As a woman in tech, it can be tough to feel like you belong in a male-dominated industry. You might feel like you don't have the necessary skills or knowledge to succeed, despite evidence to the contrary. This is commonly known as imposter syndrome, and it can hold you back from achieving your goals and have a negative impact on your mental health. However, there are some strategies you can try to overcome imposter syndrome and thrive in your career.
One of the biggest factors contributing to imposter syndrome in women in tech is the gender gap that still exists within many tech companies. According to a report by the World Bank from 2020, only 26 percent of workers in data and artificial intelligence, 15 percent of workers in engineering, and 12 percent of workers in cloud computing, are women. This lack of representation can be challenging for women to feel like they belong in the industry which can result in feelings of inadequacy. Consequently, women are less inclined than men to pursue careers in STEM, and once employed, they are more likely to exit the field due to the challenges they face in the industry (The World Bank, 2020).
So, what can women in tech do to overcome imposter syndrome and succeed in their careers? Here are some strategies to consider:
1. Recognize your accomplishments: It's easy to focus on your shortcomings and downplay your achievements. However, it's essential to recognize your accomplishments and give yourself credit for the work you've done. Keep a running list of your successes and refer to it when you're feeling like an imposter.
2. Seek out support: Having a support system can make a big difference when it comes to overcoming imposter syndrome. Reach out to colleagues, mentors, or friends who can offer encouragement and support. Consider joining a women's tech group or attending networking events to connect with other women in the industry.
3. Remember, everybody makes mistakes: It's essential to be kind to yourself. Whenever you make mistakes, acknowledge that it is a common human experience and presents an opportunity for learning and growth. Therefore, avoid being too harsh on yourself when things do not go according to plan.
4. Rethink your negative thoughts: When negative thoughts start to creep in, challenge them. Ask yourself if they're based on facts or if they're just assumptions. Often, our negative thoughts are based on assumptions that aren't true. By challenging these thoughts, you can start to see things more objectively.
5. Keep growing: Expanding your skills and learning new things an be an effective approach to overcoming imposter syndrome. Consider taking a class or workshop or obtaining additional certifications to enhance your skill set. As you learn, your confidence in your abilities is likely to grow. However, be careful not to overburden yourself. Remember that excessive pressure can worsen the problem rather than alleviate it.
Incorporating these techniques might help you conquer imposter syndrome and flourish as a woman in the technology sector. Remember that you have a place in the industry, and your skills and contributions are valuable. Although gender gaps persist in the tech industry, perseverance and determination can make a significant difference, leading to your success and positive impact.
The World Bank, 2020, The Equality Equation - Advancing the participation of women and girls in STEM