What is it like to be a female software engineer?
Gender inequality examples are all around us, and we learn to recognize them from a very early age. However, most cases based on differences between men and women usually praise one side while undermining the other. Female developers enter into this problem reluctantly, being an ever-present target for inequality proponents.
We want to believe that gender should not be a discriminative factor in IT, and the sooner everyone accepts this realization, the better we look in the eyes of our future selves.
A quick look at how women rank in the tech business shows us how vulnerable companies are to gender-based attacks. At Facebook and Apple, most employees are men. The same goes for Microsoft and Google. Is the IT industry going to stay a man’s domain?
Although the IT Industry feels the man-to-women ratio discrepancy, it is not a strictly IT-related problem. In fact, all other sectors except manufacturing are all man dominated.
Gender inequality should shame us all in the 21st century because it is not only unacceptable, it is stupid!
A look at the numbers
A GAO report from 2015 suggests that a little over one-third of people working in the tech sector are female in the US. Even though the discrepancy gap between gender has been evening out since the 80s, gender issues are still stagnating the market with equal opportunities demands of all nature.
The number of female software engineer graduates ready to enter the workforce is even lower than the number of total employed women in the sector, which shows that they are somewhat reluctant to pursue a career in this domain. Even more — nearly half of the women who graduate as certified engineers choose not to enter the industry market as coders. Most females from the IT industry prefer more creative positions like graphics or fashion designers.
Some might suggest that coding is hard for girls, which mostly deters them from taking this path. However, there is a lot more ingredients brewing in the pot. And besides, software development is not exactly rocket science. Female working in high tech is under the constant umbrella of possible male repression and the fear of being undermined. Gender inequality claims and conditions are prerequisites for creating a very unhealthy work environment and navigating around them, sometimes facing the facts straight away.
We believe the female contribution to software development and the way it changes and improves is undeniable. The fact that gender inequality factors sustain a dogma in the business world is what some female programmers recognize as motivating factors. We strongly encourage all girls interested in software engineering to pursue their dream because very soon, all traces of discomfort coming due to inequality will be a thing in the past.
Let’s look at some concrete reasons why women may feel threatened while impacting the tech industry.
Feeling like a stranger in your own yard
During college and her first year on the job, Maria shared that she felt like an alien. She was repeatedly asked about her qualifications and peppered with comments on her excellent dress style and neat appearance. They even used a loud pitch to inquire about here future planning on family and children.
Such experience comes with an initial shock, Maria said. She decided to desensitize herself from this disturbance and focus on picking up skills quickly. She learned how to rise above obstacles and familiarized herself with strong male rivals, as well as a horde of competition from the same gender. These initial struggles were very challenging, but she eventually learned how to better promote her accomplishments and successes.
Nowadays, Maria is an intrapreneur working for Samsung. She quickly adapted to the male ruled world of IT and learned how to be excellent at it.
Why women leave
Maria was motivated to succeed, but as we mentioned before, many women in software engineering decide to move to industries outside the tech domain shortly after getting their first job. We are not busting a myth here. Evidence is abundant for the fact that most of all high-ranked employees are men.
Part of the reason can be the already discussed reluctance of women to become software engineers. It is almost normal to see young female developers leaving their current job and switching to a different career path.
We know that the role of women in technology use and development is somewhat under-represented. However, it’s much more essential to recognize the need for more women to engage in activities previously associated with men stereotypes. History is rich in examples of women with stellar minds and determination. We have collectively allowed for a working environment that admits discrimination. Gender-based factors are both powerful arguments as well as liability for all parties involved. They sometimes cause damage and eventually delay our progress.
Companies that are more gender-neutral in their approach towards employees and businesses create a friendly ecosystem where professionals work closely with each other and learn ways to optimize their collective output as a team.
In contrast, gender discrimination is a recipe for a toxic work environment with seriously undermined potential. The value of any Men’s club is denominating with each passing day. We must be smart and quickly acknowledge gender discrimination as something we need to put in our calendars.
Of course, if too much energy goes into denouncing some of the patriarchy-based business models, the opposite effect is due. We can see the impact in companies whose mission is to turn their female employees into relentless business warriors.
