Numbers reported by Deloitte Global in late 2021 predicted that women would make up almost 33% of all positions at large global tech corporations this year. Although there's still a long way to go, this figure is more than a two percent increase from 2019, showing that a growing number of women have chosen to pursue their passion for tech.
I recently asked BuzzFeed Community members who are women working in the technology field to share their stories. In addition, users on Reddit were asked what inspired them to join the industry. Here are some of the responses we received.
1."I went from temp office worker to temp data analyst because I had intermediate Excel skills and a military background in an Intel role. After working in that role for almost two years, I took the free SQL tutorial on W3Schools and found it really fun and intuitive. I applied for a job as an SQL developer and was upfront in the interview — no hands-on experience, but I brought the certificate and talked through different concepts, and I pushed the hard sell on my capacity and potential. They gave me a shot."
2."I've been working as a UX researcher for four years now with four years of prior experience in qualitative market research. A few tips from my own experience: Getting an internship in startups is a great place to start if you're looking to break into the tech industry. It provided me with the much-needed space to learn and fail as a rookie UX researcher. Look for places where tech talents, specifically UX talents, are scarce, but the demand is high. I got a job in Singapore because they don't have enough tech people."
3."I grew up really poor, couldn't afford college, and didn't want to end up with $50K + in student loans. I got an entry-level job doing customer support for a tech company, worked hard, made sure to be among the top performers, volunteered to help with training, and consistently showed I wanted to learn more. I began to really enjoy learning and deep diving into the technical background of my role and spoke up a lot when I saw how things could be changed for the better. Eventually, I made my way to becoming an engineer."
4."I got started doing retail sales for a construction company and fundraising for political campaigns, and I bopped around after college before taking a leap and moving to Boston. In 2018 I was working for $38,000 a year at a small company in Boston doing their sustainability and admin work. I had a background in sales but was testing a pivot to sustainability. It was impossible to survive on that money in the city."
5."I am a technical copywriter at an IT company. I started as a marketing specialist and then slowly made my path first into copywriting, and then technical copywriting. The difference is that I cover many tech subjects in my company's blog, and I often help developers polish tech specifications that they send to the clients."
6."I went into the technology field in the Air Force when it opened up to women. I was an aircraft avionics technician. My experience was, as you could imagine, working in an all-male career field. I will not describe the misogyny because over the past 30 years I have seen a gradual acceptance of women in the technology field. This is mostly from the younger generation of men. I love to see more women in the STEM career fields, and I encourage all the women engineers I work with."
7."I got my first corporate job as a secretary at an engineering company. I always took to the technology really quickly and became the de facto expert for most of our software. Over time I realized this is what I wanted to do, so I petitioned our CIO to send me for training. Then I wrote a job description for a software administrator, interviewed for it, and received the job. It was a title bump and salary bump to $50K."
8."I originally was in marketing and moved into IT in 2002. I've always been great with computers and entered an engineering program with a large firm in the US. I've always loved it. Originally, I was the only woman on the first several teams I worked on, and they were all great experiences. Over the years, I've worked with men of all ages, and I've never had an issue."
9."A year ago I broke into tech recruiting. I've recruited for a decade, but tech always seemed SO out of my reach. Thankfully, through my years of localized recruiting, I was noticed by a fantastic tech company and they took a chance on me. I was super nervous, especially being a woman moving into a male-dominated industry, but thankfully the individuals at my company embraced me, taught me (even tutored me when I went for some certifications specific to what we do for our customers!), and supported me."
10."I've always liked computers, so I went into computer science. Seemed logical. I'm a software analyst." —dumhuvud via Reddit
11."I fell into IT in 2007; the market crashed, my regular job disappeared and the options became to go back to bartending or try something new. I got a job as a systems builder, and I was the only female in a company of eight men. The first few months were rough, and I was essentially treated like a receptionist despite having a master's in science. Eventually, some of the men came around and started to show me tricks for repairing systems and encouraging me to start system building."
12."I'm an IT director at a university. I got my degree in computer engineering but found my fit in IT while co-oping. I've worked in everything from help desk to server support and app development, to planning a new data center build-out, and migrating to cloud services. I've found, while technology is fun for me, it's working with and helping others that's the most fulfilling."
13."I decided to do a computer science degree after I took a programming class in high school. I'm a software engineer at a web-based company. I used to do a lot of work building backends for different internal tools, but I switched teams recently, and now I do a lot of batch data processing."
14."I’m sort of tech adjacent in that I work in data analysis. I currently work for a consulting company but use the same stats and analytical tools found in tech firms. I originally wanted to follow in the footsteps of my dad and brother and get my Ph.D. in economics and go into academia but discovered pretty quickly that I just liked the stats better. I have my MS in applied stats and got my current job after interning my last year of school."
15."I am a bioinformatics student. I kind of rolled into this from a chemistry/biology major. I found out that I liked the logic of programming and that I couldn't find logic like that in the more experimental fields of biochemistry. I like letting others do the lab work and making sense of the results they get, and then advising them on which follow-up experiments to do. The problem of bioinformatics is that you don't actually learn to code and use computers well — I'm mostly self-taught in that."
16."I am a software engineer. My dad let me have a personal computer long before most of my peers, and I had a friend who was really into Linux, and that infected me." —StellarTabi
17."I currently work as a backend software engineer. I originally wanted to be a veterinarian, so I was a biology major in college. But my dad was in computer science academia, and after a lot of nagging on his part, I took a couple introductory computer science classes. Around the same time, I started working part-time in a vet clinic and ended up quitting after a couple of months due to shitty working conditions and a newly-discovered allergy to cats (and a number of other things with fur or feathers)."
18."I'm a software developer at a Canadian office of a Silicon Valley company. I took a BTEC (2 years) in the UK, then moved to Canada for reasons not related to my career. I couldn't work for a couple of years until I got permanent residence. Then I took a job answering phone calls that I thought was a job doing internal tech support for the employees but was not at all that. I tried out for a six-month rotation in the software development department testing and got it. They were impressed and hired me to test their software full time after the rotation."
Note: Some answers have been edited for length and/or clarity.
What's your story of breaking into the tech industry? Let us know in the comments section below!