Five Best Practices For Women In Tech To Become Leaders

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Hi! I’m a female software engineer and a corporate leadership coach for women. I help women become leaders in their organizations. I have a blog on Medium where I talk about what it’s like working in tech and things you can do to advance as a woman in tech. My background is in software engineering and leadership roles at Google, Microsoft, and Apple.

I work with women who are passionate about technology and want to become leaders in their organizations. I help them increase their visibility, advocate for themselves, build their leadership skills, navigate the politics of their organization, get promotions, and advance to the next level.


As a woman in tech, you’ll have to be prepared for situations where you are being undervalued and overlooked. For example, when deciding who to hire or promote, male managers may assume that women in your area of expertise aren’t as skilled as men at your level. They could also assume that the women are less reliable and more likely to leave the company.

This makes it harder for women to gain recognition and advance their careers. In most industries, just a 6% difference in men’s and women’s salaries can lead to a gender pay gap of over 30%. This can have a big impact on your life and career.

Tying this back to herself, she writes about how she handled being undervalued and overlooked: “I knew that I was capable of doing what I needed to do, so my response was to work harder than everyone else.” Another positive step she took was leaning on her mentors in order to move forward.

But what about the rest of us, those who don’t have mentors? If you’re not lucky enough to have been supported by senior leaders or managers from the start, there are still multiple ways you can break through. Here are five best practices for women in tech looking to become leaders:

Make Your Presence Known

If you

The big question that everyone is asking is: “Why aren’t there more women in tech?” And this is a complex issue with no simple answers.

So let’s just talk about the five best practices for women in tech to become leaders!

1. Learn to code.

2. Strength train.

3. Get involved in open source projects/communities/hackathons.

4. Travel and visit meetups/conferences in other cities (and countries if you’re international).

5. Volunteer and get involved with communities that promote diversity and women in tech.

Most women have just seen yet another article about how the lack of women in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) is bad for us all. They’ve read that the tech industry is made up of mostly men and needs to be more inclusive. They’ve read that mentorship is key to developing women leaders. They’ve heard it’s critical to see other women succeeding in STEM if we want to help change the ratio.

Never mind that none of these articles actually tell us how to do any of that. Women in tech are tired of reading about why we’re not advancing in our careers without any actionable advice on what we can do differently.

What are some best practices for women in tech who want to be leaders? Are there things you can do differently than your male counterparts to advance your career? The short answer is yes, there are things you can do to get ahead faster!

A lot has been written on this subject lately, but I’d like to talk about five best practices specifically for women in tech:

1. Don’t put up with “that’s how it’s done” when someone challenges your work or ideas.

2. Keep your politics out of the workplace. This isn’t a matter of opinion; it’s a matter of

A lot of women (and men) have been asking me to share my thoughts on how to get ahead in technology. Sometimes I’m not the best person to ask: I’m still trying to figure that out myself! But here are some tips from my own career and what’s worked for other women that I hope is helpful.

TIP 1: Make sure you’re actually interested.

I think this is a crucial thing for anyone who is interested in advancing in their career, but especially for women because we often get labeled with “bossy” or “feisty” or “aggressive” when we try to push ourselves forward. And it’s way harder to advocate for yourself when you don’t actually want the job, so make sure you’re pushing for something you want and care about.

If the idea of being a manager or leading a team doesn’t excite you, then don’t do those things. If traveling on business holds no appeal, then don’t do it. If your dream is to be a super technical engineer and solve interesting problems, then focus on that and avoid getting sucked into doing a bunch of other stuff like management training and mentoring junior engineers.

When I was a summer intern at Google, I didn’t know if management was

Women in the industry face unique obstacles. And while there’s a lot we can do to solve those problems, it’s also important to acknowledge that there are some things you can’t change.

As much as we’d like to think otherwise, everyone is biased. It’s not a question of if they are, but rather a question of how they are. In fact, most of us aren’t even aware of our own biases and often have trouble seeing them in others.

The good news: bias is something you can learn to see. Here are some things you can do to learn to recognize bias in yourself and others:

Be real about your own strengths and weaknesses

If you’re like most people (including me), you’ve got blind spots. You don’t even realize you’re missing information because it’s outside your experience. For example, I grew up in a culture where women were expected to be quiet and supportive, so I was initially surprised when I saw professional women being assertive and direct. After I realized this was not only OK but also pretty common in my new workplace, I stopped thinking of assertive women as “bossy,” and started trying to make that kind of behavior my norm too.”

How to grow your early career as a software engineer.

1. READ!

2. Be social, but not too social.

3. Pick a good mentor, and do what they do.

4. Build your own network.

5. Don’t be afraid to fail or ask for help.