What we talk about when we talk about tech jobs.

I stopped reading main stream news articles about the lack of women in technology. I care deeply about the gender gap in tech, but I don’t need to read the article to know what they’ll report. Lots of women go to college, not enough get computer science degrees, even fewer get jobs and stick with programming or development after they graduate.  I’m a woman in tech, and none of that is my story. Let’s talk more about all of us without a CS degree. Let’s talk about the jobs that aren’t programming or development.

Working in tech puts you in a position for high-salary, great benefits and access to further opportunity.  I want more women to do it.  However, the stereotypical tech employee, as depicted in main stream television and film, is a young male developer with a CS degree. (Ok, sometimes you get the male dev who dropped out – Zuckerberg, Gates, Jobs – but how many of us can honestly relate to them?)  Tech jobs aren’t limited to developers, CS degrees or men. The media isn’t addressing the large number folks like myself that don’t get paid to develop, yet still reap the benefits of a job in technology.

There’s a huge demand for application development, and for that reason I’m thankful for efforts to teach programming and computer science to girls. The stronger the demand for application development, the more opportunity exists for these surrounding roles in tech. In addition to developers, tech companies need:

  • Design (Web, Graphic Designers, UX engineers)
  • Infrastructure (Data centers, Networks, Systems)
  • Database Administrators (DBAs)
  • Testing (Quality Assurance)
  • Project and Product Management
  • People to answer and resolve your questions and issues (Customer Service and Support, Community Management)
  • Documentation (Technical Writers)
  • Data analysis (Business Analyst, Data Scientists)
  • Sales and Marketing to ensure longevity or the application
  • HR
  • IT (Helpdesk)
  • Administrative assistance, office management…
  • The list goes on….believe me

This is the story that needs to be told. We need more examples of technology jobs and more diverse role models for women who have not yet stepped in to this industry.  Women need to know where to aim before taking the leap in to the mostly unknown. My ego wants you to understand how much impact I have on technology empowering free-speech around the world, without being a developer. I want to tell you what I do so I can encourage you to do this, too. I’d like for you to know that the doors are still open to you.

Technology is created and supported by folks from all sorts of backgrounds. I encourage anyone to consider working in tech regardless of experience, talents or background. The more broadly we talk about all tech jobs, the better chance we have of recruiting a more diverse group. Technology companies will benefit from this diversity. We will better meet the needs of our users when we are made up by those we serve.

This Sunday I’ll be discussing this topic along with other women on the panel “Tech jobs you never knew you wanted”. Come say hi to us at GeekGirlCon!