If you’re a woman who wants to pursue a career in software development, you may face certain challenges. You might get paid less than men, told what to wear and how to behave, feel isolated, and have your career end as the result of leaving a job to raise a family.
You should consider these drawbacks carefully. But, given the growth expected in this field over the next few years, you should also consider the many potential benefits, such as being at the forefront of new technology, expressing your talents, and getting paid well. Here’s a look at some of the benefits and positive challenges of a software development career.
According to a recent study, women are better at software development than men, though this result only becomes clear when gender differences are masked. While not an encouraging sign for women who must work in the real world, the result reflects the fact that women should never doubt their talent in this field.
Women looking to get into software development have plenty of role models, including Visual Studio contributor Julia Liuson, high-tech star Natalia Burina, and former Yahoo! CEO and early female engineer at Google Marissa Mayer.
Software development can be a great field if you have a creative streak. The profession involves seamlessly putting many components into code, including client requirements, market demands, and language limitations. Figuring out how to do it takes a combination of smarts and intuition to arrive at the best solution.
This kind of expertise can stem from rigorous education or be self-taught. Because of the high demand for software developers, more employers are no longer requiring specific degrees. With the many online resources available, you can teach yourself many of the necessary skills to excel in this field.
Because software developers are in such great demand, companies that hire them are willing to meet you halfway in terms of when and how you work. For example, you don’t need to move to Silicon Valley to work for a major tech firm. Instead, you could work from home and be just as valuable an asset as if you were sitting at HQ.
This location flexibility can be combined with reduced time constraints. You don’t need to be in your chair from 9 to 5 every day to meet the software development needs of your employer or clients. That means that if you’re a parent or have other obligations or interests, you can complete your work during off-hours, such as at night after the kids are in bed.
You also have many options in terms of a career path. You can choose to specialize in a particular language or skill, assume management responsibilities, or build your own coding firm. In such a diverse and ever-changing field, the possibilities are nearly limitless.
Leadership and Teamwork
With leadership and teamwork potential, you have the chance to set and achieve goals that offer welcome professional challenges. Women’s leadership skills equal and often exceed men’s in categories like taking initiative, acting with resilience, practicing self-development, driving for results, and displaying high integrity. Additionally, women’s leadership skills tend to grow over time.
Furthermore, companies benefit from having women in leadership positions, with studies showing an increase in profitability associated with an increase in the percentage of women leaders within a company. Thus, the very companies that tend to lack gender diversity, such as many tech companies, could benefit from it.
Women are also great assets to teams they don’t lead. While studies show they may not always be recognized for their work on teams, especially on teams of mostly men, women have much to offer. Women-dominated teams have the potential to reflect better collaboration, more effective communication, higher standards, and higher quality work.
When you mentor others, you give them a lifeline in a situation in which they may feel as though they’re drowning. For both mentors and mentees, mentoring has been shown to lead to greater career success, including promotions and increased opportunities. Companies that embrace mentoring are more successful as well.
As you succeed in your software development career, you have the potential to serve as a role model and mentor to other women entering it. Whether by participating in online communities, pushing for pay parity, taking a younger colleague under your wing, hiring more women as a software development manager, or other actions, you have an opportunity to make a mark.
Women have been a part of the tech industry since its inception, engaged as programmers in the field’s early stages. Their involvement was reduced not because women suddenly became bad at their jobs but because the computer culture that developed in later decades was seen as a “guy thing.” Women may face challenges that men don’t when engaging in a software development career, but the many benefits may offset and even far outweigh those problems.