Celebrating International Women’s Day and women in tech! Here are four key skills for female contractors in the technology industry. The technology sector has always been typically male-dominated. However, over the past ten years the pattern has started to shift. This has come after pressure from both inside and outside the industry to encourage more women to pursue careers in tech.
Many women have founded or taken up high profile roles in key technology companies such as YouTube, IBM and Facebook. There are early indications that women have got what it takes to make it in the technology industry. So, let’s take a quick look at some of the skills needed to reach the top of your tech game as an independent contractor, and some of the women who have smashed through the glass ceiling.
What skills do I need to succeed as a female contractor in the tech industry?
With any career, there are desirable skills, this is the same for independent contractors in the tech industry. Take a look below at some of the skills you will need for your contracting career in the tech industry:
1. Being Tech Savvy – this may seem obvious, but you need to be able to demonstrate that you have an all-round knowledge of technology, outside your particular specialism. You should be familiar with, and have a good understanding of coding, cybersecurity and have a working knowledge of the most in demand programming languages. Having a diverse and deep understanding of your industry will really set you apart from others. Ultimately, you’ll be able to charge more as a knowledgeable tech guru.
2. Communication – This is an important skill for any role, but when working on a project closely with others it is especially important. As the resident tech guru, they’ll be coming to you with their problems! By having the ability to engage well and relate to people, you will be more valued by clients. Explaining tech issues in layman’s terms and making it easier for your clients to understand the technical details of the project will go a long way.
3. Time Management – As with communication, time management will go a long way in any role. Given the high demand for contractors in technology, you’re going to be popular. As well as having the niche skills required for your tech career, soft skills are just as important. Learning where to allocate your time and how to prioritise important work vs urgent work is vital.
4. Keep learning – The world of technology is moving fast. There’s constantly new devices, programming languages and software being developed. In university courses, many students are taught that by the end of their IT degrees, a lot of what they learnt will be irrelevant by the time they graduate. With this in mind, keep taking classes, gaining new qualifications and gain new experiences as technology develops.
Inspirational Women in Tech
Now we’ve had a look at some of the top skills needed to succeed in your tech career, let’s look at the women at the top and how they got there:
Ruth Porat, Alphabet Inc Whilst you may not have heard of Alphabet, they’re the parent company of Google. Porat used her expertise from years on Wall Street to help increase profits. Here’s an example of where skills learnt from other industries can really benefit the technology sector.
Gwynne Shotwell, SpaceX President Most people automatically associate SpaceX with Elon Musk, but Gwynne Shotwell oversees the daily running of the company. She’s really made it in the world of science and technology, previously working as an aerospace engineer.
Erica Baker, Engineer, Patreon As someone who lists coding as a way to solve life’s biggest problems, Erica Baker is a natural fit for our list. Baker has historically worked hard on encouraging more women into the tech industry.
Gail Carmichael, External Education Leader, Shopify Not just an employee, Gail Carmichael is a computer scientist who much like Erica Baker, has worked hard to make the technology sector a more attractive place for women to work.
The tech industry has come a long way in a relatively short space of time. Even though it is still a male dominated environment, women have risen to become leaders in this exciting industry. The women at the top have taken different routes and bring with them a wide variety of skills. Some are experts in technology and understand the industry through and through. Others have gained valuable skills and experiences from other industries and have brought this to the tech world where they have flourished. The technology industry is incredibly rewarding for those who pursue a career in it, and female contractors continue to pave the way towards a more equal industry