Hey! It’s Caro – half of N & C Talk Tech.
Today is the International Day for Women and Girls in STEM (Science/Tech/Engineering/Math), so I’ve written a post about my experience as a woman entering into the world of tech.
I will also share some of my favourite female tech influencers, and some great resources if you’re looking to learn more about tech, participate in the community or build new skills. So keep reading!
Less than 6 months ago, Nick and I started an Instagram (and then this blog!) all about technology. He has a lot of knowledge about tech trends and products, and I love writing. So, we decided to merge our passions and use Instagram as a creative outlet. Little did I know how much this creative experiment would change the way I see the world.
At first, I always asked Nick for topics to post about. We followed a lot of male tech influencers reviewing new iPhones or the latest smartphone cameras. I felt generally apathetic about our “niche”, but motivated by the thrill of gaining a small Instagram following.
And honestly, I had always thought of myself as “artsy” or more of a “words person”. So, I had never pursued any STEM-related jobs or interests before this.
(One of my biggest learnings: don’t box yourself into categories like “words person” or “numbers person”. You’re going to miss out on a lot.)
A Few Months In
Despite my initial apathy, I soon discovered that it’s hard to immerse myself in a topic everyday and not start to have an interest in it.
Suddenly, I was reading about (and taking an interest in) consumer electronic trends, artificial intelligence and, of course, women in technology. We started following a lot of female tech influencers and groups/movements for women in the tech world.
In fact, just a month and a half after starting our Instagram, #movethedial hosted their first summit in Toronto to promote the involvement and leadership of women in technology. I tuned in for almost the entire summit, listening to inspiring stories of girls and women who are leaders, innovators and educators in technology.
It was an amazing, empowering summit! But, the key takeaway for me was a bit daunting: technology is rapidly changing our world… and especially our careers.
Over the next ten years, automation will replace many jobs. This will directly affect women for two main reasons: 1. Automation will replace a high percentage of jobs in female-dominated industries, and 2. The need for tech-related skills will be high… and female representation is already low in technology and in STEM school programs.
If we’re behind today, I can’t imagine where we’ll be in a few years if something doesn’t change. This was a big wake-up call for me; I had always believed that things were getting better (more or less) for women in the Canadian workplace.
Learning more about tech came hand-in-hand with seeing a disparity in the industry itself, as well as a bigger social disparity as we continue to progress. But I think it takes a lot of different perspectives to notice (and change) the various disparities that technology causes… which is why we need diversity in tech!
It’s incredible how much I’ve learned (and continue to learn) in just a few months. I can more confidently talk about data security, the daily impacts of AI on our lives, and the tech trends that will change society over the next decade. I can also tell you about some amazing women in the tech industry.
And if you love your current career path or have an interest in an industry outside of STEM: don’t worry. You don’t need to develop an app or build a drone to be in the tech world.
I believe that you can absolutely work in non-STEM jobs but develop tech-related skills and knowledge that keep you ahead of the game. You can also push your employer to ensure that you and your coworkers receive the necessary training to be successful in the future… but first you need to have an understanding of how tech will impact your industry. It’s all about education!
My day job is in advertising. Technology is rapidly changing the ad industry (like many industries), and a lot of agencies are finding it hard to keep up. My newfound tech knowledge is helping me understand what goals and skills I need to prosper in my industry. In the future, I hope to influence my employers to provide the necessary training for success in the workplace (if they aren’t already!).
Long Story Short
What all started as a fun social media experiment has turned into a life-changing adventure. Six months ago, I could barely talk about iPhone features, let alone believe that I could actually participate in the tech world.
Now I see that it’s possible – but education and support are necessary. As well as encouragement and opportunity for a lot of people. And that’s up to everyone in society to change.
So for now: educate yourself, encourage those around you to take risks and keep learning. And by the way – work with Google for 5 minutes to figure out your computer issues before calling IT 😉 It’s all about building confidence!
Female Tech Influencers
Here are a few of the awesome, inspiring women in tech that we follow on social media:
- Jodi Kovitz: founder and CEO of #movethedial, a Canadian movement supporting women and girls in STEM
- Girl Knows Tech: a Canadian software engineering student who has created an online community for women in tech with her blog, youtube channel and other social media accounts
- Erin A Simon: a podcast host and content strategist who shares excellent tips and motivational posts for anyone creating online content
- Amber MacArthur: a Canadian TV host and author, named one of DMZ’s 30 most inpirational women making a difference in tech
- The Aesthetic Siblings: two sisters who create stunning visuals on Instagram using Apple products and other tech accessories
And if you’re looking to learn more about technology/innovation, network or develop your skill set, here are some great resources:
- TechTO: a Toronto-based organization that hosts weekly events related to tech in different industries like marketing, fintech and health
- #movethedial: a movement promoting female participation in tech; frequent host of tech-related events in Toronto and other big cities
- Bitmaker: a Toronto tech skills accelerator that offers courses and (almost) daily free workshops to build tech-related skills
- Datacamp: an online platform that offers many courses to build skills for a career in data
- Strategy: a Canadian online magazine that has a great tech section for the marketing world
- mobilesyrup: a Canadian source for mobile technology-related news
- I also keep an eye on our big 5 banks‘ newsrooms and social media; banks invest a lot in innovation and technology, so I can often get cutting-edge news on their websites
Interested in learning more about tech, or know of an awesome female tech influencer? Do you have any great resources for people interested in learning more about tech? Comment below or message us on Instagram: @nctalktech