I grew up playing on a computer back when it wasn't the norm. My dad was a computer hobbyist, so I played games using command lines and got introduced to the Internet and email back when they charged you by the minute. Yep, it was a long time ago.
However, like many young girls, I went through different phases and it wasn't till I got to high school that I decided to explore IT as a career path. It all started with a "Technology" elective class, which my dad had encouraged me to sign up for.
So, I walked into my first-period class, on my first day of high school and realized that I was one of only three girls in a class of 40+. Lucky for me, two things happened:
- I quickly realized there was a lot of fun stuff that fell into the technology category and I was quite excited to learn more. Also, it gave me and the other two girls an immediate common ground to build on; it never hurts to have a friend to share your experiences and trepidation with.
- As the days went on, I forgot that I was one of only a few females in the class and realized all my fears that first day were for naught.
By the end of high school, I had taken all the programming courses offered and decided to major in Computer Information Systems in college. Those decisions led to a wonderful career in IT that I love. Here's why:
1. Varying Opportunities
Many people think that being in Information Technology means that you have to be a programmer or engineer. However, once I started my career, I realized there are many other options. I started as a tester and developer and then got an opportunity to be a project manager and a business analyst on some projects. I liked being a project manager the most and that's what I pursued as my long-term career. There are many opportunities out there. Find what works best for you.
2. Staying on the cutting edge of technology
There are some really cool areas of technology to work in and, luckily, I've been able to pursue a few of them. I worked on a project in 2007 which was one of the first biometric fingerprint authentication systems in an enterprise environment. I got to work on that before people started using it every day for access to apps or devices. Often, I get to work with handsets and devices that are not even available on the market. Also, I have projects where I'm part of a team developing new concepts and designing technology. I love working on the latest and greatest. I have a very cool job.
3. Bringing a diverse perspective
Our experiences influence our ideas and solutions. As a woman, I often deal with different challenges I wish someone would solve. For example, I recently went to a technology demo of a large phone. The men thought it was amazing -- it gave them a bigger screen to work with while still fitting in their pockets. However, I could only hold the phone with my fingertips since the span was too large. Also, I don't think I have anything in my closet with pockets large enough to fit a device that size. Having women on the design team would help bring that perspective to light. Having women in the field not only helps women themselves, but their expertise and viewpoint can help benefit society at large.