At Virtusa, we support female coders and are aware of the gender disparity and pay gap challenges prevalent in the tech industry. We recently organized an event focused on promoting equity in engineering. The “Engineering Equity Hackathon” aimed to empower female talent while fostering innovation in technology solutions that advance gender equity. Through this event, we provided female coders with essential resources, including mentoring, job opportunities, scholarships, and certifications in emerging technologies like cloud computing. The response was overwhelmingly positive, with more than 65,000 female students participating, highlighting the passion and potential of the next generation of digital engineers.
To all the young women considering a career in engineering or another STEM-related field, there is a lot to consider when starting, so here are some ideas that might help you make your journey easier.
First, it is essential to clarify what you want from your career. What is it that you love about technology? Identifying this will give you a more straightforward path to finding experiences in those areas. Whether AI, data science, or designing new products, working on projects that develop expertise will help you grow. Being recognized as an expert in your field is crucial in tech. Additionally, rounding out technical skills with some non-technical capabilities, such as taking leadership courses and finding opportunities to demonstrate and grow your leadership prowess, is essential. In any economy, every company needs great leaders, and while technical skills can be taught, leadership has to be gained through experience.
Confidence comes through doing things you never thought you could. Do not be afraid to take on new challenges and ask for help – someone is always willing to help. Secondly, take a class on negotiating and get good at asking for what you want. Technology has traditionally been a male-oriented field. Men created its structures, and despite recent advances, many promotion and recognition programs still often favor how men work and interact. Negotiation is crucial for women in any industry and even their personal lives. It will help you navigate these structures and become more comfortable and confident when discussing salary, promotions, and other issues. It is essential to ask for what you want; if you do not get it, you will feel more confident deciding your next move.
Identifying a mentor as soon as possible is also crucial, especially in the early stages of your career. Mentors can provide invaluable guidance and advice throughout your professional journey. Finding someone strong in the areas you need to develop will help you become more rounded and fill gaps in your skillset. And consider a broad and diverse network of people – across ages, nationalities, genders, personalities, and interests.
Lastly, understand that your mindset and actions count. Individuals and organizations need to be advocates, give back, inspire women, and work towards a more equitable and just society for all. We all have a part to play in embracing equity and forging positive change!
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