5 Ways Engineers Can Support Each Other

New female developers are bursting onto the tech scene every day and that’s a win for everyone. You’ve made some big moves and landed your dream job; now it’s time to think about what you can do to support other women in tech and #ChangeTheRatio. What seems like a daunting task can be made easier by following a handful of simple, intuitive steps. We’ve come up with five of them to help make tech more inviting to women new to the tech scene.

Step #1 – Introduce yourself!

It seems obvious, but the struggle is real – sometimes we get so busy at work that making time for small talk with the new hire slips our minds. Cultivating new connections becomes more difficult the longer you’ve been in the same place, but it’s worth it to make the effort, particularly when the new hire is a non-traditional candidate.

Women and gender non-conforming people are more likely to feel shy or uncomfortable in coding jobs because the gender ratio disproportionately favors men. If you’re established in your position, make a point of saying hi to new engineers. You’d be surprised how much of a difference a simple “How’s it going?” – and maybe a quick assist in understanding the company’s culture or tech processes – can make during someone’s first week and get them started happily at a new job.

Step #2 – Encourage an inclusive workplace.

Women are more likely than men to be primary caretakers for their kids, parents, or other family members, which makes ensuring work-life balance a crucial first step if we want to #ChangeTheRatio. Jobs that allow for flexible schedules, occasional remote work, and paid time off make ALL employees happier, healthier, and more effective! People in management roles can make a big difference by setting inclusive office policies that work for everyone – whether you have children, pets, or a marathon to train for after work!

Step #3 – Hire each other!

It can feel a little uncomfortable to stick your neck out for non-traditional candidates once you’re on the hiring side of things. Don’t be afraid to push for more interviews of candidates whose resumes don’t have the brand-name college or tech company names.

When recruiting, interviewing or recommending candidates — try taking a chance on someone who doesn’t have a brand-name company or university on their resume, and look at the distance traveled for individuals. Try to remember that this high-potential person has already broken down some pretty big barriers getting to here – and can be a great contributor to your existing team (especially if that team is a homogenous).

To make sure your applicant pool is diverse, don’t be afraid to push for more diverse candidates to get an interview – whether by phone or in the office. Try citing that the Rooney Rule is being used at Facebook, or that Hackbright Academy works directly with companies to recruit female engineers.

Step #4 – Call out problems where you see them, but know it’s OK to have limits.

The bottom line is, most of the responsibility lies with leadership to make the employees (people of all genders) feel valued, supported, and empowered to do their best work. If you see something unfair and want to speak up, you deserve mad props — it’s always a brave thing to do, and it WILL make a difference! But don’t believe anyone who suggests that because you’re a woman in a powerful tech job, it’s on you to single-handedly overthrow the system. You should be able to expect that your coworkers and industry peers will contribute to creating a safe environment.

Step #5 – Lift as you climb!

This means, circle back to where you began your tech journey! Hackbright engineering fellows in the program love the chance to meet Hackbright alumni who graduated earlier and are now working in the tech industry. Remember that? Well, you’re that role model now!

If you have some spare cycles, volunteer your time at a school like Hackbright Academy thru the mentorship program or at a non-profit like Black Girls Code or Technovation.

Best case scenario? You’ll find a new recruit for that position you’ve been itching to fill with some non-traditional talent that is overlooked by traditional recruiting. Either way, it’s rewarding to show the next batch of new Hackbright engineering fellows how their hard work can pay off. Besides, be honest – you’ve probably missed it here just a little bit anyway!

Ready to take the first step towards a new career in tech and forge amazing relationships with brilliant, like-minded individuals? Check out Hackbright’s upcoming courses!

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