A career in the tech industry promises to be a lucrative one, but women are largely underrepresented in the primarily male-dominated field. In fact, few women even study to equip themselves for jobs in tech-based disciplines like engineering or computer sciences, so they don't have the training. Those who do tend to quit their jobs early on for a whole gamut of reasons, so they don't have the same track records of experience as their male counterparts.
Specifically, while, 57% of bachelor's degrees go to women, just 12% of computer science degrees are awarded to women, according to GirlsWhoCode. That's part of the reason why women made up just 25% of all computing jobs in 2015, according to the National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT). And 56% of these women end up leaving their jobs mid-career, NCWIT reports. Many women quit because of unfair pay, inaccess to opportunities and/or being one of few women (or the only woman) in the workplace, which can mean a lot of manterruptions, mansplaining and all-around unequal treatment.
In fact, research from Fairygodboss shows that women in technology are indeed faced with more gender inequality issues than the overall population of women in the workforce. A total of 54% of women in tech report that men and women are not treated equally, compared to 45% of overall working women.
With the right skills, however, women can shatter stereotypes and make their mark on the tech industry. And, as ever more women enter the field, they'll ultimately move into leadership roles and then mentor, advocate for and promote each other.
So here are 15 in-demand tech skills women should consider developing.
Wordprocessing skills are important to be able to complete written tasks in an effective and efficient manner.
Whatever sector of the tech industry you are in, you will need to have written skills, as you'll be communicating in a variety of wordprocessors
Spreadsheet skills are key for organizing and analyzing information.
Again, whatever sector of the tech industry you are in, you will need spreadsheet skills as you'll need to organize data.
Data visualization helps people understand the significance of data by making it visual. For example, you'll need to be able to turn spreadsheets or reports into easily digestible graphic and charts and graphs.
And again, whatever sector of the tech industry you are in, you will benefit from data visualization skills.
Machine learning refers to machines like Siri and Alexa, as well as chatbots. It's an important undertaking as 61% of organizations report that Machine Learning was among their top data initiatives in 2018 and 2019 — and spending on Machine Learning is anticipated to grow from $12B in 2017 to $57.6 B in 2021, according to the International Data Corporation.
Jobs that require machine learning skills include jobs in machine learning engineering, data architecture solutions and data science.
UI and UX designers work in similar but not quite the same worlds. UI (user interface) specialists work on designing the interfaces for websites and apps so that they are aesthetically appealing and straightforward for users to navigate. Meanwhile, UX (user experience) specialists are the ones researching how users will interact with the website or app, and they spend a lot of time coordinating with developers and UI designers, to determine how the site or app will function.
Jobs that require UI/UX design skills include UI and UX designer jobs.
Cloud computing is an important skill because, according to Gartner research, the market for public cloud services is projected to grow by 17.3 3% in 2019. That would total $206.2 billion, which is up from $175.8 billion in 2018. This means that there's a growing interest in cloud services.
Jobs that require cloud computing skills include jobs as a software engineer or architect, a developer (front- or back-end, or full-stack) and a data engineer.
There are tons of programming languages to learn, such as BASIC, C, C++, COBOL, Java, FORTRAN, Ada and Pascal.
Whatever sector of the tech industry you are in, having knowledge of programming languages will certainly come in handy.
Mobile development skills are key because, in 2018, Statista research estimated that there were over 2.5 billion smartphone users in the world. The more people invest in smart mobile devices, the more companies need to work with smartphones via apps.
Jobs that require mobile development skills include UI and UX designer jobs, as well as mobile developer positions.
"By allowing digital information to be distributed but not copied, blockchain technology created the backbone of a new type of internet," according to Block Geeks. "Originally devised for the digital currency, Bitcoin, the tech community has now found other potential uses for the technology."
Jobs that require knowledge of blockchain skills include product designer jobs, UI/UX designer jobs and mobile developer jobs.
Quantum computing skills are important because, according to physicist and professional research fellow at the University of Bristol, Jeremy O’Brien, quantum computers could outperform everyday computers in less than a decade.
Quantum computing comes in handy for quantum physicists, engineers and mechanics especially.
SEO marketing, which refers to search engine optimization, is especially important in an ever-competitive digital world. Learning SEO will help you to understand how and why some content performs better than others.
Jobs that require SEO marketing skills include jobs in marketing, journalism (writing and editing) and public relations.
Data breaches happen (lately more often than not). That's why cybersecurity is important in being able to stop hackers and safeguard company data.
Knowledge of cybersecurity will be beneficial in any sector of the tech industry.
Understanding data science is key as revenue from Big Data applications and analytics shows a projected growth from $5.3B in 2018 to $19.4B in 2026, according to Statista research.
A data scientist, machine learning engineer, data engineer, AI communicator, AI architect and more all require data science skills.
Understanding content management systems (CMS) is important, as many websites and apps with which tech industry professionals work are published on different CMS platforms, such as WordPress, Wix and Squarespace.
CMS skills are important for UI/UX designers, journalists, editors, app developers and more.
Understanding artificial intelligence (AI) is valuable, especially as, in 2018, 31% of businesses reported that implementing AI was in the plans for the year, according to research from Adobe.
Jobs that require AI skills include data scientists, data analysts, machine learning engineers and more.
Make your skills stand out by tailoring your resume to the particular potential employer for which you want to work. Make sure that you're mirroring the job advertisement's language and sharing specific examples of how you've used the requested skills before.
You can also reach out to other women in tech to see what skills they've found most useful for them. If you’re a woman either working in technology or looking to pursue a tech career, there are support groups and resources for you, such as Ada’s List, ChickTech, GirlsWhoCode, the National Center for Women & Information Technology and Women in Technology.
Develop your skills and get going. And just know that you're not alone (even if you're alone in your workplace!)—so reach out to other women in tech for advice, motivation and empowerment.
AnnaMarie Houlis is a feminist, a freelance journalist and an adventure aficionado with an affinity for impulsive solo travel. She spends her days writing about women’s empowerment from around the world. You can follow her work on her blog, HerReport.org, and follow her journeys on Instagram @her_report, Twitter @herreport and Facebook.
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