shy about putting yourself forward for opportunities as they arise — your male colleagues are not waiting to be asked to apply for interesting roles, they are out there looking for them. If we want to see change, we need to take it upon ourselves to drive diversity in the workplace and not expect others to solve the problem for us,” said Liz Borowsky, Director of Mapping  of Akamai Technologies

“Don’t fade away—Keep talking until you are truly heard AND understood. As a tech/security professional, and former military professional, I want to stress the importance of continuing to be an active and dynamic force in conversations. Don’t be afraid to toot your own horn, be your own advocate, and cultivate your own opportunities. Listen to detractors, but don’t shrink away from your ideas or beliefs in the face of questions or opposition. You have to recognize that your contributions are valuable and relevant to solving the problem at hand,” said Yolonda Smith, Product Manager  of Pwnie Express

“Don’t limit yourself: Learn and try new things even if they’re not aligned with how you envision your career progressing. My willingness to take on new roles and responsibilities in different industries has given me a breadth of experience that I tap into every day. I’ve had the opportunity to work on amazingly successful ventures, and have also experienced epic failures. Be willing to take risks, and then apply what you’ve learned to the next opportunity. A career evolves over time, it doesn’t start and finish with a single job,” said Lisa Dawson, Executive Director, Production  of Smashing Ideas

“Don’t be afraid to take the hardest job in the company or the industry. It’s always a good learning experience and creates an opportunity to leave a mark. Even if you fail, people will recognize that you tried. Because the pace of tech is faster than other industries, you do have to move forward just to stand still. Tech can be a rewarding career if you are naturally inclined toward continuous education and improvement. Choose an employer that is willing to invest in your career. This means providing the training you need for your current job as well as your next role, and giving you high profile, stretch assignments that push you and help you grow. Support from your direct manager is equally important. This can be as simple as allowing you to take time off for training, to reimburse travel expenses for attending conferences, to contribute to open source communities on company time. It can also mean mentoring and coaching you. Choose a company that is willing to invest in its individual employees, so that you can gain the technical and leadership skills needed for your current and future roles,” said Susan Wu, Director of Technical Marketing of Midokura

“Don’t be afraid! If you are thinking about it, I’d recommend two things: first, explore it and make it real to remove some of the fear of the unknown. Second, find a mentor – male or female. Having someone to go to as you have questions and, if you ultimately choose to move forward with a career in tech, can use as a coach as you navigate the different parts of your career is invaluable,” said Kristin Toth Smith, COO of Dolly, Inc

“Don’t ever let anyone talk you out of your dreams, but don’t think anyone’s going to hand you anything either. Figure out what is important to you and what kind of professional you want to be in 10-15 years, then build your tribe to support you in the journey. When it gets difficult and you begin questioning yourself, your actions, and your choices, you need people around you to reinforce your efforts, give you energy and help continue to push you forward. And don’t expect it to be easy or fair; in fact, the journey will likely be harder for you than the guy sitting next to you. See this added challenge as a way to harden and sharpen your resolve, because being truly successful — no matter who you are — requires grit. Never compromise, either. Stay true to yourself and to being a woman, don’t sell-out and think you have to play by the guys’ rules. Do the right thing and never sacrifice what you believe for a job, promotion or any company.  At the end of the day the only thing you truly own is your reputation – your brand, what you’ve built, what you’ve learned and your own potential,” said Rachel Taylor, VP of Operations  of Rocana

