When I began studying computer science six years ago, I wondered how the gender imbalance would affect my career in tech. We all hear it in the news: sexual harassment, “brogrammers”, gender bias, etc.
What we don’t talk about are some of the awesome advantages of being a woman in tech.
Disclaimer, your experience will vary. I finished my CompSci degree from an mid-west city university a little over a year ago — so, including internships, I’ve only been working in the field for about two years.
I also have a tendency to find a humorous silver lining in everything.
The bathrooms are spotless and practically always empty
Less women = less people using the bathroom. Simple math.
I love my privacy in the bathroom — don’t everyone? It’s hard to drop a deuce when there is someone chatting on their cell phone in the stall next door. When there aren’t many women in the office, the chances of getting a moment of privacy in the public bathroom are much higher — a highly underrated perk.
I guess it will wildly depend on where you work or study, but I have always had the luxury of a clean, private bathroom in my workplace. Although, I guess it is irrelevant now that I work from home.
Getting your friends into tech
Again, this will vary person to person, but I get so excited when one of my friends asks me a coding or tech question — especially web development or general infrastructure (Subnetworks, VMs, VPNs, proxies, etc). Customizing a tumbler page with HTML/CSS is the perfect “gateway drug” into tech.
I think a lot of people, women in particular, don’t get into tech because they think it is “too hard”. I really enjoy bridging the gap between “This is too hard, I can’t do it” and “This makes sense, I know what I need to do”.
I got way to excited when my little sister became frustrated with some massive Excel files and asked me if there was a way to automate what she was doing with code.
It is rewarding when others feel comfortable reaching out to you for help in a field they may have never touched before.
Experienced women in tech are fantastic mentors
I have been fortunate enough that every where I have worked, there have been several women in senior dev and upper leadership positions who are ecstatic to mentor new women in tech.
Many have been in the field since before #MeToo, the Uber scandal, and Leetcode. In my opinion, they had it much harder than I do now and there is so much I can learn from them.
To be frank, they are absolutely bad assed and fantastic resources.
Being a mentor yourself
Maybe it’s because I am still pretty young, but I am very honored when someone asks me to be a mentor or role model. Several times already, I have been asked by colleagues or family friends to talk to their daughters who are interested in studying CompSci. I like to reassure younger women that they aren’t alone in CompSci and it’s a really fun field to get into, regardless of the negativity they may read online.
You get to be the inspiration for the next generation of women in tech.
We’ve all been there: you have a question, you don’t know who to ask — so you turn to the internet.
I am a big fan of the Facebook and Reddit tech communities. Sure, sometimes the advice isn’t great — I accept that. What grinds my gears is when others turn your reasonable (or dumb) question into a joke instead of answering honestly.
If you search “Women in tech” (or similar) on Facebook or LinkedIn, you will find an incredible amount of supportive groups. In my experience, I have gotten great advice from these communities.
And hey, sometimes you just want to vent about #ladiesInTechProbs — that’s fine too.
So far these are my observations.
Am I missing something? Are there any perks you have come across in school or work?
Thank for reading :)