General skills that help women when changing careers and go into a tech job
Anja Schumann founded the Women Techmakers Meetup in Hamburg in 2016 next to her job as an IT consultant. In 2017 she decided to work full time on getting more women in IT by founding moinworld e.V. Born in Hamburg the Verein expanded this year to Munich and Hannover. In her previous career Anja was leading teams related to IT, ecommerce and supply chain management.
In this talk meet moinworld’s founder Anja and some other inspiring women that are behind this initiative. Anja will share the story behind moinworld and why its is a cool network to join if you are interested in tech and programming or already a software developer looking for other ladies to network with.
What is your tip for women who are interested in tech but don’t come from a tech background? How should they start? What are general skills that help women when changing careers and go into a tech job?
Due to our socialization and other factors technology and technology related jobs can appear to be very intimidating to newcomers. Especially for women, as of right now, the tech world is a men’s world and when entering the world of tech you are confronted with your own biases and also those of others.
So, my first advice would be to know that it’s not going to be easy and like running a marathon you will need some discipline and believe in yourself. If you ever feel that you do not belong: This feeling has a name: imposter syndrome and it is normal, there are many sources on the internet on how to overcome it.
It is a rewarding journey which in the end enables you to create. Because different from other jobs at the end of the day you produced a piece of software and most likely to you have overcome a lot of challenges together with a team to solve this problem. Besides knowing how to develop digital products you have acquired a method of problem-solving which you do not learn in any other discipline. Everything in the future revolves around software and if you want to be a leader in tomorrow’s world you should be equipped with the right problem-solving tools. It is a journey that will not be easy but for sure rewarding. Like learning a new language always opens the door to another world and makes you grow as a person.
For some motivation, I would recommend reading the history of women in computing as software development was once a women’s job.
You don’t have to decide where you want to specialize before you start learning. Just dive in with basic tech skills and get a feel for what you like! There are endless opportunities ahead of you.
Go to Meetups and Networking Events
Get a sense of the technology job world and find out you’re likely to find fulfilling. Techies working in the industry’s trenches can provide lots of guidance to those just getting started. They can also serve as mentors to assist you as you begin with your tech career. You can find theses Mentors at Meetups (see Meetup.com) and other Networking Events that are often taking place at tech companies. Be upfront with your need for advice and ask lots of questions. Moinworld is also offering regular tech events that may be a little less scary as you will be surrounded by other women that already have tech careers or are starting just like you. We are partnering with tech companies to get you in touch with the right people and show you the various opportunities that you have with a tech education.
Learn HTML and CSS
Learning HTML is a first step in moving beyond browsing the Internet. Forget about automated homepage building tools. Experiment, have fun and focus on useful tools rather than nice looking graphics.
Write a program
Volunteer your services
You may be a newbie, but don’t stay that way. Find someone who is more advanced than you and who can mentor you while taking on your first projects. You could also teach your newly acquired skills to somebody else. If you are part of moinworld we will pair you with a mentor and you can get started.
Contribute to an Open Source Project
Another way to get practical experience is to contribute to open source projects. Just because you’re not a pro with PHP or MySQL doesn’t mean you’re not ready to contribute to an open source project. The open source movement needs people to help stamp out bugs, write documentation and lend a hand in other ways. Any contribution will help you make contacts and learn about the techie life.
How can networks be the support network for women in a male dominated industry?
I like the quote “You Can’t Be What You Can’t See”. First of all, networks can provide you with mentors. You can meet other women you can identify with and that are already engineers or leaders in the digital world.
Besides meeting mentors, it is always more fun to meet other people who are on the same path and that can help and motivate you when things get difficult.
For women who are a minority in their business live all day, it is also strengthening to have a supporting network and it is important for them to make them stay in their careers.
Most of us also have international careers and it is always inspiring to meet other smart women when you are new to a city.
We all like to work with men but sometimes it is just also nice to have a different kind of empowerment that makes you feel like you are in the right place.