Female technologist working at desk, woman in tech

Article by Sarah Norford-Jones, Co-Founder & Chief Marketing Officer, YEO Messaging

When I first started working in tech, it was a bit of a culture shock. My career started at an Ad agency where all the people at the top tended to be men, but I was not the only girl in the room.

When I started YEO Messaging in 2017, it was my first time to take a seat at the Tech Industry table, where I found I was the only female there. The tech industry’s female representation has increased massively, even in the short five years I have been part of it, but the scarcity of female representatives was amplified tenfold in the cybersecurity world that YEO is part of. It was intimidating, and at times frustrating, but I quickly realized that there were some serious advantages to being a minority in this male-dominated field.

For one, I found that I was able to stand out more easily. In a room full of men, my voice was always going to be heard a bit louder, and that gave me an opportunity to make an impression. And trust me, in tech, making a good impression is key to career success.

But beyond that, I also found that being a woman in tech gave me a unique perspective. I was able to see things from a different angle, and offer a fresh take on problems and solutions. In a field that is constantly changing and evolving, having a diversity of perspectives is invaluable. I read a great book called Invisible Women by Caroline Criado Perez which explains this point very clearly:

“The male default is the standard against which we measure all other data. And when something falls outside that male default, it becomes invisible. The result is a world that is not designed for women.”

In other words, because the tech industry has been designed with men in mind, there are often blind spots when it comes to addressing the needs of women. I use being a woman to my advantage and am able to see these blind spots and address them.

I have also found throughout my career that women are more intuitive, nurturing and have this incredible super power of being able to read people and situations far better than our male counterparts. We are able to build relationships easier and faster which is extremely important in the business world. Women have been told they are too emotional in business settings, but I believe this is our secret superpower. We are able to connect with people on a deeper level, and that connection allows us to build trust. And in the world of tech and cybersecurity, trust is everything.

Being a female founder in tech, I have had to learn to let go of my limiting beliefs: ‘I’m too emotional’, ‘I’m not technical enough’, ‘I’m only here because of the tick in the diversity box’  or the worse ‘I’m not good enough’. I have learned how to replace them with the understanding that being a woman in this industry gives you an incredible edge.

So, if you’re a woman considering a career in tech, don’t be discouraged by the odds. Embrace your status as a minority, and use it to your advantage. You may just find that you have a secret superpower.

About the author

Sarah is an experienced tech marketing leader with 12+ years experience in Marketing and Advertising. Sarah is Co-Founder and Chief Marketing Officer of YEO Messaging – a private messaging solution and the only messaging app that delivers messages to a human and not just a device using patented continuous facial recognition. YEO is Sarah’s second startup, the first being a creative boutique agency focussed on communications, branding and visual storytelling for startups and scaleups. She now consults other tech startups and scaleups on their brand, marketing and comms.