Every year, Forbes publishes a list of the top 50 women in tech around the world, as well as the top 50 women in tech in the United States. On the global list, names include Hong Kong’s Jennifer Zhu Scott, France’s Magali Vaissière, Australia’s Manal al-Sharif (originally from Saudi Arabia), the United Kingdom’s Chantelle Bell, and Nigeria’s Amy Jadesimi, among many others. Some women, such as Tal Rabin and Ursula Burns, appear on both lists.
These household names demonstrate that women have the power to thrive in a world still dominated by men—even reaching the top of the field. This should come as no surprise given that women were early pioneers in computing; Ada Lovelace, for example, wrote the first computer program and was the first person to envision that computers could do more than serve as calculators in the nineteenth century. In the following century, Grace Hopper led the team that created the first computer language compiler.
Still, the vast majority of tech positions are held by men.
How can tech fields draw more women? And what support and resources are available to women in tech? Here’s what you need to know.
Who is considered a woman in tech?
There is some argument as to whether people must be coders to call themselves tech professionals. The other school of thought is that the tech industry encompasses a wide range of titles, skills, and occupations. U.S. News and World Report ranked the best technology jobs of 2018, naming the top 10 as:
1. Software developer
2. Information security analyst
3. IT manager
4. Computer systems analyst
5. Computer network architect
6. Computer systems administrator
7. Database administrator
8. Web developer/app developer
9. Computer support specialist
Of course, this is just a small sampling of possible tech jobs available. There is a wide range of positions in the tech industry, including:
• Digital marketing manager
and many more.
Women in Tech Resources
Looking to collaborate with likeminded women? There are plenty of resources and information available for women in tech. Here are some to get you started. Don’t forget to check out our Women in Tech discussion board, list of Best Technology Companies for Women, and other resources, too!
This nonprofit provides opportunities, including courses and support forums, for women from diverse backgrounds looking to learn about web and software development.
With 60 chapters around the world, Girls in Tech seeks to educate and empower women with an interest in technology through coding course, bootcamps, hackathons, startup competitions, and more.
Aiming to encourage girls to develop an interest in computing early on, Girls Who Code offers school and summer programs and other resources for girls in 3rd-12th grades.
This organization provides a goal-oriented network with support structures to help women in tech advance in their careers, holding its Voice Global Conference annually.
Through events, webinars, mentoring, and more, Power to Fly connects women to companies that value gender diversity and inclusion.
This community for women in tech highlights opportunities and companies seeking tech professionals through events, job boards, and more.
A community of more than 167,000 women in tech, Women Who Code offers conferences, a job board, and other resources to tech professionals.
Advancing the Careers of Technical WomenBrings together women in tech and allies to help them network, expand their skills, and connect with companies looking for talented professionals.
The world’s largest gathering of women technologists, this conference is produced by AnitaB.org in partnership with ACM.
This event focuses on new technological advances, cybersecurity, big data, digital and analytics, tech innovation, recruitment and careers, leadership, and more. The mission is to “take the fear factor out of technology.”
Sponsored by Global Tech Women, this conference is a celebration of the contributions of women in tech. Attendees may participate globally or attend in-person.
• WE Code
Held at Harvard University, Women Engineers Code is the largest student-run women in computer science conference in the U.S. Attendees will participate in workshops and mingle with industry leaders as well as listen to empowering speakers.
Women in tech, STEM, and business, as well as men who support them, come together to participate in this event from the Silicon Valley Forum. Participants listen to talks, engage in workshops and discussions, and develop startup pitches.
With events in the MidAtlantic, Midwest, Northeast, Southeast, and West, this gathering convenes women at all levels of their careers to learn about trends and information in tech and participate in hands-on workshops and discussions.
Founded by VMware, this conference brings together companies and organizations in industry, academia, and non-profit sectors that work on issues important and relevant to women in technology. Speakers include “role models and thought-leaders” in the industry.
The National Center for Women & Information Technology compiles statistics about women in tech annually. Here are some of their findings from a report released in 2018:
• Women held 57 percent of professional occupations in the United States workforce in 2017
• Twenty-seven percent of computing occupations in the U.S. workforce were held by women in 2017.
• Seventeen percent of Fortune 500 Chief Information Officer (CIO) positions held were by women in 2017.
• Nineteen percent of Computer and Information Sciences bachelor’s degree recipients were women in 2016.
• Thirty-five percent of Computer Science bachelor’s degree recipients were women in 1985.
Find more facts and figures about women in tech here.
Applicants write an essay about a female leader in tech who inspires them to win a $2,500 scholarship.
Women planning to pursue a career in engineering, engineering technology, or computer science may apply for awards ranging from $1,000-20,000.
VIP awards 10 scholarships ranging from $1,000-2,500 to women studying computer science, information technology (IT), management information systems, computer engineering, or another related field.
Women in their senior year of college or in graduate school studying computer science or computer engineering have the opportunity to win a $10,000 scholarship. Scholarship recipients also participate in a retreat with fellow scholars and Google mentors and have access to an online network.