Can women leverage networking to succeed in their IT careers?
Even in today’s more progressive work environment, women still face an uphill battle. In the tech sector, which is considered among the most progressive, women represent only 25% of the industry, at a time when they make up roughly 60% of the workforce in the United States. Furthermore, women in the IT sector have the lowest retention rates, around half of that of men. Nevertheless, things are changing and are evolving fast, with big brands in the industry instituting numerous strategies and policies with tremendous success. In the meantime, women should also add networking to their arsenal as a means of succeeding at work.
The Gender-Differentiated Career Paths
Traditionally, the career path of a woman has always had a somewhat different course than a man. And in today’s highly disrupted business environment, this could prove to be an advantage. Men have customarily followed a linear career path, but for women, this trajectory has almost always followed more of a curved pattern.
With the accelerated introduction of automation, the many market fluctuations, and various other industry revolutions that are taking place, people need multiple talents, goals, and projects, if they hope to be successful. A linear career path, however, will mostly imply hard, technical skills that are taught in school and practiced at work. It’s these very skills that are taking the brunt of today’s many disruptive technologies – even in the IT industry. Soft skills, on the other hand, and those that come more naturally with a zigzagging career path, are becoming increasingly sought-after.
It is for this reason why women need to stop underestimating their abilities and embrace their skills. Among these soft skills, networking plays a crucial role.
The Importance of Networking
Networking is an extension of excellent communication, requiring the ability to gather groups of people in a workplace and build a system of knowledge that is more than just the sum of the organization’s parts.
Be it to advance their careers, re-enter the workforce, or to change careers, women need to embrace networking. They need to join various groups and organizations that can introduce them to all sorts of contacts and opportunities for development. Shared working spaces are also an excellent option to start.
Whenever attending events, you should always have a clear goal in mind, depending on your needs. It will provide value and maximize the time spent there. When attending conferences, try for a speaking engagement to make yourself more visible among the other people there. For an even more significant effect, try reaching out to the conference organizer and ask for an introduction.
You shouldn’t underestimate the concept of adjacent possible, either. While you need a purpose at these networking events, you also need to make room for the unexpected. Developed by Stuart A. Kauffman, an American theoretical biologist, this concept revolves around the idea that opportunities often arise from seemingly infinite and unanticipated series of events. It’s in these types of situations that discoveries happen. So, even if you have a purpose in mind, always make yourself available to other types of connections, besides those you are immediately seeking out.
MyComputerCareer is an organization that provides technical training, certification preparation, and job placement support for adult learners looking to enter the IT industry, as well as professionals seeking career advancement. We offer quick programs with flexible scheduling that include IT certifications, lifetime career services, and job placement opportunities. For more information, contact us today!