“Don’t get pigeon-holed early:  keep yourself open to the possibility of changes and make sure that the steps you take do not limit what you can do in the future. When I was 18, I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life (I had plenty of idea what I did NOT want to do though). My dad suggested computer science and one of his main arguments was: computers will be used in every field, whatever you learn now, you will still be able to go into almost any profession later. Right he was …More generally: allow for the rise of opportunities more so than trying to hunt them down. Opportunities in life present themself – you typically cannot make them happen. They will come from your social environment, the people you impressed with either your skills or character or both. So be good at what you do and make the people you work with your friends rather than competitors. A corollary to the previous two: meet as many people as you can, help them,  be visible, take opportunities to go out there, try to retain some broader visibility by participating in things like meetups, see out public speaking opportunities and practice communication in general, don’t be shy – reach out to established people in the field, get a handle on your ‘imposter syndrom’ – we all have it. Make sure you find good mentors early in your career that will support you and help you grow – look at the other people who you will be working with – are they happy, did they succeed at building a network? A good mentor is NOT somebody famous. A good mentor is a person who is willing to share, happy to see you succeed rather than using your work to make him/herself more successful. They also help you grow – teach you how to be successful by yourself rather than micromanaging your every move, which teaches you how they get things done, not how you will be the best you can be. Have a no regret policy: I have been much better at knowing what I would probably regret, than knowing what I would want. Maybe that is me, but more often than not I have taken an opportunity because it felt that I would regret not doing so rather than because I knew this is what I wanted.  Give yourself time to collect experience in a number of different fields and places, career will come as you grow. Speaking to Growing: grow yourself as a person as well! Cherish your hobbies, do not sacrifice your life for a career – to be successful you need to figure out balance. There is great skill in good prioritization.  Most importantly, trust your gut. When you look at opportunities, don’t just check the credential, but feel if this would be right for you. Pick a place that appreciates you for your skills rather than that you appreciate it for its name,” said Claudia Perlich, Chief Data Scientist of Dstillery

“First I would say, if you are not an engineer or computer science specialist, you still have tons of opportunities to have a career in tech. There are many roles like customer success, marketing, operations where you will learn a lot about technology, and still be able to succeed without having a technical degree or background. ,” said Leilani Latimer , Senior Director of Global Marketing  of Zephyr Health

“Focus on your strengths, not your weaknesses. We are often told that we don’t speak up enough for example. Listening is a strength. For example, rather than stewing about whether you are talking enough in a meeting, listen and analyze the meeting. Use that to make the right calls after the meeting and influence what actually happens versus what was planned in the meeting … it always changes in implementation. This also means you need to know and be confident in your strengths, which isn’t as easy as it sounds, and women will typically underplay their expertise. This focus helps you realize where you are strong and keeps you honing those skills. This is not to say that you ignore your weaknesses, but they only have to be good enough… your strengths are what will carry you through your career,” said Jana Eggers, CEO of Nara Logics

“Forget the stereotype that I.T. is a man’s role.. It’s not. There’s no difference between what men and women are capable of in this business. The key is to bring passion to what you’re doing. As a kid, my parents always told me to dream big and work hard. That’s the most important lesson I’ve learned in my career, and it’s a formula that really works,” said Anastasia Zamyshlyaeva, VP of Product Management of Reltio

“Go for it! But go in knowing that it IS a male dominated industry and there ARE challenges (many of them).  Be prepared to work incredibly hard, in fact expect to work harder than your male counterparts–in that beyond doing excellent work, you need to get out of your comfort zone and do the things that women unlike their men shy away from: get better at showcasing your work, accepting praise, being more vocal and assertive with your ideas and of course asking for that raise when you deserve it,” said Arsineh Ghazarian , Co-founder and CEO  of Zveil

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“Go for it! Diversity across the industry has led to a range of viewpoints that not only provide the most creative and innovative ideas, but push the envelope enabling us to create and innovate smarter. Not only is this leading to an appreciation of various backgrounds in the tech space, but is creating an insatiable demand for qualified female leadership. And while not always seen this way, a career in tech can offer an unparalleled opportunity for creativity at the forefront of innovation. This creativity in tandem with the applications of science, technology, engineering and math will be critical to the success of any career – whether that is in core technology, or open you up to other pursue other interests you worth exploring. Young women should view this demand in the space as a call to action, allowing them to embrace their imagination and have an everlasting impact on the world,” said Meerah Rajavel, CIO of Qlik

