Tech role models featuredWomen have not always been under-represented in technology. We were the largest segment of the computing industry during the Second World War and until the mid-1960s.

However, as computer programming grew, the culture changed and women became underrepresented in STEM. This lack of diversity affects not only the pipeline of senior women in tech but the number of senior female role models for schoolchildren who, in turn, inspire the future talent pipeline.

Fast-forward to today and the tide is beginning to turn. In recent years we’ve seen more emphasis from all sectors on getting more women into STEM roles. But more needs to be done.

At Amazon we partnered with WISE two years ago for a UK study, and found that the top two barriers for women working in STEM careers identified were a lack of confidence (84 per cent) and having to adapt to a male dominated environment (75 per cent).

I’m keen to do my part to help the next generation of women thrive in tech, and so this Women’s History Month I’m sharing five tips to help land that dream job. These apply to women wanting a career in STEM or those who are already thriving in tech.

  1. APPLY, APPLY, APPLY: This might seem obvious, but simply applying to opportunities is the first step. Put yourself out there and apply for the role you want. Industry research shows (Hewlett Packard report) that men apply when they fit 60% of the job criteria, and women only apply when they meet 100%. This mindset has to change, I encourage you to have the confidence to put yourself out there and apply for roles that interest you.
  2. MAKE TIME TO LEARN: Continuous learning is important to foster confidence. It doesn’t have to be a huge time commitment. Make time to continue your education by putting on a podcast, reading a useful book, or watching an informative video. There are great online learning tools out there too. Another good step is embracing any training opportunities available to you and seeking to learn from colleagues with more experience in areas of interest.
  3. FIND A MENTOR AND BE A MENTOR: Whether formal or informal, a strong role model providing guidance is key. I still remember the advice and conversations I had with senior figures when I started, and I’ve sought to help juniors as much as I can. The right advice at the right time can make all the difference, and we should all strive to help each other succeed.
  4. PLAN WITH INTENTION: A great piece of advice I was given as I began at Amazon was to always plan for the job after your next job. Knowing where you want to get to helps you to look at your career development in the long-term, and see exactly what you need to work on to fulfil your dreams.
  5. DON’T DWELL ON MISTAKES: I encourage everyone to have a growth mindset. Rather than dwell on things that could have been done better focus on the lessons that you have learned. This is actually a crucial skill, and one that aided me a lot in my career. Learning to not beat myself up for mistakes, and embracing a learning mindset, helped me to concentrate on the lessons that would ensure I wouldn’t make those mistakes again. Own it and learn and celebrate the learning!

Lauren Kisser featuredAbout the author

Lauren Kisser is Director at Amazon’s Development Centre in Cambridge, the U.K and Director of Alexa International Q&A. In this role she leads a globally diverse team of knowledge engineers, product/program managers, business and data analysts to ensure Alexa can answer any question ever asked in any language. She is a prominent sponsor of projects promoting women into STEM and up the ladder, such as Amazon’s Future Engineer Program and Code Club.

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