There’s Space for Everyone in Tech

This post was originally written for Fawcett Society as part of the UN International Day of Women and Girls in Science campaign.


The UN’s International Day of Women and Girls in Science is 11th February this year. The day draws attention to the significant gender gap which persists at all levels of STEM disciplines all over the world. Even though women have made tremendous progress towards increasing their participation in high education, they are still underrepresented in these fields. The UN’s International Day of Women and Girls in Science is 11th February this year. The day draws attention to the thinking that gap which persists at all levels of STEM disciplines all over You would. Even though women have made tremendous progress towards increasing their participation in high education, they are still underrepresented in these fields.

Our #ShakeUpSTEM advocate today is Temi Lasade-Anderson, a marketer in the tech industry. She tweets at @temilasade.

If you Google ‘tech employee,’ you would be forgiven for thinking that that working in tech requires you to be both white and male. You would also think that being someone who works in tech requires you to stare at screens with lines of code. 

The Google image search results aren’t wrong, per se — white men are the majority of tech employees. But the search results do not represent what you must look like to belong in tech. The images are exclusionary. They represent an old-fashioned view of what it means to work in tech. One where white, male developers are the default. 

Please listen when I say: this is changing. 

I work in tech. I’m black, a woman, and I’m not a developer — I’m a marketer. I don’t have a Computer Science, Engineering, Science or Math degree. I graduated with a Bachelor of Arts, Honours in English Literature and Language. During university, I explored my fascination with the Internet by working as a Social Media Manager for my university while I was a student, back before “social media marketing” was a recognised marketing tactic. After university, I spent the first five years of my career working at digital advertising agencies, leading digital marketing campaigns for companies like eBay, Google, The Financial Times, Stella Artois, Maclaren and many more. 

I left the agency world in 2015 and decided to freelance while working remotely. This is how I became more embedded in the startup ecosystem. I worked alongside entrepreneurs who were launching new products and features. Then, I worked for Mozilla as a marketing specialist. Here I got an inside view of what it meant to work at a major software company. Now, I contract at software companies as a senior marketer, Ieading teams and writing marketing strategies that achieve business objectives. I ended up in tech because I have an aptitude for marketing and I’m passionate about the intersection of the Internet and society. 

There’s space for everyone in tech. 

Deciding what you’re going to do after school is scary and stressful. At 29, I’m *still* changing and figuring out how I want to use my skills myself. Here a few tips that can help you identify what you want to do. 

1) It’s never too early to start ⏳ 

The Internet is weird and wonderful and useful. You can learn pretty much anything on the Web. There are plenty of free coding camps for girlsonline, and even theV&A provides resources

2) Fight the fear and do it anyway 🙈 

Fear is real. Fear of the unknown is more real. Fear of our own perceived inability is the realist. Try to ignore the voice in your head that tells you that you “can’t.” So you’re an art student and you think you might want to code? Or, you excel at science, but have a burning desire to design fonts? Go for it. The only limitations are the ones we put on ourselves. It also helps if you find like minded people. Product Hunt is a great community for makers in tech of all ages and backgrounds, and so is Women Make, a Telegram group for women in tech. 

3) Just Do It ✔️ 

One of the best ways of determining what you find interesting or what you’re good at is by doing. If you have an idea for an app, a website, a community or a product – make it! There are so many tools to help you create without code. Remember; it doesn’t have to be perfect. Do it alone or with friends. Look at The Trill Project for inspiration of friends coming together to build something. Five highschool girls from the US made an anonymous social media network for mental health. They built a community where their peers can be honest about their feelings in way that makes them still feel safe. That could be you.

4) Find your #WCW 😍👩🏾‍💻👯‍♀ 

I wish I had someone to aspire to that also looked like me when I was younger. Thankfully, the tech world is becoming more diverse 🙌🏾; so,find someone who interests you and research them! Read up about their backstory. It’s likely they didn’t have it all figured out in the beginning, either. Representation is important because it shows us what is possible. 

The International Day of Women and Science is the United Nations aim of increasing the number of women in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) disciplines worldwide. Hopefully, my story shows you that even if you have a non-traditional route into tech, there’s space for you here.

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