Ah, the look. That look that I know so very well. It’s the look I see on a male CEO/President/Decision Maker’s face when I walk in to fix their server. I know everything the look means.
I know exactly what is going through their head: “THIS GIRL is who the IT company sent to fix my server? Don’t they know my business is currently down! We need someone “real” to fix our servers!”
Some even have the nerve to say what they are thinking and ask if there was anyone else my company could have sent. As if someone else could fix their server so much better because they are male. Unfortunately this is something I have had to deal with on a fairly regular basis being a female in a very male dominated field.
I am an IT Manager. Many people are under the assumption that just because someone is a woman, they couldn’t possibly know anything about computers and how to fix them. It’s extremely unfortunate, and I’m very passionate about more women in STEM careers (STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math).
Being a female in the IT industry has definitely had its ups and downs. There is the anger that comes from The Look, mentioned previously, but there is also an extreme satisfaction that comes when I knock that issue out of the park. By the time I leave, the same guy who gave me The Look is singing my praises, and that makes me feel like a million bucks.
If you think you want to be a girl in IT and show the guys what you can do, the best thing you can do is go to college and get your degree in technology.
You already have a mountain to climb applying for a job in a very male-dominated field. The more you look good on paper (i.e. a degree) the better chance you have of making it. You also need to embrace your tech geekiness; you need to know more than just what you learn in school. Use your free time to tweak your skills.
Recently I was asked to show some of the girls in my community the inside of a computer. I taught them the different parts, what they do, how to remove them and how to put them back. I let them get in there and play with the inside of the computer, and they LOVED it. Exposing young girls to this kind of technology will help them get excited about STEM careers, and we need way more girls in STEM careers! That is how I try to make a difference, by proving to the world that women can be successful in STEM careers, and encourage more women to join me!
The more females in IT careers there are, there will be less of a chance for me to get The Look!
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So, I was actually inspired to be in IT by my Dad… has any business professional in your life inspired you to change your career, or start you on the path to being the awesome career person you are today?
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