Busting the biases: Four misconceptions women have about the IT industry

IT is a booming industry, and the demand for IT specialists keeps increasing. The technology and science of today enable us to answer tomorrow’s questions. But this requires a healthy dose of creativity, empathy, and curiosity. Don’t you agree that these sound like typical female characteristics? And yet, the tech sector remains a man’s world. This blog will discuss life as a female IT professional and the four misconceptions women have about the IT industry.

Life as a female IT specialist

Although I’m a rookie in this industry and just started learning terminology, my parents studied computer science. Therefore, it’s not an unknown subject to me. In the past, whenever people would ask me what my parents did for a living, I answered, “something in IT.” Now, I know that it has quite an extensive scope, and there’s more to it than just “IT.” Different areas, knowledge, as well as specialisms.

My mother worked in the IT sector 40 years ago, which was rare in a man’s world. She would involve me in her career and encourage me to enter IT. However, I never weighed this possibility because I always thought I would have to complete a challenging course or study. The preconceptions about IT scared me and made me believe I could never specialise in it. To break out of this cycle, I decided to investigate and dispel prejudices and fully immersed myself in IT.

Curious about what discourages women from a career in IT? Keep reading.

Four misconceptions women have about the IT industry:

#1 – IT doesn’t have space for creativity
Strong analytical skills and attention to detail are essential. Funny enough, this only happens with innovation and imagination. Better yet, building new software, solving database problems, or fixing network issues also demands a lot of creativity.

#2 – You must build apps and websites
IT goes far beyond building websites and creating applications. It’s a real shortcoming for IT professionals. Other abilities that belong to the IT sector are cyber security, cloud, network management, and project management. People often expect you to be able to do everything as an IT professional. From programming to coding. Of course, it’s helpful to understand how things are put together and work. But IT is so broad that there is something for everyone.

#3 – An academic degree in computer science is a must
Even though many companies still consider education necessary. It’s optional. Back in 2019, LinkedIn published research in which it was found that 77% of hirers agree that the applicants’ skills or competencies are more important than their college degree. Therefore, it’s encouraged to follow more courses and pick up projects.

#4 – Only men work in the IT industry
The number of female IT professionals is constantly increasing. Since 2013, the number of women working in IT has increased by more than 80%. Especially in 2018 and 2019, many female IT specialists entered this profession. The growth continues, but there is still work to do. Gender equality is far from perfect. This year, the male-female ratio is around 85% versus 15%. As more young women study technology-related subjects, the number of women in the IT industry will also increase.
Fun fact: female IT professionals are generally more educated than male IT professionals.

The rise of women in tech

Diving into this subject, I understand why fewer women deliberately choose to work in IT. Today, we must select the industry we want to work in at a young age. Unfortunately, very few girls dream of a career in technology. As a woman working in the IT sector, I notice more women entering IT. Still not enough to balance the number of female and male IT professionals, but it’s a step.

Making a change

What we need are female role models. Every child knows what a doctor, baker, or firefighter is and does. In contrast, the software engineer’s tasks are still unknown to them. They would tell you it’s a man’s job at most. Female role models can step up to raise awareness of women in IT. They could also help men in the same industry enhance their skills by explaining how to use creativity and curiosity in programming or devising future solutions.

Are you more likely to explore the IT industry now? We would love to hear your thoughts. If you’re looking for a new challenge within the IT sector or have any questions… Check out our vacancies, sign up as a freelancer, or shoot us a message.