women in tech, soft skills

Article by Barbara Cooke, Global Head of Managed Services at Cloudreach

Despite ongoing initiatives to empower more women to enter the tech industry, it is still a male-dominated place and it can be hard for a woman to find her place in it.

I’ve been in my current tech role as Global Head of Managed Services at Cloudreach for nearly two years. I love it, but I have had to overcome many challenges, all of which have made me stronger and more confident than before.

Women seeking a career within the tech industry are faced with barriers such as pay and benefits inequality compared to male counterparts – both inside and outside the workplace. Women ultimately have to work harder in order to be noticed, and this needs to change.

When searching for a job, it’s important to find a company that pays attention to gender equality and diversity, to ensure that pay and benefits are the same for both women and men. As a woman, you also have to challenge yourself to break through the barriers. That includes being decisive, results-oriented and not intimidated. When you go outside of your comfort zone, by acting fast and making bold decisions, you break down those barriers and start earning respect. The challenges don’t necessarily need to be big, but incrementally they will bring significant change for women in tech.

Another important aspect for women looking to break into the industry is focusing on talents and skills to bring to the table. Technology skills and expertise can be learned, but achieving positive results and making a personal impact on a company is what sets star performers apart. Soft skills and competencies will help, but it’s hard to stay in the industry long-term and earn credibility if you don’t learn the hard skills, too.

Once you get your foot in the door, challenge yourself to learn as much as you can. Try different roles in your field as it’s not always a linear progression. If you’re in operations, give marketing, project management or sales a chance. It gives you a broader, more well rounded outlook, and exposes you to different types of challenges and experiences that you are more able to draw upon in future.

Over the past couple of years, I’ve seen steps in the right direction to closing the gender gap within the tech industry, but there’s much work to do. True change will happen when organisations have more female leaders. Until that happens, we need to do all we can to ensure we’re on the right path to this destination.

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