Message to the next generation of women disruptors in technology
For International Women’s Day and Women’s History Month, we’re featuring more than a week’s worth of posts that highlight female builders and leaders. We’re showcasing women in the industry who are building, creating, and, above all, inspiring, empowering, and encouraging everyone—especially women and girls—in tech.
“Just because something works, doesn’t mean it can’t be improved” – Princess Shuri, Black Panther (2018 film)
Princess Shuri’s character is inspirational – she is a masterful scientist, engineer, and inventor. But how many such Princess Shuris are around us today?
Women in tech today
As per the National Girls Collaborative project’s State of Girls and Women in STEM report, published on March 31, 2021, women constitute 29% of the STEM workforce. Women STEM professionals are concentrated in different fields than men. Out of that relatively small percentage of women, about 27% are in Computer and Mathematical science, and 16% are in Engineering. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects computer and information technology occupations will add about 667 K new jobs by 2030. So this is a growing field, and presents a great opportunity for women.
Why are such a small percentage of girls opting for Computer Science and Engineering? Studies have shown that gender stereotypes, male-dominated cultures, and fewer role models are some of the key factors as to why girls don’t choose technology as their primary career.
The choice to avoid tech careers seem to be made right around late middle school to early high school. In part, this is because there is not enough awareness about different career choices available in the technology sector. Young people often do not know what it means concretely to be an engineer, builder, or a technology professional. In this blog post, we share some thoughts that can help young girls or women like yourself seriously consider technology as your career.
The benefits of a career in technology and how to get started
Why choose a career in technology? Technology is integrated in many fields like healthcare, finance, the fashion industry, creative media, and others. There won’t be any field untouched by technology in the future. It offers an opportunity to work on the bleeding edge of innovation, the flexibility to work from anywhere. It gives you entrance into any field, and enables you to make a difference to millions of lives. As technologies like Artificial Intelligence (AI) develop, it is especially important for women to get involved to bring diverse viewpoints and help teams make better decisions.
We are calling out to all middle and high school girls to consider technology as a career choice. Join us in building an inclusive, accepting community in the technology sphere, and be at the forefront of innovation. You might be surrounded by students who may seem to know much more than you do and that can be scary sometimes. Don’t be intimidated! Don’t let it stop you from learning skills such as programming.
Treat learning how to program as another skill that you can pick up. Just as you learned to play a new instrument or a new language; with dedication, putting in the work, and sticking with it. Even if you think too much time has passed and others have passed you by, it is never too late to learn. There are many wonderful technologists who learned their first programming language in college, or later in life.
You can get started with beginner courses and tutorials available online – many are free. You already use tech with your phones, social media, and the internet – time to move from being the users of today’s technology, and become the builders of tomorrow’s technology!
Get support on your journey
It all starts with taking the first step. It can be as simple as joining a coding club like GirlsWhoCode, or using resources like Code.org. You don’t have to do it alone; encourage other girls to join. It is best that you start this in middle school and continue through high school. This will help you make steady progress and be able to network with other girls who are on the same journey as you. Find some local competitions, submit some ideas, participate as group, and have fun! Don’t be afraid of making mistakes, they are part of learning. Form a close mentor group that you can reach out to if you hit any hurdles. Master one skill before moving on the next, and think of these as discrete modules and layers. Set intermediate milestones, which will help you eventually reach the final goal.
Technology is a foundational skill just like math, reading or writing. Getting technology skills will help you in many ways, and offer you many paths to choose from. Careers in software development, user interface design and development, and program or project management are just a few. Think about how you can apply technology to the area that you are most passionate about.
On this International Women’s Day, and Women’s History month, we want to give our heartfelt message to young minds that “Yes, you can”! No matter what career path you choose, you will come across technology in your respective fields. By learning the foundations, you will be able to leverage technology in your careers. Grow your network, find role models, dream big, and be fearless in achieving your dreams.
Good luck budding Princess Shuris. The tech world awaits you!
We’ve got more content for International Women’s Day!
For more than a week we’re sharing content created by women. Check it out!
- Celebrate International Women’s Day all week with the Architecture Blog
- Deploying service-mesh-based architectures using AWS App Mesh and Amazon ECS from Kesha Williams, an AWS Hero and award-winning software engineer.
- A collection of several blog posts written and co-authored by women
- Curated content from the Let’s Architect! team and a live Twitter chat
- Women at AWS – Diverse backgrounds make great solutions architects
- Extend SQL Server DR using log shipping for SQL Server FCI with Amazon FSx for Windows configuration
- Building your brand as a Solutions Architect
- Mainframe offloading and modernization: Using mainframe data to build cloud native services with AWS
- Migrating petabytes of data from on-premises file systems to Amazon FSx for Lustre