What advice would you give to young women who want to pursue a career in tech? originally appeared on Quora - the knowledge sharing network where compelling questions are answered by people with unique insights.
Things that have helped me that may help you:
- Find a support group of women in similar situations. It is so incredibly helpful to have a group of people with whom you can share your experiences and hear "oh yeah, me too," or "I went through the same thing." Because of the gender ratio in tech, you may find yourself the only female in a class or meeting or near your space at work, and the support that comes from finding others in similar situations helps with that isolation.
- Focus on what you love doing: There's probably a reason you got into tech. Maybe you loved coding or design, or the transformative potential of the industry, or the proactive "let's solve hard problems" mentality. Focus on that, and don't focus on the detractors/the prestige/the other stuff. Try and put yourself in a situation where you are able to do that all the time.
- Find a team or company that values diversity: Seriously, ask them straight up in an interview what their perspectives on diversity are. Don't settle for the PR-speak, and ask for real examples. Get to the point where you feel confident that the team, even if it isn't diverse today, really does value you and will listen when you raise issues.
- Only compare yourself to you: compare yourself to the you last week, or last month, or last year. If you are learning and getting better, celebrate. When I was in my college computer science classes, the guys next to me who had been coding since they were 10 felt like they smoked me in terms of how quickly they grasped a concept or completed an assignment. It would be super demoralizing, and I'd wonder if I was cut out for this. Well, it turns out I *was* cut out for it, and the reason why is that every month, my skills were better than my past month. Keep this up for a few years, and you can do the math on where that gets you.