“Health care and entrepreneurship have been a part of my life since childhood.  I have been fortunate to have strong women role models – my grandmothers and mom – each of them leaders and connectors in their own way.  In my career, I have found the greatest satisfaction from the creative processes of problem solving,  building teams and building products. I’ve also been very passionate about solving for the complexity of the health care industry.  In addition to being the go to” person in my circle of family and friends to resolve healthcare issues, I’ve personally gone through two complicated pregnancies, leading to a mountain of insurance questions and paperwork, that inspired me to apply my expertise in health care to building new solutions that can simplify the convoluted process of choosing and then using your health plan. Health care and entrepreneurship have been a part of my life since childhood.  I have been fortunate to have strong women role models – my grandmothers and mom – each of them leaders and connectors in their own way.  In my career, I have found the greatest satisfaction from the creative processes of problem solving, building teams and building products. I’ve also been very passionate about solving for the complexity of the health care industry.  In addition to being the go to” person in my circle of family and friends to resolve healthcare issues, I’ve personally gone through two complicated pregnancies, leading to a mountain of insurance questions and paperwork, that inspired me to apply my expertise in health care to building new solutions that can simplify the convoluted process of choosing and then using your health plan,” said Sally Poblete, CEO of Wellthie

“I always encourage young women to consider a career in tech. Women bring a unique perspective and a breadth of talent to a tech field that is still dominated by men.  And it is a welcome and much needed perspective.  I would also recommend reading the inspirational book “Lean In” by Sheryl  Sandberg.  And quoting her from her book …have the ambition to lean in to your career and run the world.  Because the world needs you to change it.  Women all around the world are counting on you,” said Julianne Matzell, VP of Product of SheerID

“I’d offer women considering a career in tech the same advice I’d give to young women considering any career: do it if that’s what excites you. Building a career is an intensive effort over time so you want to make sure that what you’re doing what motivates you (and has a reasonably clear path to meeting your financial goals too). Also, be aware that tech is a competitive space and you’ll often be the only woman in the room,” said Jennifer Fitzgerald, Co-founder and CEO of PolicyGenius

“If in doubt, put yourself forward for things.  As women, we’re much less likely to go for an opportunity we don’t see ourselves as 100% qualified for than men.  Get comfortable with the idea of rejection and fire off applications to anything that appeals to you.  The one that ends up being your dream job might surprise you,” said Angela Bradbury , CEO of Chime

“If you have the aptitude and interest, I would encourage women to consider a career in the Technology Field.  It is a career of life long learning no day is ever the same which keeps it both interesting and challenging. As the technology change, new opportunities open up to contribute.  This career offers real value and contribution to helping the business grow through productivity improvements and/or revenue generating projects. Technologists will always be required therefore, it is a solid career,” said Cathleen Lilli, Director Infrastructure Services of Konica Minolta

“It’s the same advice that I would give to any young woman when considering their career: be deeply passionate about what you pursue, and be prepared to advocate for your vision and your ideas. I believe women are uniquely positioned to bring innovative thinking to bear on longstanding problems. Social issues like education or poverty are no exception.  My hope is that women pursuing careers in tech—whether as engineers, leaders, communicators—focus their attention on making an impact with some of our biggest societal challenges in fields like education, energy, defense, and health,” said Kai-leé Berke, CEO of Teaching Strategies

“Know the value that you bring and see yourself as an asset.  Show up ready to fully engage yourself in your work regardless of age, experience, or level of development. Speak your mind – your voice and perspective are as important as any technical skills you bring to the table.  You are fully capable to help others,” said Jannie Lai, Head of UX  of Light

“Learn to code if possible. If that’s not possible, then make it a priority to find a technical co-founder,” said Vivian Rosenthal, Founder (and former CEO) of Snaps

“[I] would encourage anyone who is intellectually curious and enjoys a fast-paced environment to consider a career in technology. There are endless options in this industry regardless of gender,” said Lexi Reese, Chief Experience Officer of Gusto

“Like Nike says, just do it! That said, do it right. I work with women all day every day and it really makes a difference to work in a diverse culture. There is a unique camaraderie and spirit to a group that recognizes and respects our very different life experiences,” said Felicite Moorman, CEO of StratIS

“My advice for women considering a career in tech: Jump in with both feet. Exploring a career path that is mostly male dominated might feel like a feat in itself. But the tech industry represents so many opportunities and paths for success. It is empowering to know that there aren’t really that many women executives in high-tech, and I have followed my path and found myself in this position. This next generation of women can really change the world with technology, and really become a part of something bigger than themselves. Go for it,” said Stephanie Weagle, Senior Director of Marketing  of Corero Network Security