We need to understand that if we all work on inclusion together, it’s going to be faster, broader, better, and more thorough than anything we can do on our own.
Focus on belief
The level of confidence of women has very much detrimental to their success rate. One such woman brings the statistical part of gender distribution in the workforce to another level — she created a spreadsheet with about 80 different companies and their man/women employee ratio. I’m very eager to point out that these numbers represent not all the women in a company, but all the women who are software engineers. This spreadsheet is a fine example of how science can help us use data to better deal with a century-old problem.
Women are fully equipped to do well in IT. Sara Gottlieb proves that a strong belief is at the base of success. She is the software engineer behind SurveyMonkey. Sara is an excellent software engineer who decided she didn’t have enough on her plate already and started learning more about engineering management. Not long after that, she became a recognized mentor in Hackbright Academy, teaching programming classes to other women.
Focus on belief is a powerful success tool, significantly when others recognize it and support it. Joyce Jang was encouraged by both men and women in her company to pursue her career advancement. Having a lady in high positions is excellent makes the real difference. It also sets a healthy pace for all men.
Less Shy, More Direct
Caroline Tess, a VP, has been trapped under a male dominance sea before realizing her best card. She says that when making a conversation, she tries to stay as clear and assertive as possible while maintaining directness and presence. Speaking up, especially when you have a valid argument, helps understand your work potential and your identity as a professional. Speak up and be heard!
Women are somewhat less competitive than the testosterone-driven men, who are creative enough to turn anything into a fierce competition. Women are less likely to demand recognition or honor but just as equally entitled to it.
Joyce Stack, an engineer advocate in Mendeley, says the best recommendation for women and visitors to surrender is to ask for something acceptable to them. It is what Stack did to get a major position in programming testing. “After the meeting, they asked the spot if there were any additional inquiries, and I requested this activity.” “Because you are considering it, no one will give you anything. You need to open your mouth and question.”
Find a coach or a supporter
Ladies looking to ascend the career ladder and reach leadership positions line up with male and female coaches and supporters.
Maria perceived the significance of having a coach right off the bat. It kept on searching them out all through her profession, remembering for her developer functions at eBay and Microsoft. Besides, she established a versatile web-based media stage Flockish and Anecdote, an inventive photograph network bought by Samsung.
She claims that your guide can’t be an arbitrary person.
“You need to discover somebody that acknowledges you and your abilities,”
“Your mentor better be a senior who can convey their knowledge and perspective.”
“That is the secret to escaping a reality where work becomes more of a minefield than a healthy environment for personal and professional development.”
Talk to Female Role Models
Women continue to prove they can lead and be excellent role models – most examples from history ring true even today. The world’s top female developers now are just as stellar as those from our not so distant past. Creating a LinkedIn profile and contacting other female software engineers is an incredible way to strengthen your network and widen advancement opportunities. Start a discussion with a female professional and share some views about your personal experience and professional interests. You will be amazed at the freedom and openness level when it comes to getting help from peers.
Be Bold for Change
The International Women’s Day is bringing awareness with the #BeBoldForChange. Change happens when we get to work in full swing. We urge you to learn improvement, attend tech opportunities, work tirelessly, value yourself, and be confident in fulfilling your potential.
Our appreciation of women’s potential is embedded in the glory of our achievements. We acknowledge that this is the best way to build the most innovative workforce in the future. We always keep our door open for women professionals eager to be part of our journey featuring exciting new opportunities to learn and advance.
This crucial phrase has lost some of its power due to people inclined to overuse it. Professional profile aside, being yourself is the most critical thing you can do as a young professional, regardless of gender.
Sona Pangali, HP Programming’s Quality Confirmation Engineer, points out that women tend to put others’ needs before their own needs. They prefer to find out what others think about something before sharing their own opinion. Being yourself sometimes include deliberately expressing yourself.
Great things come to light every time someone gets out of their comfort zone and proactively tackle a problem. As a young and inspiring software developer, the best thing to do is be that person.
It is not scientific proof of gender equality that is required, but general acceptance that women are at least the equals of men or better!