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How to Deal With Gender Inequality in Tech (When You’re Just Starting Your Career)

Topics: Career Advice

We’ve written a lot about what individuals and employers need to do to fix the leaky STEM pipeline and make tech more accessible for talented female candidates, but what if you’re female, working in STEM, and not running a company just yet? It turns out, there’s still a lot you can do to boost your chances of being successful in the tech world.

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1. Nontraditional Candidates Need to Stand Out, Big Time

If you are one of the candidates who breaks the mold, you’re going to need to work harder than everyone else to make your resume stand out from the pack. This is where references can sing your praises. Even better, have your coding portfolio show you have what it takes, or work with pro bono groups like Taproot to make projects for free that help nonprofits, and build your own set of awesome skills.

2. Get Educated, on the Company Dime

Do You Know What You're Worth?

It can cost as much as $75,000 to poach an engineer from a competitor, but relatively little to train employees to be better at their jobs. Also, workers like getting something extra alongside their pay and benefits, and are often likely to stay longer as a result of participating in tuition assistance programs; it’s no surprise that most big employers offer some form of this benefit.

If your company is one such employer, don’t leave that benefit lying on the table. Even if you’re not interested in pursuing an additional undergraduate or graduate degree, a class or two might help you level up in the skills game and prepare for the next big phase of your career.

3. Look for Shortcuts

Many female, older, and minority candidates get a lot of help honing their computer science skills through programs like coding bootcamps, which offer intensive study over a short period of time, often with impressive results. If you don’t know much about code and want to get your feet wet, free and low-cost programs like edX, Udemy, and Codeacademy can help you figure out if your future lies in tech.

Wondering how well a variety of tech jobs pay? Check out PayScale’s Salary Survey to look at a new tech job that you might want, or add salary information for your current job. 

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Arthur Rimbold
Arthur Rimbold

Thanks for the article. As a male employer of 20 females and 1 man, I am proud to hire and pay equally across the board and based on performance. Prior to my tenure, becoming pregnant was a career ending concept. In the 5 years since, we have failed to meet 1 individuals requirements and/or accommodate the changes necessary. Her support system was very minimal. I have found this to be the most important factor in all. Find support for your… Read more »

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