Kim Singer, Sales and Marketing Manager at Kogo, started her career as an apprentice at British Telecom, and it was during this time she became one of a handful of employees in the UK with expertise in CAD/CAM (computer-aided design and computer-aided manufacturing). This skill catapulted her into an international career in high tech, leading to opportunities to live abroad and travel the world. Kim shares a few words of wisdom for women in tech and those wanting to join the sector:
1. Being in the Minority can be an Advantage
There’s no doubt that women are a minority in the IT sector. Kogo Limited has hired women engineers in the past and is actively seeking to hire more IT engineers today, and would hire a woman again if any applied!
Considering it is a booming industry filled with endless possibilities it is a shame there’s a lack of qualified engineers in the IT sector both male and female, but what an opportunity for any tech-savvy women looking for a career. So, don’t let being a minority as a woman in IT dishearten you. Don’t let your minority status make you self-conscious or stop you from being yourself. It’s much better to focus on the fact that you are unique and have something great to contribute. Instead of feeling out of place because you’re a female in a male-dominated environment, take advantage of your uniqueness and help other people to do the same. That is exactly how I have succeeded in my career.
2. Don’t Psyche Yourself Out
You may be aware of the negative stereotype around IT engineers. Something along the lines of: IT engineers are geeky weirdos with no social skills, sat behind a computer or a game console all day. Oh, and their stench suggests they haven’t seen a shower in five days. You’ll be happy to know that most IT engineers don’t fit the stereotype. My co-workers take showers, look nice, and aren’t always on gaming consoles.
But with these stereotypes in a male-dominated industry, it’s no wonder that women choose different careers over IT. However, you don’t necessarily have to be fluent in geek talk to work within the IT industry. I think it’s important for women to realise that it’s okay to break the stereotype, you don’t have to fit a mould to be an IT engineer.
Plus there are other ways to be involved in the IT industry: every company needs field engineers, project engineers, pre-sales consultants, salespeople, managers, and other individuals if you’re more familiar with the personable aspects of a successful business. Don’t count yourself out of IT, whether you prefer to write Java or drink it.
3. Don’t Underestimate Yourself
There’s nothing inherently “male” in any IT position. The physical requirements aren’t demanding at all, and anything that’s too heavy for a woman would be considered, under worker’s compensation, too heavy for a man to carry alone. The mechanical, technical, and analytic requirements aren’t an obstacle either. Say what you will. Believe what you want. The plain truth is that there’s no reason women can’t perform every bit as well as men in technology.
It’s true that women and men aren’t the same. Thank goodness. In service professions, most women are superior. It’s stereotyping, but women as a rule, seem to be more naturally empathetic than men. Women seem to relate better to the customer, and can often provide a superior customer experience.
Take ownership for what you know and seize opportunities to use your skills. I’ve learned that being confident in yourself makes a world of difference in what you’re able to accomplish.
4. Get a Mentor, You Don’t Have To Do This Alone
It’s safe to say that women naturally enjoy communicating and building support networks. So, it just makes sense that successful women have mentors who help them along the way. Be it a guy or a girl, formal or informal; you can learn a lot from having a mentor. Plus, that extra bit of support is fantastic!
I’ve also found that there’s a lot to be learned from mentoring others. Mentoring has exposed me to fresh perspectives, ideas and approaches. Plus, the professional reward and personal satisfaction through supporting others achieve their goals.
5. Be Inspired
As we celebrate International Women’s Day on March 8th think about the female role models in your life and the world around you. Take a moment to visit these websites and be inspired:
I’ve worked in America for 18 years and back in the UK since 2010 in roles which include Pre-sales, Application Engineer, Senior Product Marketing Manager, Sales Executive, General Manager and Head of Sales & Marketing. With specialist knowledge in the IT/Tech sector, I also have an engineering background which gives me the level of analytical and problem-solving skills you would expect to find in these sectors. However, my approach to work is people focused – characterised by a deep commitment to getting it right for customers, doing my best for the team and making my MDs’ life as easy as possible! Come join those women who have excelled in the IT/Tech sector as I have!
#BalanceforBetter – is the Hashtag for the 2019 celebrate International Women’s day Friday, March 8th