As a senior executive who has worked at tech companies my entire career, I’m passionate about increasing female participation in technology. With more women in tech, we can build technology that works equally for everyone. Women’s History Month is a good time to take a look at how we can really make that happen.
There’s been some recent progress — 2% growth from 2019, according to Deloitte research. The same study also predicts female representation will reach nearly 33% at large tech companies this year. However, I agree with the firm’s conclusion that we need to work harder for progress.
I think one impactful way to do this is to realize that we need more non-techies in tech.
What drives my passion for tech
I love this industry because it’s fast paced, modern and I get to work with people who have a can-do attitude. My passion also derives from the fact that technology makes our lives easier and helps us fulfill our purpose. It frequently achieves that in ways that leave me awestruck.
Just consider what happens when we integrate disparate data. Businesses are significantly increasing the amount of data they collect about everything — customers, products, supply chain and more. By bringing the information together, they can compare it, find undiscovered insights and completely transform the way they operate as well as serve their customers.
Or in our personal lives — think about all the changes the tech sector has ushered in during the past 20 years. Many years ago, I spoke to my mother maybe once a month. Calling or writing wasn’t convenient or cheap. Now, my mom and I speak and exchange photos daily. Technology enabled that.
The tech sector’s go-go mentality is energizing. I don’t like the thought that some excellent female job candidates might not pursue a career in this field because of either tech’s reputation for being unwelcoming to women or because they can’t code. There’s a world of roles in tech that don’t require technical skills.
A career in tech: The pros outnumber the cons
To college-age women, or those in the middle of their careers who may be weighing a change, I say: Consider joining us in tech. Help us raise the number of women in the field while helping us to create great products and services for all. I promise you the pros far outnumber the cons.
Certainly, throughout my 16-year career, I’ve been in uncomfortable or dismissive situations. But mostly, my male coworkers have treated me respectfully and as an equal. Many of them have taught me things about technology I didn’t already know. If the entire industry was hostile to women, I wouldn’t have gotten as far as I have.
I’ve held senior positions at some of the world’s most successful tech companies, including Oracle, New Relic and ServiceSource. At the latter company, I became the fastest promoted employee and was the only woman to rise from sales rep to senior director.
At Fivetran, management has trusted me with overseeing one of the company’s most important regions.
Throughout my career, I had both male and female bosses who appreciated my skills and intelligence, and who supported and sponsored me. We need more leaders who think the same way if we’re to see more women building careers in tech.
Tech careers are not just for techies
To create environments that are welcoming to all workers regardless of gender, I don’t believe dramatic changes are required. Even small tweaks to culture, and the ways companies recruit (like sourcing from non-traditional talent pools), hire and retain employees can make a significant difference.
I have no idea how to code and yet I've led technical teams. I’ve been a product manager. That’s because even though I'm not technical, I'm logical. I'm able to see patterns, and because of that I’m able to speak fairly technically. I also know how to write If statements (one of the building blocks of software programming). If you know how to write If statements, then your developers can turn your plans into code.
In short, we need more non-techies in tech.
Advice for tech-minded women
I’ll close by offering a little advice to women who might be eyeing a career in technology or simply in business. First, choose a space that has growth potential. I know how important data is in today’s world, and I believe its value will only accelerate.
Second, choose your employer carefully. One of the reasons I joined Fivetran is due to the company’s support for ERGs, including groups for women, LGBTQIA employees, Black employees, LatinX employees and families. I found that kind of commitment to diversity and inclusion attractive. It’s likely that the forming of these groups contributed to Fivetran’s award-winning company culture.
I’m eager to hear from candidates — of any gender — who are interested in the tremendous opportunities Fivetran offers. To find out more, look for Fivetran career opportunities in EMEA, including our offices in Dublin, London, München as well as remote opportunities.