Women in Tech with SheDares

Modis Posted 16 June 2022

Technology has been the key enabler of the new hybrid and flexible normal. Consequently, workers’ top expectations from companies going forward are good IT infrastructure & systems and investment in technology to facilitate better remote work outcomes.

However, we are seeing skill shortages across the tech sector in everything from Cyber Security, Software Engineering and Data Analysts across businesses and organisations nationwide. As the world becomes more and more remote, digital skills have continued improving for over 6 in 10 workers globally. But women are still under-represented across the board.

According to the Australian Technology Council, gender diversity remains a weakness for Australia’s tech sector, with only around 1 in 4 workers being women. Further, women are most likely to enter the tech sector as an early/mid-career transition, between 25 and

30. Joining at this stage can help women accelerate their earnings, increase their superannuation and gain valuable new skills.  Despite the relatively low share of women working in the industry, the gender pay gap in tech is half that of other highly paid sectors such as finance or professional services. This suggests an opportunity for more women to enter the sector, especially via reskilling, to help with the post-pandemic recovery.

There has never been a more important time for women to consider a career transition into the tech industry. If you’re a woman who is currently considering transitioning into tech these five tips will help arm you with the confidence to take the first step on your journey.

Recognise your outsider advantage

When considering transitioning into a new industry, you might be thinking: "my last role was totally different, I won't understand how things work". Yet if you reframe those doubts, you realise that different experiences drive innovation, enabling you to challenge assumptions and bring a fresh perspective that insiders might miss.

What many people may not realise is that their diverse experiences and backgrounds is one of the greatest values they can bring to a new role, team and organisation. Diversity of thought is extremely important in any role, and one that can hep your team and your organisation to flourish.

Take inventory of your transferable skills and existing experience

Consider the industry you are transitioning from and how that intersects with the technology sector. For example, if your background is in retail, consider how you could position your existing skills to be attractive to an e-commerce company. Additionally, many departments in non-tech organisations can be found in the tech industry: Sales, Marketing and Human Resources to name a few. Many soft skills such as problem solving, leadership and communication are valuable in any industry, so highlight these strengths and complementary experience wherever possible.

Focus on what you do have

Did you know that men apply for a role when they meet about 60% of the job criteria, yet women tend not to apply unless they meet 100% of the criteria? This mindset holds women back from embracing opportunities that they are likely very capable of pursuing. So apply for the role - even if you don’t meet 100% of the criteria. Once you’ve taken inventory of your complementary experience and transferable skills, leverage these in your application and interview.

Ask for referrals and be recommended

Don’t be shy when it comes to seeking a referral. Focus on broadening your network and digital presence on channels like LinkedIn to develop connections that could lead to a referral or recommendation. Consider what value you can provide to the connection so that you feel more comfortable when approaching them with an ask.

Don’t get stuck thinking it will be too technical

A common barrier that holds women back from considering a career in tech is that it will be “too technical” and that the learning curve to gain technical skills is too steep. Yet, 43% of roles advertised by tech companies are non-technical. According to The World Economic Forum (WEF), it takes as little as one to six months to develop a level of literacy in new skills (both technical and non-technical), meaning growing your skill set is never unattainable.”

Modis is collaborating with The Dream Collective and Amazon Web Services as part of their SheDares initiative - a free, online learning experience designed to equip women with the skills and knowledge needed to transition into the tech industry. This self-paced program features four modules focused on expanding participants' perspectives to the job opportunities that exist in the tech industry, aligning their current skill set with roles in tech, overcoming personal and systemic barriers to entry, and connecting them with job and further skill development opportunities. 

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