Empowering women in tech: Strategies for career advancement and leadership

By Polly Price, Principal Product Manager


Embarking on a career in the tech industry, I have navigated my way through various sectors — from HR and payroll and retail finance to working with the NHS and HMRC. The key to my success, I've found, lies in a combination of finding my passion, overcoming imposter syndrome, seizing every opportunity, setting ambitious goals, and aligning myself with companies that share my values. Here are the strategies that have empowered me, that I hope have a similar impact on other women in tech too.

1. Find your passion: Transferable skills open doors

In the tech world, it’s not just about technical skills. Soft skills – like teamwork and communication – are just as important for success. My journey from HR and payroll to various sectors taught me that problem-solving is a valuable skill that goes beyond a specific industry, and this is where my true passion lies. Identifying issues and delivering effective solutions became my forte, and this skill proved to be highly transferable.

Over the years, as I transitioned through different sectors, from retail and finance to the NHS, my passion and problem-solving skills became my constant companions in the successful delivery of products and services. Finding your passion and recognising the transferability of your skills is a powerful strategy for career advancement.

2. Overcoming imposter syndrome: Embrace the power of community

Imposter syndrome can be a formidable opponent, particularly for women in the tech industry. I've learned that acknowledging and talking about it with others is a powerful way to combat its effects. Investing in a supportive network, filled with individuals who can serve as cheerleaders during challenging times, is invaluable. Sharing experiences and realising that others have faced similar doubts can be a source of strength, helping women in tech push through self-doubt and achieve their full potential.

3. Seize every opportunity: Break free from self-imposed limitations

Women often hold themselves back from applying for job prospects, fearing they may not meet every criterion listed. I've learned that taking every opportunity that comes my way, even if it feels slightly out of reach, is a crucial step toward career advancement. Confidence grows through experience, and by embracing challenges head-on, women in tech can break free from self-imposed limitations and showcase their capabilities.

4. Set goals and ambitions: Fuel for growth and confidence

Setting clear goals and ambitions provides a roadmap for career progression. It not only fuels motivation but also offers a sense of achievement when milestones are reached. Reflecting on personal growth over the years allows for self-assessment and builds confidence. Whether it's acquiring new skills, taking on leadership roles, or making a positive impact within the organisation, having clear goals guides the journey toward success.

5. Fostering inclusivity and belonging: Choose a company aligned with your values

Working for a company that aligns with your ethos and values is essential for career satisfaction. As a working woman, especially one with family responsibilities, flexibility and understanding are crucial. Seek out employers that cultivate a culture of belonging and acceptance. A diverse workforce and leadership team that reflects representation ensures that everyone across the organisation feels equal and valued. This inclusivity not only creates a supportive environment but also contributes to a rich tapestry of ideas and perspectives.

6. Paving the way for a brighter and more inclusive future in tech

By implementing these strategies, women can not only advance their careers but also contribute to a more inclusive and diverse tech industry. As I've experienced firsthand, a fulfilling career in technology is not just about technical prowess; it's about embracing your passion, building a supportive network, and continuously striving for personal and professional growth.

This article first appeared in Shecancode.

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