According to the latest National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT) Report Card, women represented 57% of all undergraduates in the United States, yet earned less than 1/5 of all computer and information sciences undergraduate degrees and engineering degrees. In 2013, just 14% of Fortune 500 CEOs were female, and now only 26% of computing occupations are held by women.
What do these numbers mean? Well, if you’re a woman looking to break into the tech industry, they should mean absolutely nothing. Because you aren’t just a number, and you can achieve anything you damn well please.
An integral part of success is integrity, and true leaders keep blazing their own trails, keep breaking the barriers and continue to plow towards progress even when the way seems long and out of reach. Little girls who dream can become women with vision—these are some of those woman, and this is what they have to say to you:
1. Be Brave
“A small step is to be brave. It’s intimidating being the only woman in the room and that happens for me weekly, particularly in Asia, so you have to be brave. You may encounter hostility or embarrassment, but you need to be brave, remind yourself why you are there. It’s not personal, it’s about business.” - Helen Adams, vice president of sales, Europe and Asia, ARM Holdings
2. Be confident
“Confidence plays a big part of what you are. If you’re analyzing yourself and what you’re going to say, remember the men in the room are doing the same.” - Jacky Wright, vice president – strategic enterprise services, Microsoft
3. Ask hard questions
“Ask hard questions. This is a really good skill to finely hone in.” - Nicole Vanderbilt, VP international, Etsy
4. Trust your gut
“Don’t always do what you should do, trust your instincts.” Vanderbilt talks about turning away from the traditional industries to work for a company she cared about, and going to business school in Europe, all counterintuitive moves that got her to where she is today. - Nicole Vanderbilt
5. Be memorable
“Be seen, be heard and be memorable in a way you can advance not just your career but the careers of the women around you.” - Erin McSweeney, executive vice president, global HR, EMC
6. Make bold decisions
“Leap and the net will appear, if you make bold decisions. Don’t ask for permission, ask for forgiveness. Look for the quickest way to fail.” - Alex Depledge, former CEO and co-founder, Hassle.com
When you’re chasing your dreams, don’t waste a single second. You may stumble, but stumbling isn’t falling when you stand up taller than before your knees went weak. You got this girl!