I am often asked by women young and old, “Were you intimidated by technology or afraid to start your first job in tech?”
The answer: YES!! My internal concerns swirled around my head, increasing my fear and anxiety:
• Am I good enough?
• Can I do the work?
• What if I fail?
All of these fears and more crossed my mind. Like many first times, it may be intimidating from the peripheral but once inside the world of tech, it is more about making connections, solving business problems, and creating opportunities.
Although these thoughts often appear, I have learned not to let them get the best of me, in large part thanks to my Mindfulness Teacher. In my Mindful Actions to Manage Career Fears article that I wrote for Thrive Global, I address some examples of things you can do to overcome these types of fears.
What I have learned along the way in my journey, and in the journeys of other impactful professionals, is also what I share in books and keynotes across the country to help make the journey easier for others. I believe a career in tech is not only fantastic, it is also an amazing opportunity to make a difference while experiencing a plethora of career paths.
Some things to think about as you look to advance your career or start a new initiative:
We need you. Tech and related fields are growing, which is likely no surprise! Talented professionals like yourself could have opportunities to step up or, in this case, step into roles for which you may not be 100 percent ready. Emerging solutions and new technologies such as IoT, big data, cloud and blockchain companies are looking for people that can jump in and learn, provide ideas and solve problems. Even if you are only 60 percent qualified, I encourage you to apply, as many companies are eager to train talented professionals to fill their positions.
Your viewpoint is valuable. All companies and teams can benefit from diverse thought, so even if you are unsure about speaking up, consider sharing your ideas, opinions or experiences. Many of us wait until it is too late or until others provide similar suggestions.
Align your champions. There will be times you may feel unsure or even unqualified, as many people do, which is why there are so many articles on self-doubt or impostor syndrome. I encourage you to take the time to build your network and advisory board (see article, The One Thing in Business Women Need to Succeed) to keep you focused and motivated. One type of professional that has been instrumental in guiding and encouraging me in my career is my sponsor. Sponsors often provide great insight and may even leverage their networks to help you advance to the next level.
Take the leap. I could list several more tips and strategies that I have included on www.TechSavvyWomen.net, but if you take away nothing else, I encourage you to leap! I am sure you will find things that excite and scare you, but I say leap anyway. I have learned that it is possible to create the momentum you need to foster a career that excites and motivates!
About the author: JJ DiGeronimo, the President of Tech Savvy Women, authored Accelerate Your Impact and The Working Woman’s GPS to retain, develop and advance diverse talent in STEM-based organizations. JJ has been quoted in numerous publications, including Forbes, The Wall Street Journal, and Fox Business. For more of her insights on the topic, listen to her recent interview on the ISACA Podcast.