If you google “Women in Tech,” you’ll find countless articles, interviews, and conferences dedicated to the contributions of women in the fields of computer science. You’ll also find statistics highlighting the gender gap between professionals in these careers: women only occupy 25% of tech jobs. While the numbers are startling regardless of how often you hear them, perhaps we’ve created too limited a view on who belongs in this community.
As a woman at a data science company, I’ve seen how women from marketing to finance and engineering (and everything in between) impact the technology world. We may not be writing code, but we are teaching marketers and advertisers how to make sense of behavioral data and how to use technology to discover new audiences. We understand the pain points of digital advertising and market research, and work with product and development to create new ways for technology to solve these problems.
In celebration of Women’s History Month and an effort to redefine “Women in Tech”, I’ve asked the women of Dstillery -- DstillHers -- to share their unique perspectives as women in a technology company. What have been the keys to their success? What advice would they give to young women who are interested in tech? How has their mentor helped shape their career?
Lead Software Engineer
Being a woman in tech can be a lonely journey in a male dominated world, but it is a wonderful one. Believe in yourself, trust your voice, and know you can make a difference to the world of bits and bytes.
My advice is to embrace a winding career path. The job I have now wasn't on my radar when I started my career. I changed directions by doubling down on work I found interesting and my willingness to learn something new opened doors. A computer science degree isn't the only qualification for a career in tech. All work experience is relevant and unique to your growth as a professional.
Senior Account Executive
The really exciting thing about working in the tech industry right now is that it is always evolving and changing. By nature, women tend to be very nimble and this presents us with a tremendous opportunity in our space. Be willing to roll up your sleeves, learn something new, ask questions and challenge the norm (even if it falls outside the scope of your day to day position, get curious!) and you will set yourself up for great success.
The one piece of advice I'd give to a woman looking to join a tech company is not to be afraid. Get involved in that project that's piqued your interest, share your new idea with your teammates, or simply ask that question that's been on your mind today. Speaking up and putting yourself out there will lead to success, not only for you as an individual, but for your entire company.
Technical Manager, Offshore Services
I believe that intuitive intelligence and thoroughness that a woman brings with her, has always helped my approach at work. I am also grateful to have mentors in my life who not only taught me to believe in myself, but also showed me how to be more assertive. I would urge all young women out there to believe that they have the power to achieve great heights and make a difference.
I encourage all women to explore the tech industry and all that it has to offer, even if you aren’t a “techie.” The tech industry is ever growing, jobs have nearly doubled in the last 20 years. As a woman, we need to be aware of the career opportunities from this leading growth industry.
Sales Enablement Manager
My advice to young women who are interested in tech: ask questions. Allowing yourself to admit you don't know something and being willing to learn will snowball into growth. I was previously our Technical Account Manager, writing queries and scripts. My team and department were male-dominated and I felt overwhelmed...until I didn't. You'll get there and you certainly don't need me to tell you, the future is female!
Executive Director of Sales
One key to my success has been never accepting mediocrity and always pushing myself harder than the previous day. My mentor is Pat Summitt who was the coach of the Tennessee Women’s basketball team that I worked for during my time at UT. She inspired me through her hard work, dedication & leadership...all things I aspire to do every day in all parts of my life.
Some of the keys to my success at Dstillery have been raising my hand, reminding myself that if I'm comfortable, I'm not growing, and realizing that it is better to ask a million questions and get it right rather than being embarrassed that I'm asking a "stupid question". And also remembering to never be intimidated - a girl can do ANYTHING a guy can do, so don't let them always take the seats at the front of the room in a meeting!
Executive Director of Sales
Tech is always evolving and I lucked out early on in finding a mentor to always run any important decision by throughout my career. With any important decision I was faced with, I’ve always used her as my go-to and she’s helped lead me to where I am today. I’ve been forever grateful and try to give back as much as possible so other aspiring Women in Tech can feel like they have someone to act as their go to. Finding a mentor of your own can be a huge key to success, so ask questions to the people you meet and remember, we all started somewhere.
I grew up in the equestrian sport where men and women are on an equal competitive playing field. A skilled equestrian requires focus, physical and mental grit, dedication and the ability to guide their teammate (horse) to complete the required task with ease. These are traits that I bring to the table every single day. My advice to young women in tech is to speak up. Not everything you say has to be a profound statement, but say something. Ask questions. Show your interest with body language. Make your presence in the room known. You are listening and contributing in your own style.
Associate Director, Account Management
The biggest key to my success lately has been embracing the unknown as an opportunity to raise my hand and put my name on something brand new. I like to think that we're navigating uncharted territory at this company and in this industry. If you sit and wait until you have all the information you *think* you need before taking the next step forward, you'll stand still forever.
Chief Data Scientist
In my career I’ve followed what’s called a “greedy algorithm”. A greedy algorithm means that at each step, you make the move that optimizes your objective function. The objective function I’ve chosen to maximize is learning. As a result, what I’ve learned has depended heavily on the opportunity that presented itself, whether that means low-dimensional electron transport, machine learning at scale, managing tech teams, or developing business strategies. Following a greedy algorithm does not guarantee that you’ll end up with a globally optimal result, but with the right objective function, it does guarantee that you’ll have fun along the way.