Despite the stereotype of the all-male tech industry, women are enjoying amazing careers there too, working as software developers, web developers, security experts, tech company leaders, and more. If you’re struggling to find a new (or first) career path, don’t overlook this one. Women in tech make great money, routinely express themselves creatively, and often get to set their own schedules.
Software development, in particular, offers many rewards and benefits, including those mentioned above. Women like Allie Shaw of Adobe and Iris Nevins at Mailchimp have paved the way for others to follow. Naturally, there can be drawbacks as in any career. However, you should consider the benefits below before dismissing this potentially rewarding career.
No Degree Needed
The tech industry, including software development, is experiencing a talent shortage, partially because companies in every industry are bringing in more technology to support their efforts. Because of that, many companies hiring within it don’t require a specific degree. Instead, they require in-depth coding knowledge, which can be self-taught or learned through non-traditional sources.
For example, Allie Shaw learned how to code on her own and through a special Adobe training course. So, if you have a liberal arts or other non-technical degree, are unable to afford college, or simply don’t want to spend four years of your life within the higher education environment, you may still qualify for many software development positions.
Technology occupations are projected to grow 12 percent between now and 2028, much faster than the average occupation. This means your career as a software developer could go in many different directions. You could end up leading a team of other developers, becoming involved with another part of a technology company such as research and development, marketing, or sales, or launching your own startup.
You can even take a shot at a leadership position. While often minimized, women’s leadership skills are as good as, if not better than, men’s in terms of things like initiative, resilience, and integrity. Even if you want to stay on as a developer, you’ll be an asset to any company, as women-dominated teams are known to excel at communication, collaboration, and quality of work.
Depending on experience and location, software developers typically make between $60K and $120K per year. The same is true for related job titles, such as software engineer, specific language (such as Java) developers, web developers, or application developers. Senior software developers can make even more.
Common benefits include medical, dental, and vision insurance. Depending on the company you work for as a software developer, you might also be able to negotiate for training, education, or company equity or stock. Many tech companies also offer things like onsite exercise classes, free meals or snacks, and other sought-after perks.
Software development doesn’t have to be done at a certain time or at a certain location to be effective. That means you can have a successful career without moving to Silicon Valley and without working a standard nine-to-five schedule if you have other responsibilities or interests that take up your time during the day.
The direction of your career path is also flexible. You may decide to excel in a particular language or skill, or within web development, mobile, or gaming. In a field as multi-faceted as software development, there are a wide variety of options from which to choose.
There are many ways to be creative at work and software development is one of them. Not only do you have the opportunity to express yourself through the design and implementation of specific assignments. You also have a chance to find innovative ways to solve problems with tasks, teams, clients, market, and product promotion.
Again, no specific degree is needed to develop strength in these areas. The skills can be self-taught, learned through training programs, or gleaned through on-the-job experience.
As a woman in software development, you pave the way for others to follow. Just being in the field makes you an example to follow. But, if you want to, you can be more proactive about coaching other women in a mentoring relationship. This has been shown to lead to greater career success for both mentors and mentees, as well as companies that support such connections.
Additional ways to support other women in software development include contributing to online forums, championing women’s needs with industry leaders, participating in programs for young women to learn coding, and hiring women as part of your team.
While the disproportionate number of men versus women in software development may deter some women from trying to get into this field, there are many great reasons to at least consider it. If you’re smart, a quick learner, and interested in making a significant contribution within a booming industry, software development might just be the right career for you.