Pushing Stereotypes Aside and Other Necessities for Fostering the Next Generation of Women in Tech

It simply makes sense to have more female programmers.

By 2020, it is estimated there will be 1.7 million computing positions in North America and without women in technology we may struggle to meet the workforce requirements.

Female programmers add a unique point of view that we urgently need. What can be learned from women who have already built successful tech careers? Here are a few insights from FCV’s own women in technology.

 

OPPORTUNITY KNOCKS

Studies show that as a society we are not making it easy for young girls to pursue an interest in computer science. Stereotypes get in the way, and girls are less likely to be encouraged to pursue a curiosity in a field that is incorrectly said to be anti-social or unimaginative.

The female developers at FCV come from non-traditional scholastic and parenting structures. They were encouraged to perform in subject areas such as math, science and electronics – and just as equally in languages and the humanities. Along the way, strong male and female mentors supported their curiosity and modeled to them a successful roadmap with which to follow after.

Providing context for girls to thrive in tech at an early age is imperative. New, unbiased views and educational opportunities will undoubtedly bring us the female tech leaders of the future we need.


SKILLS DE-CODED

Programming and coding have a lot less to do with math than people realize. Logic, visualization, user empathy and language are described as the most applicable skills required to succeed. Learning to code is very similar to learning how to play a musical instrument; one must learn the notes and how to read the music. With this foundation, art is created. The same is true in coding.

On a day-to-day basis a developer’s work consists of building environments and translating ideas. They define tasks and create actions that reach a desired goal. There is rationality to it, but also an artistry. It is all about building new interfaces that help the end user. Programmers today must have hard and soft skills in many different areas to be successful.

There are traditional training paths to acquire programming skills and also more unique ones. At FCV, our female team-members have studied at traditional universities, and applied their sociology or visual art backgrounds to interface development. Some have taught themselves to code. They all agree that building new technology is a truly rewarding experience. When complete, a new ecosystem exists for individuals to explore, learn and discover, and life is made easier in some way.

 

OUT WITH OLD, IN WITH NEW

There are certainly more men in the tech space than women, and although stories about sexism in tech still appear, this is changing due to the efforts of key leading ladies.

It is encouraging that the experiences of the women at FCV has been overwhelmingly positive. They note never having experienced prejudice, and instead found encouraging male and female superiors and supportive peers. It’s true that they have often been the only lady in the room, but this is changing. And changing fast. It is no longer a blocker to establish a thriving career in a technology-driven environment. Keeping up with trends is imperative as it is exciting, and new interactive tools pop-up daily to teach individuals how to code.

We don’t know what the future holds. The means to interact with digital will continue to evolve, excitingly so, and the need to be flexible in our approach is imperative. We need diverse tech leaders who can empathize with the full range of users, who are just as unique as you and I are. And thus, girls who code, rule.

Photo credit: Dianna Cheng