REA Group Limited

12/02/2021 | News release | Distributed by Public on 12/02/2021 00:46

5 tips from 5 women in tech

Taking that next step to broaden your tech career or leaping into a new career in tech can be daunting. What you have to offer is unique to you and tech organisations are embracing diversification among their teams.

REA Group is a global digital business specialising in property and employs around 3,000 people across its many leading brands and businesses. With a focus on supporting women in tech, REA has genuinely shifted the dial on the gender ratio in its tech team moving from 20% female representation in 2017 to around 30% today, with the aim of reaching 50:50.

Five female tech leaders from REA share their top tip on how to overcome barriers and maximise a career in tech as a woman.

1. Back yourself and be open to new experiences

Start with yes and back yourself.

Stepping into the tech industry can be daunting, but try challenge your own self-doubt and start with yes. You are awesome and have what it takes to achieve what you desire - so back yourself and go for it.

It's easier said than done but without taking risks, we miss the opportunity expose ourselves to the potential of great experiences. Once you let go of the fear of uncertainty, you can take steps forward with a feeling of empowerment and control.

Priyanka Jagga. Quality Manager

2. Steps to take when someone says to work on your confidence

"She needs to be more confident"

I have been told this directly and have heard managers say this. But how do you build more confidence? What can managers, mentors and peers do to help women build confidence in their role? Firstly, it's important to recognise that feeling a level of self-doubt is ok and completely normal. Acknowledging this, and understanding your own triggers, will help you overcome it.

The advice I have been given over the years is to build and leverage my own knowledge and to tap into the two E's.

Exposure - Create moments that allow you to showcase your knowledge and expertise. People tend to always think about big moments like presentations but consider the smaller moments such as team WIPs. The more you expose yourself to these moments, the more confident you will be the next time.

Experience - You must ask questions; and then ask more questions. If you are hoping to enter a tech career you need to be passionate and energised to learn. The one constant in tech is change, and we are all learning together. I believe everyone has something to learn and everyone has something to teach. So, embrace the full tech experience - speak up, ask questions, challenge and make mistakes - that is all part of learning.

Kelli Dudley, Executive Manager, Engineering

3. Embrace Fear and Celebrate Failure

Have you ever been scared to try something because you are afraid to fail? Fear of failure is creeping into our daily work lives. This stops us from taking risks and sometimes failing, which in the end stops us learning and reaching our full potential.

In the workplace we face the fear of making the wrong decision but in doing so we end up making no decision at all. We fear deleting a piece of code but then in turn not refactoring it to make it better for others. We fear not applying for a role but then being unhappy in our current one.

What if you took a leap and tried something that you have been afraid to do? Would it be so bad if you failed? There would most definitely be learnings and imagine if you then shared that with others.

Have courage and be brave. Be the person that is not afraid to fail. And if you do, celebrate it (with cake of course), because the learnings that you take away and share with others will be invaluable! Create an "I Failed Club" and debunk the stigma that comes with failing. Rather, make it one of learning.

Nerine Erasmus, Senior Delivery Lead

4. Respect and embrace your unique past

A unique past can bring something special to a tech team and the products we build, and it should be embraced.

Your experience matters. What you have to say matters. Your unique experiences may have taught you a lot about human behaviour and problem solving for example and that is transferrable. We need these skills in tech too

Building teams that are reflective of the diversity among our customers and consumers is the smart thing to do. We need people with a broad range of ideas, styles, experiences, and lifestyles so we can build the best products. Sometimes, no one else is thinking what you are thinking, have your say and put it forward. It may feel uncomfortable at times, but we know this is where the magic happens. Being you is enough and valued.

Louise Alphonso, Executive Manager, Technology Community Programs

5. Find advocates

Often decisions are made about you in a room you're not in. Opportunities tend to be given to those that have someone at the table advocating on their behalf. Asking someone to fly the flag for me hasn't always been a huge strength of mine.

So, my advice would be to spend time developing connections outside the room so there's someone advocating for you inside the room when those moments happen.

Tap into your existing network and ask to be introduced to people across the business that you otherwise wouldn't have had exposure to. Ask to hear what they're working on and how they're approaching making decisions. Share what you're working on and the impact you're having. These conversations help build your presence and reputation.

Expanding your connections will lead to increased visibility of opportunities, more frequent career conversations, and people will recognise your transferrable skills.

If you can do this successfully, you will hopefully have cultivated a community of people who are ready at the right moment to say "Hey you know who would be so great for that opportunity…?"

Ali Wood, Senior D&I Specialist (Tech)