By their very nature, women have personality traits that serve them well in the field of technology. They tend to have a higher EI (Emotional Intelligence) than their male counterparts and excellent interpersonal skills that enable them to relate to all levels of personnel, regardless of their status or technical expertise. However, we often find that women are being passed over for promotions and advancement opportunities. When it comes to training, sharing information, and acting as mentors, there is still an old boy’s network that in many corporate cultures discriminates against women in favor of frequently younger, less experienced men. According to research, young women in Australia years ago were not being encouraged to enter the IT field. Recently, girls made up some advanced placement test takers in computer science and held less than 20% of computer science degrees. This loss of young women in the field of technology costs priceless brainpower and for women already in the profession, the loss of millions of dollars in salaries.
The good news is that there are ways some women have used and also new in IT sector can apply to overcome these obstacles and with smart, strategic planning, women can still thrive and rise to the top of this dynamic and exciting IT profession.
Women having in-depth knowledge in a specific area gives them a competitive edge. If your current employer uses the specialty you are interested in, ask for then for training in that area. If not it would be a good investment to go out of pocket and get the training. (Keep receipts; professionally related training and materials may be tax deductible.) If your location or ability to take time off from work is a problem, there are excellent self-guided training manuals and online courses. This has helped many women in Australia
Women join and actively participate in IT professional association. In response to the need to mentor young women and support women already working in IT careers, many professional associations and organizations in Australia have been created in the last several years. Advantages: you keep up to date with the latest trends, and it provides an educational platform for broadening your knowledge base. This is important in any profession but in IT, not keeping up to date with state of the art technology means you’re moving backyard.
Move to the Public Sector
Women finding employment in a government job can take longer than in the private sector because of layers of bureaucracy in the system. However these same layers of bureaucratic regulations are designed to eliminate discrimination of any kind, including gender, so there is more of a level playing field. Salaries for women in Australian government jobs sometimes may be smaller than those in the private sector are compensated for with increased benefits and annual leave. It usually has the added benefit of being a less pressured work environment.