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Advice For Women In Tech From Women In Tech – Warnings, Lessons And Advice

From being called “meek to bitch,” to getting pigeon-holed into a specific job these are words of wisdom and advice that you should take on board, be wary of, and follow if you want to make it in tech as a woman.

#1 Female tech leaders, invite more women into your decision making

We're at the point with women in tech leadership that those of us in leadership must start bringing up other women to the table. The broader issues of equal pay, unrealistic expectations of the work/home life dichotomy, sexual harassment in the workplace, and gender gaps in industries will only be addressed when women have a larger role in decision-making positions in the workplace.

And as more women find themselves in elevated positions, we'll shape the conversations, the priorities, and the communities in our respective workspaces. More women in leadership roles (and more women, in general, entering the field) will chip away at the struggles and inequalities that plague females in tech.

Will everything be resolved in 2018? No. Will it be magically fixed by the end of the decade? Probably not. But for any woman pursuing a tech career, know that it will get better. The more women we have, the more our voices will be heard.

Contributors: Dasha Moore from Solodev

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#2 Learn your Specs!

Learn the technical specs as much as you can. In crypto, this means spend your free time doing deep dives on how software works, how platforms are built, how blockchains work (not just on a surface level -- learn how hashing works, how cryptography works, the different types of algorithms like SHA-256 and X11). Read the long documents published by the SEC and any hearings and other legal entities. Basically, become versed in the tedious, “boring,” technical stuff. If you know that stuff, you’re ahead of most. The tedious stuff is where the money is, it’s where the work will be in the future. Go there.

Contributors: Jena Binderup from Blocksafe

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#3 Find Your Voice

Women often get labeled when they voice opinions and concerns. I've been called everything from meek to bitch by my male-colleagues depending on how passionate I was about a topic. it's imperative that women find their voice – whether you're talking to your supervisor, brainstorm sessions, or discussing an idea with a client. Come to every conversation ready to engage and project confidence. And never allow someone to dismiss your recommendation. But be fully prepared to clearly articulate your ideas and back them up reasons with relevant data.

Contributors: Lauren Gilmore from PR and Prose

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#4 Don’t back down

My number 1 advise is to women is, don't back down if you think you qualify for a promotion, but you are consistently not being given the promotion. Fight for it (not physically), but honestly, bring it up with your manager. Keep bringing it up and tell them how this is extremely important to you and if they are still not promoting you, there has to be a valid reason for it. If you feel you are not being heard, take the matter one level up or to human resources until you get someone to listen. Keep in mind, that the company has more to lose if you quit. 

Contributors: Kavita Ganesan from Opinosis Analytics 

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#5 Don’t engage in gossip

While its easy to start complaining about your managers, co-workers and company when things are not to your liking, your time is much better utilized in developing your technical and leadership skills and getting your projects ahead. Use your time wisely and try to do positive things for yourself, the team and company and this will give you a much better return on investment in the long run. 

Contributors: Kavita Ganesan from Opinosis Analytics 

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#6 3 Areas To Model

One of the gifts that we have in society today is bringing to light some of the important, yet sensitive areas, such as women in leadership. The three areas I always model being an executive and board member in tech are the following:

  1. Presence: Do not show up in meetings or in any interaction using your gender as leverage. Show up using your knowledge and wisdom. Gender doesn’t matter when you demonstrate intelligence.
  2. Confidence: Do not appear docile when sharing an idea. Tech companies expect transparency and boldness. Model courage and fortitude.
  3. Influence: Do not doubt your value. Be in tune with yourself and those around you and inspire change. This demonstrates high EQ. It works.

Contributors: Kristin Halpin Perry from Veraz Consulting

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#7 Always Be Side-hustling

In the rapidly expanding world of tech, it's easy to get pigeon-holed into a specific job (UX designer, technical marketing, etc). However, because the field changes so rapidly, it's important to keep your head up and watching what is happening. Having a side hustle (especially a non-technical one) can help you to remain aware of the outside world and to make sure you're always in position to land your next job or next big role.

Contributors: Kristina Libby from SoCu and Lohm

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#8 Start caring now

Care a lot about feminism and fight against discrimination in any way that you can, because if it’s not affecting you now...it’s coming for you, believe me. So, what did I do? I got angry, quit, and haven't looked back. I started the most feminine brand I could muster in-spite of everyone's declaration that a “woman sounding company name” would turn off (male) clients.