“My advice for women entering tech is to not let men scare you. Know your value and stand your ground. You are not some dumb chick,” said Stacy Rybchin, Founder & CEO of My Secret Luxury and My Secret Soiree

“My advice here is pretty basic.  It’s really like any other industry- you have to know your stuff.  Whatever the area of tech you are interested in, its important to educate yourself thoroughly by take courses and really understanding the ins and outs of that medium.  There are tremendous advantages to being a woman in tech in 2016, but the most amazing is the current number of opportunities and jobs available for women.  Companies in technology see the unbalanced scales when it comes their workforce and are encouraging women to apply for open positions.  They are eager to have a female perspective and bring more women to the tech sector,” said Sandy Rubinstein, CEO of Dxagency

“My advice is that if you’re considering a career in tech, carefully consider all the pros and cons, and ultimately follow your heart and listen to your brain. Decide yes and don’t look back if a tech career is your passion. Don’t doubt yourself, don’t look back, and know that you are making the right choice for you. If a career in tech is your passion, gobble it up and devour every morsel of information that comes your way and is placed in front of you. Connect with everyone & anyone you know. Don’t be afraid to ask for help, a mentor, or a job! Go the extra mile, indeed, for it is never crowded,” said Carrie Wick , Head of Global PR & Communications  of eKomi The Feedback Company

“My advice is to target companies that you are passionate about and that are showing relatively better leadership and Board diversity (such as Pandora) and/or making public commitments to improvement (like Intel). Even more true today than ever is that your network is critical to your success.  Get on LinkedIn now and don’t be afraid to connect with people more senior than yourself as long as you’re acquainted and/or colleagues.  As you get more experience, take every opportunity to connect with people who are more junior and in functional areas different from yours.  You’ll be hiring before you know it and you’ll be glad to have those connections. Take notes and do your research.  I work almost exclusively with Millenials, and I love and admire them for their integrity, fearlessness and accomplishments in changing our world for the better. But two things they do that drive the older generations they’ll be working with for the next 25 years crazy are that they don’t write things down and they don’t do enough digging for information before coming to a conclusion. These are simple practices to change and would speed their success within any organization,” said Donna Wells, CEO of Mindflash Technologies

“My advice to a young female entering the technology industry is to be accountable and produce great work. Female CEO leaders are far and few between, but female leaders in the industry exist at all levels. Be your own leader… or better, be the leader among your coworkers because you’re doing a good job,” said Tara Chambers, Director of Markering of Scott’s Marketplace

“My best advice to women looking to get into tech would be to follow your passion and let your curiosity guide you. There are so many facets to tech anymore your bound to find an area that just fits. Tech is kind of a cover all category for anything from tinkers (hardware) to coders (developers) to even more pyschology and marketing (Interactive Experience Design) orientation. The organizers amongst us can find a home in Product Management,” said Michelle Greenier, Founder of Purveyor of Geekery

“My advice to women entering tech is to be ready for an adventure. This will be both a professional and personal journey. You must be ready to learn, keep an open mind, and at times have a thick skin.  I’ve also learned that to make your up the ranks you need to advocate for yourself, and have sponsors who will recognize your contributions and be willing to challenge the status quo with you,” said Kasha Guathier, CFO/COO of Pwnie Express

“Owing to the rise of mobile technology and the spread of tech into almost every industry, there are more tech related career paths for woman to pursue than ever before. The integration of augmented reality into beauty, fashion, entertainment and is just one example. My advice for women considering tech is to focus fully on what you love (whether it’s problem solving, designing, coding, etc.) and dive headfirst into it, no matter what challenges may arise. Don’t allow gender to be an obstacle when pursuing your dream career. Choose a meritocratic company that encourages collaboration and fosters an environment for all team members to contribute their ideas,” said Alice Chang, CEO & Founder of YouCam Makeup app

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“Regardless of whether or not you are proficient in coding or studied computer science, there is a key role for young women in technology. Technology is a growing cross-sectoral industry, so any career a young woman chooses to pursue is bound to have a digital component. Think progressively and don’t be intimidated by the tech world or the silly brogrammer stereotype that shrouds it. No matter what educational background a woman has, she will be a valuable asset to a tech company by leveraging her transferrable skills,” said Cleo Dan, Director of Media and Communications and Product Manager of Muster

