The world of Cisco and HP were entirely new to me, and I had never heard of a “switch” before (except for the kind that controls the lights). As I began my difficult journey of picking up this language, it quickly became clear to me why many women don’t even consider going into tech.
According to the Women’s Bureau, the 5 most common jobs women hold are:
Before we dig into why this is relevant to women in tech, I must clarify; these positions are wonderful and necessary!
Why are women far more likely to become a secretary than a software developer? Or to become a teacher than a network administrator?
A huge reason is because it can be incredibly intimidating to go into a field you know nothing about. When girls are young, they are exposed to the above positions, often being encouraged to play “teacher” or “house”. But when was the last time you heard a parent saying to their daughter “let’s build a robot”, “we should play video games”, or “want to take apart these electronics?” Boys are often encouraged to try these hands-on technical learning experiences, while girls are not necessarily invited to try these tasks. The lack of familiarity combined with an intimidating and competitive job arena discouraged women from venturing into the world of tech.
When we build an encouraging and safe environment for learning new concepts, women (and men) thrive. The fear of failing is lessened, and the desire to learn grows continually.
Summit hired me, knowing full well I didn’t have experience in technology (with the exception of my cell phone and computer). The environment feels safe, and I know I can ask the redundant questions needed in order to figure out how everything works. Our team has one another’s backs, helping to problem-solve, working together to meet the tech needs of our clients. While I still don’t completely understand the difference between WAN & LAN, I know that I can ask for help.
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