Let’s talk about working in the tech industry…. you know, the industry where exciting stuff happens on machines built by humans. Where there seems to be way more jobs than qualified people to fill them. Where the pay is good and there is endless opportunity to innovate and grow. Sounds like a good arena to build a career, right? That’s what I thought once I learned what the technology industry is really like.
Pop quiz time! If you had to guess what percentage of the tech workforce is made up of women, what would you guess? If you work in tech, you definitely know it’s less than 50%. What about 40%? 30%? The answer is 27%. That means on a team of 10, less than 3 are women. Not only are women missing out on great career opportunities but the industry is missing out on the new ideas and approaches that having a diverse workforce brings (regardless of whether it’s diversity in gender, religion, background, etc.). This is where my passion comes in for increasing awareness of technology opportunities for women of all ages.
Several years ago one of my mentors (an influential woman in technology, by the way!) introduced me to Dr. Maureen Biggers. One of Maureen’s (many) roles at Indiana University is the Director of the Center of Excellence for Women in Technology, a national model to encourage, empower, and promote women in technology and computing-related fields. The story Maureen told was one all too familiar to me… she mentioned how much of the lopsided numbers are a result of women not knowing much about careers in technology or what the tech industry is really like, and how many women have a misguided perception of what it takes to be successful in tech. The woman she was describing was me before my first real exposure to a technology company. I was immediately intrigued. I wanted to get involved.
I stay in touch with the CEWiT folks and help out by offering Scrum training to a select group of students, staff and faculty each semester. I got the opportunity to speak at CEWiT’s annual Techie Women Have More Conference today, presenting to faculty the basics of using Kanban for project and task management. It was a great day and I met some great women in technology but I left wanting more. We need more women in technology and more women in leadership. The world will be a better place for it. So what am I going to do about it? Stay tuned to find out more…