As a recruiter, I read a lot of blogs and articles focused on increasing the number of women in technology – or if we’re being real, focused on how [insert large tech company’s brand here] is hiring women into engineering roles, and how you can too! While I am all about adding more women to our engineering teams, I feel as though our recruiting conversations focus a LOT on the software developers, and forget the other women who live (and love) technology.
One of our interns this summer is about to start her senior year of high school. She attends an inner city school that has managed to build a strong STEAM program through many grants, and she spent 6 weeks with us working on projects across the entire Software Development Lifecycle. The two weeks she spent with our programmers made her want to cry. She learned some Java basics, and did well on all her projects, but she was not happy. Her last two weeks with us were spent in our software testing group, writing use cases and finding bugs. She thrived, and absolutely loved the problem solving that testing presented to her – so much so that she told me on her last day that she’s pursuing more technology courses that she wasn’t going to take before her internship, and is looking at technology-related majors for when she heads off to college.
Some of the most amazing women in technology I know are not engineers. These women are product managers, responsible for devising a product strategy and roadmap for apps that are changing person-to-person communication. They are user experience researchers and designers who know more about our customers’ habits than our customers know about themselves. They are digital marketing specialists who have to re-learn Google’s algorithm every time they decide to change it, and tweak our SEO and SEM strategies so that we have top-ranked search engine results. They are analysts who write complex queries and run hundreds of lines of data through their own algorithms to monitor our business performance. These women are integral to our business and our technology just as much as their engineering counterparts.
Please do not misconstrue my thoughts – I know several awesome female engineers and web developers, and would love to see more of them in our engineering teams. Coding is a valuable skill, and we should systemically encourage girls to explore computer science and engineering as possible career paths. But let’s not limit the conversation around “women in technology” to “women engineers.” If you are a female working for a technology company, no matter your role, you are a woman in technology.
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