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Navigating the Male-Dominated Tech Industry

Feb. 27, 2023
Learn three strategies successful women in tech, telecom, and ICT employ.

Three Strategies. Two Success Stories.

Women in the tech industry experience a myriad of challenges. Advantis Global shares the exact stats surrounding those challenges. (See Figure 1.)

Thankfully, many women are becoming strong voices of authority; their presence is making an undeniable impact on the field while they work hard to advance gender equality.

Though it can be difficult to thrive in a male-dominated field, women leaders have figured out how to succeed. They use three simple strategies to create a meaningful presence within the world of tech.

  1. Cultivate meaningful relationships with female peers. Consider attending networking events specifically for women, joining a women's organization or collaborating with industry mentors from the tech world. These vital connections provide powerful support and motivation that help you remain focused on your career roadmap and strategies to navigate through it successfully.
  2. Capitalize on the important changes in diversity and inclusion across all industries—especially given the need for more women in STEM careers. Go beyond your comfort level and apply for leadership roles. Technology firms are increasingly aware of the need for equitable representation, making this the time for women to ensure their voices are heard through positions that wield influence.
  3. Share your ideas just as men share theirs. Women should feel empowered to boldly express their thoughts and ideas in a predominantly male-dominated industry. Not only will this help them make an impact as leaders, but it can also inspire other women to take the leap of faith into leadership roles.

Telling Stories

A good example of someone who leveraged these strategies is Kate Maxwell, Chief Technology Officer for Defense & Intelligence in Microsoft’s Worldwide Public Sector. Kate is an experienced and highly accomplished technology leader who has been providing support to Defense & Intelligence customers internationally for nearly two decades. She is also a renowned digital transformation influencer, innovator and passionate STEM promoter. Before joining Microsoft, she held several technical and engineering leadership posts in Raytheon Technologies such as Tech Director, Innovation Center Director, and Chief Engineer.

Kate is a remarkable figure among the community of tech leaders, earning WomenTech Network's recognition as one of 100 Women in Tech Leaders to Watch in 2022 and #40 on Technology Magazine’s global list for Top 100 Women in Tech. Her success also earned her an Indiana Business Journal (IBJ) Forty Under 40 distinction, Woman of Influence citation, and several Society of Women Engineers awards.

Kate advises to start a career in tech by investing in yourself, and work to build up your baseline technology skills.

"You might enroll in a coding bootcamp; find learn-to-code resources online; pursue a certification program; and/or enroll in a degree program for the technology path of your choosing. Also, keep in mind that there are non-technical skills that will serve you well when working in tech—skills like communications, time management, organization, collaboration, and problem-solving. Additionally, I highly recommend building a network for yourself in tech and engaging trusted individuals to serve as mentors for you. These mentors can help you fill skill gaps, provide candid feedback, act as a sounding board, and support you through your tech journey. More than anything else, keep after it! A career in tech is not always easy, but that’s the fun part, because you will always be learning and growing, and you will never be bored. This tech community needs YOU, and I can’t wait to see you here!" You can read the rest of her interview here.

Another shining example of a success story is Asha Keddy, Corporate VP, General Manager at Intel. For over two decades, Ms. Keddy has been a leading force in the wireless, mobile broadband, and computing industries. She is currently spearheading Intel's efforts to develop future products that involve combining communications, computing and AI technology as well as defining networks of the future for various applications like industrialization, enterprise, and consumer usage across multiple platforms. Moreover, she also represents Intel at several Industrial forums and standards such as IEEE & 3GPP with her prolific leadership qualities.

“Capitalize on the important changes in diversity and inclusion across all industries—especially given the need for more women in STEM careers. Go beyond your comfort level and apply for leadership roles.”

When she won a Women in Tech Global Award in 2021, she said, "I’m a big fan of the need to take risks as you develop your career. I do not want to share Mr. Frost’s regrets in The Road Not Taken—we should be taking risks to discover new things. And if that results in a setback, we need to be resilient enough to pick ourselves up and dust ourselves off to move forward once again. This is just as important in life as it is in business—perhaps more so!”

Women can become leaders in the tech industry by investing in themselves, building a strong network, taking risks, developing resilience and measuring their success with data-driven metrics. Women like Kate and Asha are great examples of women who use some proven strategies to succeed in the male-dominated tech industry.

About the Author

Joanna Webb | Independent Researcher and Consultant

Joanna Webb is a researcher and consultant focused on gender strategy and organizational development. With extensive experience in conducting research and providing recommendations for organizational change, Joanna has a deep understanding of the challenges and opportunities facing organizations in this area. She has worked with a variety of organizations to improve their gender diversity and inclusion practices and is passionate about using their expertise to help create more inclusive and equitable workplaces. To reach Joanna, email her at [email protected].