Advice from Successful Women in Tech

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Even with the growing number of resources currently available to women in tech as low as 30% of the workforce of today’s tech giants consists of women. Now is the time for women to take advantage of these opportunities and change those numbers. Here is the absolute best advice from female leaders in tech in order to make that happen.

1. Change your outlook

“There is a voice inside you that will tell you that you are not good enough, prepared enough, or worthy enough to fulfill your dreams. Quiet that voice.” -  Elisa Jagerson, CEO and owner of Speck Design

It’s less about relationship building and more about your attitude towards people. Many successful women in tech suggest building a “network” or “home team” that will support you as you strive to meet your career goals, but few have advice on how to actually go about doing this. The biggest barrier stopping women from finding this support group is themselves. Your confidence about yourself determines how people treat you.

You need to own your abilities and respect yourself before anyone else will. As women we need to stop saying sorry and stop thinking we aren’t valuable enough to get a certain job or achieve a certain goal. As soon as you get into a positive mindset about yourself, your support group will find you once you risk putting yourself out there.

2. Take risks. Fail. Take risks again.

“Taking risks allows you to shoot up the career ladder and gain personal leverage much faster" - Minted Founder and CEO Mariam Naficy

For whatever reason women take less risks than men and it ultimately hinders us. Never be afraid of failure. Failure is part of the process to achieve success. Whenever you have the tugging feeling of “should I do this?” you should almost always go for it. Be more afraid of missing a chance to learn something, and never hide from an opportunity.

One of the best pieces of career advice I’ve ever received was to write a list of the “things I didn’t think I could do but wanted to do.” The goals on my list were “high risk”, which is why I never thought I should even try to achieve them. But since then I’ve stuck to that list and actually had success! I have failed plenty of times, but I treat each instance as a learning experience and not a failure. In the words of Rebecca Jacoby, senior VP and CIO of Cisco “learn something from every experience you have, even the difficult ones, so you can always add to your experiential toolbox.“

3. Don’t put yourself on the backburner

“More women must step up and talk about their work, their achievements, and share their unique perspective.” - Makielab co-founder Jo Roach

It’s easy to get caught up helping others achieve their dreams, but don’t be a leader not a follower. Have ideas and back them up with reasoning but never dismiss your ideas as any lesser than those around you. You have long term goals and you shouldn’t lose sight of them. Remember all giants were once small.

Religiously keep track of your personal development and career goals. I read over my long term goals once each weekend and keep track of them as they evolve. Don’t pour yourself into a job or relationship so much that you forget about your personal bigger picture.

4. Never stop being curious. Learn new things. Push the limits.

“Curiosity is a requirement for identifying great entrepreneurs and companies. Find smart people in the verticals you’re interested in and follow what they’re reading, writing, saying, and even tweeting to develop your own point of view.” - Megan Quinn, partner at venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers

Let curiosity be your drive. Successful female founders are known for asking great questions and finding the right answers. They are people who never stop learning, both about their industry and about whatever happens to pique their interest. 

Let’s work to get more women curious about tech. In a study on our Thinkful students women and men had very similar levels of engagement and yet four times as many men enrolled. Changing this number starts with changing the way women both think about themselves and approach the tech world. 

Written By: Tatiana Tylosky