Information technology has been one of the fastest growing fields since the expansion of the technology industry in the late 20th and early 21st centuries. However, IT is notorious for being a discriminatory boys’ club — a trend that contributes to the longstanding pay gap.
Although female leadership and diversity in general is paramount to the success of industries like IT, women have become accustomed to overachieving in their fields in order to be considered equals among their male colleagues. Here are a few ways in which women can impress their peers and strive toward their career goals.
Know Your Field
In order to navigate your field, it’s important to know where your degree and background in IT can take you. Oftentimes, people earn a degree with one particular job in mind, which can make you feel stuck and unsure where to go next once you outgrow your job or decide you want to do something else. However, there are many new and exciting jobs available for those who work in IT, such as positions as a virtual reality engineer, which is a field that offers high salaries , mobile security expert, which is more important role now than ever, or an IT graphic designer.
Recognize Business Implications
Knowing your field entails knowing career paths, as well as recognizing the various ways that modern technology drives and impacts business. Staying on top of the rapid changes that occur in your industry is imperative to keeping your company at the forefront of efficient business practices.
As an IT professional, your company is counting on you, especially if you work in a small IT department, to help the company transition into new technology and practices as they arise. IT is often a world that is difficult to understand by individuals who do not come from an IT background, and understanding the impact of IT on your business will help you understand the influence you can have as an IT professional, and will make you an asset to your employer.
Present Like a Pro
Being a great communicator can help you overcome many workplace obstacles and can also help you advance in your field. There is a stereotype about those who work in IT being bad communicators due to their lives being centered around computer knowledge rather than interpersonal interaction; however, women are often excellent communicators, which can help them advance in this field.
If your career in IT requires presentations to your boss or other members of the company, blow them away by showing them you understand the data you work with so well that you can teach anyone to understand it. Telling a story with your data can help your meeting attendees understand the ebbs and flows of the information you’re presenting, and when you combine that with clear text, compelling graphs, and objective language, you can make it clear to your colleagues that you are force to be reckoned with.
Plot Your Career Path
Once you’ve established yourself as an expert in your field, it’s important to create goals for yourself that you can work toward each day, because in order to achieve goals, you have to first establish them. If you hope to achieve a C-suite or other top position in IT, you should prove your leadership skills every day in the work you do by supporting your colleagues, demonstrating your delegating skills, and bringing innovative ideas to the workplace. Women make great leaders due to their ability to take initiative, display integrity, collaborate, develop relationships, and communicate effectively. Achieving a leadership position is not only possible, but a great use of your potential strengths that could benefit you, your peers, and your company.
Expand Your Skill Set
Once you’ve set goals for yourself, you can start checking off the steps towards achieving them. Consider whether you’ll need more education, certifications, and experience, and then set time to gain those skills and qualifications. Once you’ve determined your entry point for the career you want, you should make it a priority, as losing momentum can delay your progress. Continue advancing your education and skill set as the IT industry grows and changes to ensure you can offer your employer the best that your field has to offer.
IT is an impressive and challenging field to be a part of, and as you continue on down the path of your career, there will always be obstacles that arise. By practicing these tips and staying on top of your education, you can remain one step ahead of the game, with the potential to be a leader in your field.