Several historical STEM visionaries like Jean E. Sammet, Ada Lovelace, Edith Clarke, Grace Murray Hopper, Hedy Lamarr, Radia Perlman, Emmy Noether, Dr. Erna Hoover, and many others have paved the path for today’s technology leading ladies. From these early-day matriarchs of tech to modern day influential powerhouses like Marissa Mayer, Sheryl Sandberg, Safra Catz, Ursula Burns, and Padmasree Warrior and numerous others, they impress upon new generations of women the need for increased entrance within STEM fields.
These ladies, among countless others, are women, friends, daughters, mothers, grandmothers, wives and mentors; yet despite their already substantial schedules, have pushed boundaries within their demanding careers, in the hopes that more superwomen of the future will pick up the torch and elevate the field to even greater heights.
In celebration of International Women’s Day, we honor the numerous and impressive achievements of past and present influential women of tech, and also strive to inspire and mentor new generations of women entering STEM fields with a little wisdom passed on by just a few of these geek goddesses.
Advice and success secrets from some female tech powerhouses
During a talk at Catalyst’s annual awards conference in 2013, Ursula Burns, Chairman and CEO of Xerox says to ambitious women:
- Redefine work-life balance
- Be selfish sometimes
- Don’t take guilt trips
- Don’t take life too seriously
In a 2014 interview with Economic Times, Padmasree Warrior, CEO of U.S. for NextEV had some specific advice for professional women. “The first thing I would like to tell women is to be confident. Women have a tendency to second-guess themselves. They have to exude confidence and people have to see that. Second, they should be opinionated.”
Marissa Mayer, President and CEO of Yahoo offered up these five pieces of advice to women in an interview with Buzzfeed.
- Work with the smartest people you can find
- Do something you’re not ready to do
- Find a place where you’re comfortable
- Work for someone who invests in you
- Find your rhythm
In an interview for Businessbigwigs, Safra Catz, CEO of Oracle Corporation said, “The best advice I can give to women is to go out and start something, ideally their own businesses. If you can’t see a path for leadership within your own company, go blaze a trail of your own.”
Finally, Sheryl Sandberg, CEO of Facebook offered these tidbits of advice in a 2016 interview with CNBC.
- Every day, write down three things you did well that day.
- Instead of focusing on what went wrong, Sandberg said she now ends the day by focusing on her daily successes.
- Confidence and leadership are muscles. You learn to use them or lose them.
What does the current technology field look like for women?
In 2015, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics survey showed females as comprising almost 58% of the professional and related occupations jobs, yet just less than 25% of the jobs in the computer and mathematical occupations in America are held by women.
How do things look for the future?
Between 2010 and 2020 the U.S. Department of Labor estimates that IT job vacancies will number almost 1.4 million. That said, estimates are that only 32% of those jobs can actually be filled by graduates, male or female. With this number of anticipated vacancies, and in light of the fact that so many amazing female tech titans have paved the way, there has never been a better time for women to enter the IT field and join the ranks for some awe-inspiring geek goddesses.
What are my words of advice to women thinking of entering the IT field?
- Talk with other professional women within the specific area of IT you may be interested in to find out more about job requirements, hours, working conditions and to assess if a particular career choice is the right fit for you.
- Attend IT career fares and trade shows to explore career options and meet employers and recruiters who can provide professional insights into the field, and who may also be in the process of seeking technology candidates.
- Continually seek to learn and grow through seminars, tutorials, publications, and any other educational means; keeping up can provide great opportunities for moving up.
- Work with IT recruiting experts, such as Modis, who understand the needs of employers and can assist you in your career decision and job search.
Are you interested in joining the IT industry?
At Modis, we can connect you with top IT companies that can be exceptional influencers on your future. Learn more about how we can leverage your IT brand and get you started in your next big career.