By Stephanie Rowe
The tech sector is certainly majority-male.
According to The Guardian, just 27 per cent of employees in the UK digital industry are women. And the imbalance starts young, with only 16 per cent of computer science students being female.
Though it is unclear why young women shun tech careers, it may be down to misconceptions about the industry. Women might deem the work too difficult, technical or boring. Or they might enjoy the work, but simply don’t want to enter a male-dominated industry.
Whatever the reason for female disinterest in tech, it’s important to remember that this career is ideal for women! Read on to discover why you should consider a career in this exciting, fast-moving and highly rewarding industry.
The salaries are superb!
If there’s one reason to start an IT career, it’s the salaries. Software developers in the UK start off on £20k and can earn £70k or more with experience. Technical architects have an amazing starting salary of £40k, and non-technical roles like the IT project manager can earn up to £70k.
According to Reed, six of 2018’s highest paying jobs were in tech. At the very top are architects. Security and cloud architects can earn up to £98,000 and Java architects can earn up to £85,000. These jobs require you to design and create the ‘architecture’ of an organisation’s cybersecurity solutions, cloud storage or Java applications.
The salaries are good because IT staff need a strong skillset. They are being paid for their technical expertise, which is gained through their education and professional experience. Many are degree educated and possess a few industry-standard qualifications too. Another reason is demand. As our world becomes increasingly tech-dependent, the need for specialists in all areas of IT is rising.
We’ve been in IT since the 1800s
Women have been involved in tech since 1840, when Ada Lovelace (Lord Byron’s daughter) wrote the first computer program. In the 1920s, Edith Clarke patented the first graphical calculator. In fact, women were heavily involved in programming, data and codebreaking throughout the 1900s, being responsible for the first NASA programs and breaking code at Bletchley Park.
In the early days of IT, society had a somewhat better view of female computing abilities. Women were seen to have well-developed typing skills and made less mistakes. The decline in female IT professionals started in the 1980s, perhaps due to negative media stereotypes of computer geeks, and the rise of male dot-com success stories like Steve Jobs.
However, women are still very active in the sector and have been hugely successful. Without Susan Kare and Adele Goldberg, Apple’s computers and graphics wouldn’t look as good as they do. Marissa Mayer was the CEO of Yahoo for many years, and Susan Wojcicki is currently CEO at YouTube. All these women prove that there is also a place for you in the tech industry!
Women have the talent
Think women can’t do technical work? Think again! In 2016, The Guardian examined 3 million pieces of code submitted to GitHub, an open source software community. They found that the code written by women received a roughly 4 per cent higher rating than code written by men. So not only can women do the work, we can also do it well.
Women are also talented in other areas. We have naturally good interpersonal skills, being able to read body language, build relationships, listen and collaborate much easier than men. As more IT companies start delivering projects using agile methods, the need for techies with good social skills will increase, as such methods emphasise the importance of teamwork.
Whilst it is true that women are a minority in tech, it’s time to shatter the stereotypes and stop being scared to get involved! IT careers are exciting – you could be working on the next blockbuster video game, keeping an organisation safe from hackers or writing a programme that saves lives.
The salaries are awesome, and tech isn’t going to disappear anytime soon. This is a job for life and you can shape it to suit you. Want to be a contractor? Sure! Want to fit work around childcare? Well, working from home is common in this sector.
The UK tech sector is currently having a skills crisis. As a result, there are lots of jobs out there that need to be filled. Take advantage and push your career in a new direction now!
About the author
Stephanie is the Content Manager at Knowledge Train. She writes articles, ebooks, website copy and manages the company’s social media platforms. Since leaving university in 2011, she has had articles and content published both online and in print. Her favourite topics are careers, skills, and the workplace.