We here at Skillcrush love Marissa Mayer and Sheryl Sandberg as much as the next lady-focused tech team. Marissa and Sheryl are amazing supernovas. And they both do a great job of advocating for women-in-tech.
But we can’t all be supernovas, and, for better or worse, Sheryl and Marissa are such super-stars, they are so incredible, and so super-human, that holding them up as the epitome of women-in-tech can actually backfire.
Looking to Sheryl or Marissa as role models might lead a girl to start asking questions like: How can I ever be successful in the tech industry? I didn’t graduate with awards from Harvard! I don’t have a masters in Computer Science! And I definitely did not have 14 job offers when I graduated from school. Ha! Can you imagine?!
Well, guess what? We’ve got a secret to share.
For every Marissa Mayer, there are a couple thousand ladies who didn’t get into coding until after college, but are still making serious ripples in the tech industry. Ladies like Audrey, who got herself some serious frontend development skills and immediately put them to work for her startup, Waggit. Or Martha, who has been getting into some serious backend, server-side coding over at Hacker School.
And for every Sheryl Sandberg, there is an army of business savvy women who know that the internet is here to stay, and it’s a great place to make money. Women like Kara who founded Tipping Point Partners, and Erin who puts her online advertising know-how to work leading the Gawker Media advertising team.
Read these ladies stories, and know that they can do it, and so can you.
“Do not let the “fear of looking like an idiot” get in the way of asking questions or learning new things. I started learning so much more when I resigned myself to the fact that some people (programmers are excellent at this) have ridiculous egos and are super stubborn. Don’t give those people a second thought. Find the good ones, learn from them.”
“I think it’s absolutely incredible that syntax, brackets, and logic…compiled and shared on the web – are able to save people time, evoke emotion, and connect people. To me, coding is like a new raw material to make products that make the world better and more meaningful.”
“Women underestimate and under-promote themselves. It will be easier to close the education gap (even in technology and science) than to close the confidence gap. Women tend to look for external signals (peers, awards, titles) to portray accomplishment. But these are just proxies for what should be self-confidence. Women, including myself, must trust their abilities and go for it. Don’t wait for external accolades, motivation, or permission. And if you are a woman fluent in technology, quit waiting! Just start doing.”
“I like technology that breaks down the boundaries between what is real and what is unreal. Everything we build now can be visualized using old metaphors – networks, bridges, lines, webs, nets. Infrastructure has become a metaphor for an increasingly non-physical world in which we live.”