Why Women Matter in the Utah Tech Scene
SALT LAKE CITY — Against our nation’s backdrop where the economy could be described as partly cloudy, Utah’s economy is out in the sun and opportunities are blooming everywhere.
Tech companies are coming in droves to build their businesses here. Over the past few years, Utah has branded itself as “Silicon Slopes” to rival the vibrant tech community of San Francisco's Silicon Valley — and the efforts are being noticed. Several billion dollar tech companies and thousands of thriving start-ups have chosen Utah as their home.
At the Governor’s Economic Summit in April, Governor Herbert revealed that he is often asked to give away Utah’s secret. Countless state governments are attempting to replicate Utah’s business and economic successes.
While local business is booming, technology and STEM employers are trying to cope with a key problem: how to get women in their doors. There are several theories, and multiple complex reasons, why women are not choosing careers in STEM in Utah. However, there are many benefits to the tech space for women that may not be on their radar.
Here are six reasons why women should consider venturing into the tech industry:
Compensation is high
STEM careers are known to pay well; there have been substantial efforts in the past few years to get more undergraduates to consider STEM. Technology jobs specifically are well-paid careers which often don’t require large amounts of schooling. These jobs are strong options for women who are entering or reentering the workforce.
The following "degree not required" careers boast strong median salaries, according to PayScale:
- Web developer - $63,000/year
- Digital Marketer - $65,000/year
- Entry Level Data Analyst - $50,000/year
- Technical Writer - $53,000/year
- Computer programmer - $80,000/year
Demand is soaring
We all know it: diversity breeds success. Currently, only 25 percent of tech jobs are held by women nationwide, with significantly less in Utah. Businesses large and small are going to great lengths to get women to jump on board. Women bring a dynamic to the workforce that is crucial for creation and innovation.
Jerry Brand, managing director at Caternet, told Computer Weekly that “while there are obvious gender differences between men and women, it’s been my experience that women are more precise and strategically intelligent than men." That quality that is highly beneficial to the technology sector.
Utah’s own InsideSales announced last week that they will award scholarships to computer science undergraduates, with preference given to women in hopes of expanding diversity. They plan to partner with other large companies to expand this program in the future.
Women are not only wanted in tech industries; they are vital.
You don’t have to be a supercoder:
Being a woman in tech doesn’t mean you’re required to understand the depths of HTML5 and come up with complex new software. There are countless opportunities that have nothing to do with coding or programming. The tech sector has careers in marketing, social media, HR, sales and more.
The C-level suite (or important and influential executives within a corporation) is begging for women as well — some tech companies even have quotas as to how many women must be in C-Suite positions.
Tech is revolutionizing the 9-5:
Tech companies love to disrupt. Disruption is their favorite buzzword. Technology corporations want people to love their job, so they go to great lengths to disrupt the typical office-style job. The goal is to bring fulfillment and fun to the workplace.
A casual Friday may be a perk in corporate America, but tech companies take it to a very different level. It is commonplace to see free gym memberships, company yoga, ping pong tables scattered around, bean bags or a free company masseuse as a part of their benefits package. Take DOMO in American Fork for example: they stock their break room and cater lunch and dinner every day for their employees.
Commute? What commute?
In addition to the benefits and cultural aspects of tech companies, technology makes it easy to telecommute. Most tech jobs can be done from anywhere in the world. Whether as an SEO specialist, app developer, or graphic designer, there are many tech companies that offer remote work options. This can be very helpful to a woman who works far away from the city and has duties that may include breakfast preparation, soccer practice and piano lesson supervision.
Another favorite corporate disruption technique used often is the use of “flat organizations.” Tech companies leave micromanaging at the door. Nobody will be watching what time you come in and what time you leave. Instead, the evaluations are based on whether an employee is providing value to the company. “Work hard/play hard” is at the core of startups and large tech companies.
Why bother disrupting corporate America?
It’s simple: happy employees are loyal employees, and a fun and dynamic company culture ensures buy-in and success. If everyone is bought in, the company is free to continue growing.
PluralSight in Farmington takes their culture so seriously that it is integrated into their hiring process. They’ve created a team of “of truth seekers, entrepreneurs and eternal optimists,” and everyone on the team is completely committed to their mission.
An opportunity to be the change
The very invention of technology was to better our world. New technologies are invented every day to increase productivity, improve health, raise awareness and so much more. Technology changes the way we live on a daily basis. Getting into technology and engineering careers can give you a direct lifeline to literally creating or being a part of the change you envision in the world.
Ever considered a career in tech as a woman? Sound off in the comment section.