5 Tips To Help Women Progress In Their Tech Careers

And why retaining diverse tech talent is just as important as attaining it


3/18/20244 min read

how to progress in your tech career
how to progress in your tech career

In my previous post (read here!), we saw that women make up only 26% of the tech workforce. However, the statistics are shocking when looking at senior roles. Just 10.9% of those holding CEO or senior leadership roles are women ref. Companies are realising that there’s a gender imbalance within the tech space, and are making an effort to recruit diverse tech talent, but one pivotal thing is neglected - retaining tech talent. How does a company alter its culture to consider the needs and wants of women? How can women enter these spaces without the need to talk about football or go golfing just to build rapport with potential senior sponsors? How can we build an environment where female talent feels like they belong and can progress? Unfortunately, I do not have all the answers [ trust me, I am working on it]. In the meantime, I have knowledge I want to share regarding a few tips women can use to progress in their technical careers. I have recently been reading the book ‘She Engineering’ which provided some insightful tips for women to progress in their engineering careers. Get out your notebooks and pens as it's going to be a good one!

1. Stop Saying Sorry 😔

This habit of over-apologising is often observed more in women. Apologise sincerely and selectively. Overusing apologies can convey low confidence and a sense of burden or negativity. Instead of constantly apologising, express your needs directly. Rather than saying sorry for bothering someone, state that you have something to discuss and request a few minutes of their time. Similarly, if you need someone to move out of your way, there's no need for an apology—simply communicate your need. When asking questions, aim to clarify rather than apologise for not knowing. Express yourself confidently without resorting to unnecessary apologies.

2. Find Your Voice 🗣️

A statistic that blew me away from the book is that a study of male CEOs showed that a 1% decrease in voice pitch was linked to a $30 million increase in his company size. Women TEND to have higher-pitched voices, meaning studies like these don’t look too good for them. Now I am not telling you to go around mimicking a man’s voice, but I am saying to work on strengthening your voice. Be mindful of your voice - record it and play it back (I know we all hate listening back to our own voices but I promise you, it’s needed). Slow down and let every word you speak be deliberate. Listen to other voices you like and make note of what stands out to you. For me, it’s of course Beyonce’s. She’s introverted but her talking voice is still powerful and demands the room. We tend to increase our pitch when we are unsure of something - be mindful of this and maintain a strong and steady pitch.

3. Find a Female Mentor 👥

I have a question for you, how many red cars have you seen today? OK, now how many red cars would you be able to spot if I told you I would pay £50 for every one you see? Your number for the latter is probably much higher. This highlights the need to change your perception to validate your goals. When you are in an environment that is a constant reminder that people who look like you don’t make it to these senior positions, it can be draining. Our attention is geared to this version of reality. However, regular contact and fellowship with senior women makes visualising yourself progressing through the ranks clearer. When I say mentorship, people get the idea that you need to message that person and set up regular check-ins where they give you information etc. I don’t necessarily mean mentorship in the formal sense. The great thing about this modern world is that personal branding and sharing journeys have become the norm, you can get ‘mentored’ by this senior person by just reading through their social media posts, LinkedIn bio, reading their blog, listening to their podcasts, reading their books, watching their speeches etc. I have a list of some of my digital mentors here.

4. Make Feedback a Priority 📣

If you work in tech, you may be familiar with the agile framework. This is heavily based on getting continual feedback - feedback that will not only improve the product, but also improve the agile process as a whole. So what does this mean for women? Women are less likely to have informal male sponsors. Some males find it uncomfortable. Some think a woman is too sensitive to handle feedback. This is what can lead to lower progression levels. So you need to be a bit more intentional with it. Set grounds with your manager and make them aware that feedback is very important to you. Give them opportunities to provide feedback naturally and on a regular basis. e.g. instead of setting a formal meeting to track your progress, at the end of every presentation, casually throw in a 'so what did you think of that?'.

5. Set Goals That are a Journey That Everyone Can Come On 🛣️

People take the word ‘personal’ in ‘personal goals’ too far. What incentive is there for someone to get you to your own goal? By setting goals that bring other people on the journey with you, you have them invested in the goal too and thus more likely to support you in achieving it and also more likely to recognise the achievement once reached. Find things that will not only develop you but will cause team development. Look for things that your team is struggling with and become the solution.

To all my women in tech, I know it is hard, but I see you and I am rooting for you,

For more info and tips, I’d 100% recommend reading this book.

Don’t forget to send this to any woman (in or out of the tech space) who is looking to progress their career.

See you all at the top,


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