“Stay true to yourself and don’t think too much about the fact that you’re entering a male-dominated industry. If this is your passion and you’re keen to learn and be the best you can be, the fact that you are a girl should not make a difference to anyone and especially not to you. I’ve been to many tech events where the audience was full of women for the ‘women in tech’ talk but the moment that was over and the next talk, about tech, started, most of the women left and were replaced by men. Don’t be one of those girls who leave, stay there and learn from the best, regardless of their gender. Only we can change the make-up of that audience. One of the advantages of working in tech is that you get to work with intelligent, progressive, forward thinking people most of the time and while they may not be used to working with girls, they will not stand in the way of people who can add value to the team/product/business. Just focus on being good and on being yourself and you’ll do fine,” said Spela Cedilnik , Senior Product Specialist of ProFinda.com

“Tech is a great career choice, regardless of gender, and plays a major role in just about every industry. The advice I would give to someone choosing any career would be to focus on an industry you really care about, and choose a company that aligns well with your personal mission. Know what internally motivates you – what drives your appetite to learn more about? What type of environment (i.e., flexible or structured) do you thrive in? What field or type of company do you relate the most to? Really think about those questions, and let those inform your career choices,” said Natalie Murray, Vice President of Learning Design and Product Lead of Intellus Learning

“Tech is cool!  Technology is an impactful piece of everything we do now.  Woman should feel good about being part of the tech conversation and play a role as an impactful player!   We are adaptable and can make a difference in tech even if we don’t want to code.  I do not code per say… I am instrumental in technical and user interface designs as well as implementation, along with building systems.  I am becoming a database expert,” said Iris Sherman , Co-founder and President  of Kitchology

“Technology these days is so much more than just coding. The definition is growing and the media focuses on only one aspect. My advice is to do some research, whether it is online or talking to various people in the industry, and gain a better understanding of all the potential opportunities that exist today. Examples are cybersecurity, data analytics, developing e-textiles, the intersection of hardware and software in the Internet of Things space, are just the top of the iceberg. Learning to develop software is certainly one avenue (and one I recommend), but it is not the only one,” said Tracey Welson-Rossman, Chief Marketing Officer of Chariot Solutions

“The advice I would give to any woman considering a career in tech is, do it and don’t look back! The tech industry is always growing and changing providing vast opportunities. It’s an industry that challenges you to constantly learn and to get outside your comfort zone,” said Ashleigh Barlow, VP of Marketing of Scott’s Marketplace

“The best advice I can give to women looking to pursue a career in tech is to go for it and not be intimidated by the fact that, as of right now, it is a male-dominated field. It is up to us as women to demonstrate that we are equally capable of achieving high levels of success in this industry, so don’t let statistics deter you. Having said that, tech is a field where people are valued based on their skills and ability to get the job done effectively and efficiently. At the end of the day, it is the work that you put out that matters. As long as you are bold, determined, hard-working and willing to learn on an ongoing basis, then there’s no reason not to thrive in this field,” said Polina Raygorodskaya, CEO of Wanderu

“The great thing about working in high tech is having the opportunity to create big things that have a positive impact. Technology enables us to design innovative solutions and experiences that can have a global reach,” said Catherine Wong, Chief Product Officer  of Domo

“The key is that, in order for others to start promoting our accomplishments, as women, we need to start promoting ourselves,” said Monica Eaton-Cardone, COO and Co-Founder of Chargebacks911

“The main advice I would give to young women considering a career in tech is to emphasize the professional value you can bring, and try to neutralize gender aspects. Focus on the business impact you can make through technology innovations, business contributions, and management skills, depending on your technology role,” said Sharon Trachtman, CMO of Radware

“The technology industry has a strong need for talent, and women know and can keep up to such a dynaminc and liquid reality.  A career in technology is a stepping stone to be part of the strategies and the future of any other sector. So never be discouraged. Do not think that your ideas have less value than those of others. Never give up communicating and feeling good about yourself and the environment that surrounds you. Do not be afraid to make mistakes. Creativity and communication are key elements in any company to achieve a common goal, and women know how to be very collaborative, communicative and good organizers,” said Silvia Cirillo, Marketing and Communication Manager  of Melely