The same people who would never think that Pep Boys or Mr. Clean were a problem. That just made me push harder against these ingrained biases and forge ahead. And the funny thing is, we actually have more male clients than women, so there you go. Starting your own thing may not be feasible for everyone, but to be honest, it's probably a lot easier to forge our own path than keep trying (unsuccessfully) to change things from the inside. It's time we take our sisters by the hand, walk down a new road, and leave old ways in the dust, where they belong.

Contributors: Raquel Vier from Divas of Digital

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#9 Inspire your employees to work at their best

There was a point in my career where my employee turnover rate was over two hundred percent and our revenue was stagnant. I decided to give benefits that employees in that industry had never seen. A year later, I was losing more money and a slim percentage of employees were interested in those benefits. So, I sat down with my 50 employees and asked them what it would take to motivate them. They all expressed that higher hourly wages would trump the benefits. I figured out a quarterly performance review process that would adjust the hourly wage based. It brought down my turnover to under twenty percent and revenue started to grow by twenty percent, month over month.

Contributors: Yasmin Shah, CIO of Digital Health Forward

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#10 You need thick skin

Being a CIO is a thankless job. If people don’t talk about you and your department, then you are probably doing great. If they complain you have to learn to not take things personally. I had the CEO of a company come to my office to yell and scream just a couple of weeks into my new job when our major system was down. I could have said I just got here, but I had to sit there and let him get his anger out of his system and then patiently explain to him what we were doing to get the system back up.

Contributors: Yasmin Shah, CIO of Digital Health Forward

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#11 Stop thinking of yourself as a female entrepreneur

I have been asked in interviews before, "What is your advice for female entrepreneurs?". My advice is to stop thinking of yourself as a female entrepreneur and just focus on being the best entrepreneur you can be. Don't waste your time pondering how it might affect you. Let your work speak for itself.

Contributors: Regina Marie Vatterott from EllieGrid 

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#12 Be fearless, be badass

As someone who's climbed to VP of Marketing for an industry-leading software company, my advice to women seeking to advance themselves in the tech space is to be badass and to be fearless. Don't accept it when someone dismisses your direction or experience - lead by example and remind your peers that your knowledge brings value to your organization. People are often treated in the way that they allow others to treat them. Start out strong and be assertive, don't allow yourself to be trampled on, or to be an afterthought at a meeting.

Contributors: Miné Salkin from Powered Labs

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#13 Networking is important

I was a CIO for a high-tech company in the early 2000s, then I took some time away from the IT track and became an entrepreneur. During that time I moved from Los Angeles to San Diego. I did not know anyone in tech in San Diego, so I co-founded a networking organization for CIOs. If I were to do it over, I would build a network before I became a CIO and keep it growing while I am a CIO.

Contributors: Yasmin Shah, CIO of Digital Health Forward

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#14 People management is harder than managing technology

It is very easy to give a great performance review to an employee, and extremely difficult to deliver a tough one. As a CIO I have had to fire people based on their performance, lay-off people because of the downturn in the business and tell people they cannot go on vacation because the system is down. The hard decisions can be tough. In my first CIO role I gave someone a tough review, they filed a complaint against me with the HR department. After a few months of working together with my employee finally began to appreciate that I was being honest about her performance and had given her goals that she could meet and exceed to get a great performance review next year. A year later she finally got her first raise after not having one for 10 years, even though she was getting good reviews all that time, no one was telling her what she could do to deserve a raise.

Contributors: Yasmin Shah, CIO of Digital Health Forward

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Written by Zak Parker

Article Writer, Pianist, Internet Marketing Enthusiast; I delve into a variety of creative mediums and take advantage of what they have to offer. With experience in SEO, Dropshipping, Affiliate Marketing and Advertising, I'm a plethora of general marketing knowledge and enjoy helping those new to the game get their foot through the door. I'm always excited to hear of the latest method, or if the chance presents itself, create my own.

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  1. Such a wonderful piece i read today. Women are doing wonders in the tech world. Sacrificing their health mainly. Worth sharing to give some nice read for women out there.

    Robin.

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