Career Advice Diversity, Equity & Inclusion

Dispelling Myths Surrounding Women in Technology

John Smith

FDM recently hosted an event where university and school students, graduates and FDMers came together to discuss some of the myths relating to women in technology and STEM careers.

1: You can’t have career in tech unless you’ve got a tech degree

There are a multitude of digital career options today which don’t require a degree in STEM. Many companies, FDM included, look for people with an aptitude to succeed, a desire to learn and good transferable skills. If you are interested in a career in tech but are worried you don’t have the right background, think about joining a coding club or extend your interest in the subject through online courses.

2: The Tech sector is not an appealing environment for women

Unfortunately, the tech sector doesn’t seem to appeal to women as much as it should. Women represent just 17% of IT professionals in the UK. However, in India, women represent 35% of the profession and see IT as an exciting, well rewarded, innovative and respected career option. This is what we need to achieve. Yes, it’s a big job to change technology’s culture and image, but it’s not impossible and there are many different aspects to it.

3: There’s no progression in this career, you’ll be stuck writing code

Today working in tech doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ll be working for a tech company. Technology underpins every aspect of business today in every single sector, so the roles are very wide and there are a range of opportunities.

4: Shouldn’t tech companies use quotas to encourage more women into the tech industry?

This is an emotive topic with many different viewpoints. On the positive side, quotas force the issue and raise awareness in companies that they need to do something to ensure fairer representation of women. On the negative side, women don’t want to feel like numbers; they want to know that they get recruited based on their talent and skills, not based on gender. Quotas can create additional biases and resentment among existing employees and don’t always succeed in changing culture, instead creating a tick box exercise for a company. Overall, the argument comes back to the importance of creating a company culture that supports diversity and inclusion, where people are recruited for what they can bring to the organisation, while giving them the chance to fully reach their potential.

5: You can’t balance a successful tech career and have a family life and social life

All careers require you to make compromises and find a work/life balance that works for you. Working in tech is simply no different. Ultimately, with good time management skills and a positive mindset, you will be able to balance work and personal calendars successfully.

We would like to thank everyone who took participated at the event, it is great to gain a variety of insights from school students to those already working in the industry. If you want to start your journey to a career in tech then find out more about our programmes today.