“There are so many options open to you when you go into a tech career.  It is not just programming or coding – the options are unlimited. You should never be afraid and never think that the guys are better at it then you.  You are capable of the same and more.  So, just go for it,” said Galina Datskovcsky, CEO of Vaporstream

“Understand and get comfortable with big data – that’s where the growth opportunities are. And it doesn’t mean you have to be elbow deep in the actual analytics, but make it a point to understand how to ask smart questions of the data. Data informed business analysis will always have more likelihood to influence business leaders and therefore make a real impact. There is a woman on my team who was described as amazing, she gets the math, she gets the business, and she can explain it all And this compliment came from a senior data scientist who is never impressed with anyone! I get so jazzed to think about the potential ahead of a young woman like that – who is comfortable combining big data with business savvy,” said Mickey Mericle , Vice President, Marketing Insights & Operations of Adobe

“When I was growing up, tech was this black box of a field, that wasn’t really socialized as a career path for young women. You’d see this stereotype in the movies of 20-something males (usually nerds) in hoodies, building these crazy things in some garage. And while there are no doubt still many hoodie-wearing software developers building things in garages today, tech has really expanded to encompass a wide range of careers in an wider range of industries. Tech is no longer a scary unknown world built only for people who speak Javascript and Python. It’s the future. It’s everything. It’s building business for the modern world — and business, as we all know, requires a variety of different skills sets beyond just those technical in nature. There’s so much opportunity in the field that as long as you have the drive and ambition to succeed, you’ll find a place for yourself. I think possessing entrepreneurial qualities like being a good leader, thinking outside the box, and problem solving lends itself to careers in tech, where no two days are the same, and you’re constantly working to stay ahead of the curve and handle complex challenges. Women are great at many things, including seeing both the bigger picture and paying attention to detail — a fine balance, which serves as a great asset to fast growing tech start ups. Technology is a field where you can continually find stimulation, challenge and growth opportunity, the perfect combination of personal and professional fulfillment. Open yourself up to the possibilities and don’t be afraid to try. If you’re technical or want to be, fantastic , and if you’re not, there’s just as many prospects in the field in other areas like sales, human resources, design and marketing. In today’s world tech is just a broad term being used to classify a type of business — meaning that almost every skill is transferrable here and there’s nothing to be afraid of,” said Stefanie Genauer, Chief Revenue Officer  of Kairos

“When you think of technology, think in broad terms beyond video games, developing software code or working on hardware. It is a very creative and exciting space. There is so much more to the technology field such as user experience, project management, analytics and more. Lastly, technology is disrupting almost every industry; it is radically changing the way we live and work. Why not participate in transforming the world? It’s far better to lead the change than to be on the receiving end of the change,” said Paula Tompkins, CEO and founder  of ChannelNet

“Women should be bold in their aspirations! We need to celebrate how far we have come and how much we are capable of impacting businesses. Women’s leadership is finally a focal point as some of America’s most prominent corporations such as Oracle, GM, IBM and Yahoo have women CEOs and women in their C-Suite. However, we still have a long way to go. Our biggest challenge is not having enough role models and mentors. Women should both actively mentor and seek mentorship to promote and encourage one another. Women must also continue to grow their industry knowledge and skills, valuing ongoing self-improvement and lifelong learning. Early-stage companies have limited resources, however, investing in structured women’s programs could pay dividends. What I have seen at GoodData is that our U.S.-based female manager’s tenure exceeds that of their counterparts, and they hold 38 percent of leadership roles within the company. This dedication and ambition encouraged our people ops and executive teams to invest resources and create a Women in Leadership program that focuses on developing our current and future talent. This new program has been very well received by our female population and has resulted in a 95 percent participation rate,” said Divya Ghatak, Chief People Officer of GoodData

“Work on something you’re interested in and passionate about. There are so many opportunities in tech – not everyone has to be a software engineer. You can always learn the technology and provide a unique value. Women could also do better at promoting the value they bring to the workplace, so they can be recognized and evaluated based on their merit,” said Rima Kanguri, Director of Engineering of Credit Karma

 

Written by

Elizabeth is the Marketing Manager at PROTECH. Comments and feedback can be directed to her at elizabethb@protechfl.com.