Celebrating our women in tech
Although many strides have been made in terms of equality, it seems the fast-paced technology industry still has some catching up to do. With women accounting for a mere 25% of the computing workforce in 2015 (and only 3% of that number represented by African-American women), it’s more than time for the tech world to see some changes—especially with the increasing skills gap looming ahead.
But a career in technology should be open to anyone. March 8 is recognized as International Women’s Day. And with more opportunities to access information than ever before, there’s no limit to the volume of knowledge available to anyone. Yet, we’d be ignoring the obvious if it were that simple as there have always been social and cultural barriers that we—as a powerful and united tech community—can and will overcome. So, this International Women’s Day, we look up (way, way up) to our very own women in tech at Pluralsight. These are leaders, coders, authors, educators and pioneers who continue to inspire us.
Your career is a shining example to others. What advice can you share?
When you’ve reached a point in your career when you’re able to comfortably look back and extend your hand to those starting out, do it. Nothing feels better than building up your community and establishing the “new norm” for the next generation. Here’s what Pluralsight’s women in tech have to say to anyone interested in a technology career:
"Let your passion drive your career direction. If you're at the start of your career, it's OK not knowing exactly what you want to do. Just do something that inspires you and gives you a sense of purpose. As women—particularly if children are on the cards—your career might take unexpected turns, and your priorities may shift. The biggest shift for me was finding my passion and running with it—and not knowing exactly where that's going to lead you is absolutely OK! For me, now, it's about the legacy I leave my children; and as a Workplace Happiness Guru, I hope to make them proud and make the world a better (work)place." –Kylie Hunt | @KylieMHunt
“Having fun is what will keep you in the industry more than anything. Find something that you love to do and just go do it. And then get better and start teaching other people how to do it. Mentor other people—you’ll learn just as much from mentoring as from doing it yourself.” –Juliette Reinders Folmer | @jrf_nl
“I think the important thing is not to worry about that, walking into a room or work or where ever and say, ‘Oh my god, I’m the only woman here. I don’t belong.’ Forget it. You’re a programmer, you're a geek. You belong.” –Julie Lerman | @julielerman
“I know that a lot of women, especially, feel like they can't be themselves…They have to be something different than who they are. Try to be comfortable in your own skin.” –Deborah Kurata | @DeborahKurata
Inspiration. Motivation. Passion.
It takes dedication to master a skill, specifically in an industry that’s always changing. With constant progression, a drive to improve and heart to find one’s way, our women in tech share the things that inspire them the most:
"What I love most is that no matter what the scale, you can directly impact someone's life by providing a solution. Maybe it's just updating a script to the current language version, or maybe it's a massive feature that makes a web site easier to navigate- but the puzzles we solve translate into problems solved for others, and that is just the coolest." –Casey Faist | @cfactoid
“Having a career in technology allows me to be creative. Creating beautiful products, solving problems and learning new tricks keeps it exciting. Teaching inspires me to be a better developer and a better communicator. I'm lucky to work with talented authors at Code School and Pluralsight that challenge me and help me grow in both.” –Sarah Holderness | @SarahBTalk
“The growth mindset. A growth mindset is when people believe that their abilities or intelligence can be developed. It's when they believe that success comes from effort, practice and hard work. It's when they believe that if they have not accomplished or learned something yet, it's only a matter of time. As an engineer, I love what we can create during work hours. But I also really love the flexibility of my working hours, that allows me to have time for my son and my husband.” –Carolina Powers | @CarolinaPowers
“(I’m inspired by) my children and my husband. The desire to make them proud and to be an example to them of what can be achieved with passion, support, tenacity and a little bit of luck. The variety of people I get to meet is astounding; I don't always know what it is that they do, but their passion is infectious! There's a real sense of community, and I'm honored to be a part of it. So, ‘thank you,’ to those who have reached out, said hi, or have been positively influenced by what I do. It's because of the amazing tech community that I do what I do every day. And love it.” –Kylie Hunt | @KylieMHunt
“I love how technology is always changing and evolving around us—it keeps things fresh and exciting. When I learn a new programming language/framework, I feel energized by all the cool things I can do now, that I couldn't do before. I also like how democratic technology is these days. Open-source frameworks and libraries make cutting-edge stuff accessible to all folks, whether you're in the heart of the Silicon Valley or a remote town in India.” –Swetha Kolalapudi
“I feel like technology and programming is almost like art and as creative. You design systems, then slowly build them up to come together and play well together. What makes it more interesting is that this is art one can be objective about. How well the system performs, how easily it can be refactored, all of these are objective, so it helps me measure how well I've performed as well. I like having metrics while being creative." –Janani Ravi
What inspires you this International Women’s Day? Was there a brave pathfinder who helped you get started in your career? How do you network with other women in this industry and what advice do you have for the community? Help us build each other up, promote diversity and create a brighter future—join the conversation on Twitter with the hashtag #IWD2017!