While Women’s History Month commemorates women’s contributions to history, the designation is so much more than that. Women’s History Month also recognizes women’s contributions to contemporary culture and society.
And we have a lot to celebrate!
In this blog, I’d like to take a new look at an issue I hold near and dear to my heart—women in technology. Back in 2020, I wrote the blog, How Dev10 Helps Meet Diversity Goals for Hiring Women in Tech. This time, I’d like to share some sobering research I’ve come across as well as the experiences of some amazing women who have recently launched careers in technology with Dev10. One of these women, Smita Allerson, just participated in an online discussion hosted by Austin Urban Technology Movement alongside my colleagues Stephanie Navas and Eddie Brock. The other women are featured on our Dev10 Then & Now profiles page. Watch the AUTMNHQ video:
Help Wanted: More Women for Tech Roles
According to data collected by Statista, as of June 2021, women made up about 47% of the US workforce. However, in top technology companies like Amazon, Facebook, Apple, Google, and Microsoft, the percentage of female employees ranged from 29% to 45%. The number of women in technical positions at these companies was even lower. On average, women occupied fewer than one in four technical positions (23% to 25%) at these companies. The figures are based on a study conducted by Ipsos and Tech Talent Charter on behalf of WeAreTechWomen.
While the study looks at just one industry sector, women are largely underrepresented in tech and face many obstacles when pursuing a career in the field. According to data presented by Atlas VPN, 52% of women believe their gender is limiting their career in tech, and one-fifth of women are thinking about leaving their current position.
This is not good news for the profession. My previous blog outlined compelling reasons for increasing women in tech. Among them, diversity generates more revenue, women think differently, and we need more female role models.
A recent McKinsey report, Women in the Workplace 2021, coauthored with LeanIn.org, finds a pronounced gender gap for women in technical roles, with only 52 women being promoted to manager for every 100 men. Not only is diversity especially crucial in these roles to help debias the technologies that make up modern life, but also McKinsey research shows the strong relationship between diversity on leadership teams and the likelihood of financial outperformance for companies. The most gender-diverse companies are 48% more likely to outperform the least gender-diverse companies.
Setting out to better understand how to bridge the gender gap, McKinsey and Girls in Tech conducted nearly 40 interviews with early-tenure individuals in technical roles and with the leaders and supervisors who oversee promotions, among others. What they learned is that companies that institute a systematic approach to advancing women in technical roles are reaping the benefits of a more diverse, inclusive, and higher-performing workforce. The approach includes:
Provide equitable access to skill building,
Implement a structured process that seeks to debias promotions, and
Build a strong culture of support for women via mentors (who can provide encouragement and empathy, as well as help women work toward goals and address challenges or obstacles) and sponsors.
Recruiting and deploying locally, Dev10 immerses local, high-aptitude college graduates and new professionals in a three-month technology training program, providing them the skills needed to excel as Dev10 Associates. Once they complete their training, we place the Dev10 Associates in Software Developer and Data Professional roles with our clients in banking and financial services, manufacturing, healthcare, and retail industries and provide mentoring and training for two years. By hiring from a broad set of educational backgrounds rather than solely recruiting college grads from comp sci degrees, Dev10 dramatically increases the diversity of our candidate slate. Women, for instance, make up 35% of our Dev10 Associates. That’s 60% more than industry average.
Graduating with a dual major—political science and theology—from St. Olaf College in 2016, Smita was working in Admissions at St. Catherine University. Realizing that she might be on a career path that wasn’t right for her, she did some research. She reached out to a fellow alumnus who also had a theology degree and made the switch to software development—by way of Dev10. Impressed with what she learned, she took a Udemy course in web development and liked it. She applied to Dev10 and got in. Now Smita is working as a Software Development Consultant for a financial services company in the Twin Cities. Of the move, she says: “It worked out for me!” Her advice to others interested in Dev10: “Don’t be scared about going through the process, or not feeling qualified. As a political science major, I definitely felt that way.”
Equally amazing women working as Dev10 Consultants are Calli, AyDy, Kate, Deni and Jackie, among others. Calli and AyDy both graduated from St. Catherine’s and both are working as Software Engineers with a biotech firm in the Twin Cities, but their stories are entirely different.
|Calli was fresh out of college when she joined Dev10|
|AyDy was a nurse for 15 years|
|Kate’s degree is in neuroscience; now she’s testing code for Point of Sale systems for a retail giant.|
|Deni taught English before finding Dev10. Now she designs test cases for webpages.|
|Jackie is an Automation Engineer at a tech company near Dallas. “I’m really glad I got into the program,” she says. “Dev10 prepared me for absolutely everything.”|
All are amazing women. Please join me in celebrating their contributions to society and wishing them all the best as they embark on--and grow--their careers in technology.