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Women in IT

By EMJ ·
This is more a discussion of the inclinations of women with regard to careers in IT. It seems like there are more women in the training side of IT than in the networking or hardware end, and I am curious to know what the women who are on TechRepublic do in IT. I have been in IT support and training for over 10 years, I started out as a receptionist then a secretary, and then things just evolved from there. I am now getting more involved with networking by way of being the only technical person in my location. I am not certain where I want to go with my career, and feel as if I take the same types of positions only in different companies. I am well-liked and respected, but I don't feel challenged enough. Another stumbling block is that I don't have a college-degree (which has never prevented me from attaining a staff position in an Ivy-league school) but I do feel it's an issue when I am looking for a new job. I am 36 and would like to start a discussion with other women in the IT field so that maybe we could support one another in our endeavors, and get ideas about careers for women in IT. I'd love to hear about your experiences, positive and negative, while pursuing your careers. Thanks!

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Alternative feedback

by generalist In reply to Women in IT

Would feedback from men be acceptable?

Some of the issues you mentioned apply equally to both women and men.

For example, the lack of a college-degree is something that has been discussed in several other areas. And I think I've seen a few discussions concerning career paths and not feeling challenged enough at your current position.

There might even be some side benefits from the discussions in terms of professional networking.

But it is your call...

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Well... (txt)

by Ruwon In reply to Women in IT

Well I am not a women but I have noticed that this field, Like most other technical fields, is sadly devoid of female participation. You could probably trace it back to the "I'm in school and I'm not expected to excel in the math and sciences because I'm a girl." Personally I think it would be great to have more women in the field. You seem to have different ways of thinking of things and different points of view. Anyone who has ever troubleshooted hardware or network problems will tell youthat half the time the guy who looks at it a different way figures it out in a few seconds after the other guy has worked on it for a week. Either way I'm all for you. Also if you are worried about not having a college degree. There is not a single person in my current department with a college or university degree. Experiance is the key, not that shiny paper. Find a way to prove you have the experiance and you are set.

Thanks,
Thomas Solway

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Women in IT

by ffffffffff In reply to Women in IT

HI, Myself am male also and 37. Personally I do not have a degree also on account on having a Learning Disability. But what I do not have I make up for by having extensive experience in the IT sector. Currentlly I do volunteer work for a small computer firm called Orbital Computer Services based in Cleveland, TN. The emphasis is on Certification and Experience. Even though we do reguire Educational History on resumes we focus more on Experience/Skills and Certifications. We are currently looking to recruit IT female individuals.

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Please Ignore This Person...

by Packratt In reply to Women in IT

This person has been using other people's email addresses and has been using that false information to send harrassing peer messages. Please ignore this individual and do not reply or use his listed email addresses.

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I am one...

by 1stladytech In reply to Women in IT

I am surprised that this post did not receive more activity. I am a 37 year old woman that has been running a successful computer repair/system build/network admin and support/whatever you need company for about 14+ years now. It has not always been easy, but it has had rewards over the years. I am self-taught, but I do have a degree (Psycology)and a military background (Quartermaster with a fuel specialty) I think it is more important to really know and enjoy what you do than to have the paper on the wall. I will hire a tech that has some hardware experience before I would hire a "paper tech" that has a cert from a school and tells me that they have built their own computer once. I not only run the company, but I am also head tech. I have 3 men who work for me also, a tech and 2 MSCE's on staff, one with hardware background and one without. What is interesting to me in this field is that the older men want me to work on their computers while the middle management females always want one of the guys. Not what I expected. Hardware is only one area of this arena, but being female really makes me stick out in the crowd.

If you want to pursuit a career in this area, just do what you enjoy and don't let the little people tell you that you can't. I have met many men and women over the years that were great at their jobs, and many that weren't ... I really don't think that gender has much to do with it.

I know that I really can't relate to getting a job in another company, I have only worked for myself in this industry. I'm not sure that I would know how to interview for a position with an outside firm, haven't been on the receiving end of that one in awhile! I would like to hear from more women IT people also. How do you juggle family (I have 2 small boys), work, study time and all the other things that go with the IT area?

Vickie

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This is actually odd.....

by Deborah Crane In reply to Women in IT

I have been working in IT for 20 years and see dozens of women in the field. Maybe you are in a niche that is dominated by men. But, in the application development arena my guess would be that it?s at least 50 / 50 and possibly more female. Also,there tends to be many IT business analysts who are female. I have an associates degree in programming and a bachelors degree in MIS. One of the reasons I chose this career path, 20 years ago, was statistics that indicted pay for women in the IT field is more equitable than many other fields.

After saying all of that, I will add that I have been in many a meeting where we were hammering out a heavy duty technical problem and most of the players were male, but I was the one leading the meeting. And I understood all of the issues on the table. Did I know everything to solve the issues? Not necessarily, but I did not need to know that level of detail. I was there to make sure the appropriate people solved the problem.

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I am Woman and I Do Hardware!

by ccourtney In reply to This is actually odd.....

I can spend just as much time at Sears in the shoe department as in the Craftman tools department. I've been a hardware technician for 20 years, and I love it! I'm almost always the only female tech. I've experienced every scenerio from the old printshop manager who didn't want a girl to work on his system (I had it up and running within the hour!), to the old newspaper printshop crew who lined up along a glass walled computer room to watch me work, to the guy from Oklahoma who kept repeating in a deep southern drawl, "You mean to tell me, if I call to have my computer repaired, you'll send her?" Of course, it never hurt to have a nice pair of legs to get me in the door!

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Here's my input

by mlayton In reply to Women in IT

I am a woman in the field of IT for about 10 years. I started out much like you, an admin assistant who was not afraid of the computer and ended up managing a LAN. Since then, I did get my MS in Computing Management and have made a concerted effort to enhance my skills with advanced training every chance I get. I have run into the same thing: few women in the field - women average about 10% in most professional meetings I am at. It depends on how far you want to go as to the answer on advanced degrees. I find mine gives me additional credibility in business management and government work, outside the world of dot-coms and companies that are start-ups. The one thing I can say is that professional organizations, such as WITI (Women inTechnology International) or similar are a great support to us, and I recommend any women in the industry to look into chapters in their own areas.

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Old avionics, new computers!

by WorkinOnIt! In reply to Women in IT

I actually started in Avionics (9 years), but I got tired of working on autopilot amplifiers that were filled with electron tubes, so I switched to computer hardware about six years ago. Along the way I have learned networking, server support and administration, and have taught some hardware classes, but mainly I am a hardware technician.

I just turned 36 today, have no degree and only one cert (Novell 3.12). I am usually the only female in my department, and the guys treat me as an equal. Customers reactions range from "I REALLY appreciate your appearance!" to "Are you sure you know what you're doing?" but some of the guys get that, too. Since I have worked component level electronics, I usually get the monitor repairs that the guys seem to be afraid of.

The downside is, I get paid in peanuts. I have started going to night school and I will graduate with a BS in Info Tech this May. I do a lot of self study for my certs, 'cause schools are way too proud of their courses and I can't afford them, but I can't afford to test for the certs right now, either. So the certs will have to wait.

I don't have much software training, though, and I think that is hurting me as far as job searches. I recently learned how to make a Powerpoint presentation (for one of my classes). I also learned how to create an Oracle database and develop a form for it so you can input data into the database (also for a class) but I would never presume to be competent enough to take on Oracle Programming as a job. When you look at jobs online and they say "experience generating Chrystal Reports" or "SQL Server experience a must" I know I'm pretty much screwed. I, too, end up with the same job everywhere I go.

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