In a recent Forbes article reporter Lydia Dishman stated, “Although the ranks of women in tech jobs — particularly in leadership — continue to be disproportionately low, emerging new technologies like AI and blockchain have the potential to change the ratio and eventually equalize representation.”
That’s certainly good news for women looking to break into the industry.
Another encouraging sign is the commitment existing female tech leaders are making to eliminate traditional gender barriers, encouraging more women to enter the data science field.
Vivian Zhang is CTO and chief data scientist for the NYC Data Science Academy. In an interview earlier this year with TechNewsWorld, she talked about her advice for young women considering a tech career, emphasizing the importance of a foundation in math, coding and accounting. She said, “Girls are less encouraged to go into science, but if they don’t learn the difficult things, they’ll never advance. It’s better to do the difficult things early.”
This sentiment is shared by Elena Grewal, head of data science at Airbnb. While a tech career wasn’t initially part of her plan, she quickly discovered that her training in statistics, computer science and math was essential for answering the “interesting questions” she encountered as a member of the company’s data science team. She encourages aspiring data scientists to “make sure you feel comfortable asking questions…People around you are there to help you be successful, so never feel like you can’t ask for help.”
During a recent panel discussion with female CEOs at the Fast Company Innovation Festival in October, the importance of learning from others was also stressed. Tricia Han, CEO of workout app Daily Burn, put it this way: “You can get so much from the people around you, whether they’re your direct reports, or your boss, or your friends and family.”
Julie Elberfield, senior vice president of shared technology at Capital One, believes that women in tech can inspire others to enter the field just by being vocal about their passion for the industry. She says, “The more we talk about diversity and inclusion at work or at school, the more comfortable people around us will feel using inclusive language and asking new questions. By…stay[ing] in tech, we can…change the perception of who belongs in tech.”
To hear from other inspiring leaders in data science and related tech fields, click here.