Women in Software Development? YES PLEASE!

We are excited about International Women’s Day at PSPDFKit! The reason is simple, the day is too important for us and the tech workforce. We share the concerns about the shortfall of women in the technology sector, especially in software development. Last year, we sponsored Rails Girls in Vienna to encourage the development of women software engineers. Today, we'd like to support [International Women’s Day] (https://www.internationalwomensday.com/) by discussing its significance and raise awareness for female developers in the industry as well as females who are eager to become developers.

Originally, IWD was called International Working Women’s day and is celebrated on March 8th, a day to recognize women’s achievements and acknowledge the challenges they continue to face in the quest for gender equality. In 2017, as the campaign theme is #BeBoldForChange, we'd like to share our story and carry out the campaign to encourage both female developers and tech organizations to close the gender equality gap.

##Women Are Vastly Underrepresented In the tech-industry, especially in software development, women are scarce. A simple Google search result illustrates the point: At Google, women make up 17 percent of technical employees; at Facebook, only 15 percent. A less formal survey done in 2013 by Pinterest engineer Tracy Chou found that women represented just 12 percent of engineers at major tech companies (Apr 8, 2015).

Women in Tech

(source: cnet)

The latest [ISACA Global Survey Report] (http://www.isaca.org/info/2017-women-in-technology-survey/index.html?cid=pr_1210374&appeal=pr) references these top 5 barriers as the reasons behind the gender gap: lack of mentors (48%); lack of female role models in the field (42%); gender bias in the workplace (39%); unequal growth opportunities compared to men (36%); and last but not least, unequal pay for the same skills (35%).

Yet, don’t let these percentages and barriers scare you away. Where things are lacking is precisely where opportunities for growth are!

##PSPDFKit Fact Check We have a female intern and her name is Rita. Rita is a computer science student studying at the University of Vienna, and we are thrilled to have her on our team! A true story about proactively looking for mentorship and create opportunities for yourself, Rita reached out to her friend, who’s also a female developer, expressing how much she’d love to learn and apply her skills in a real work setting beyond just school projects. Her friend gave Rita the contact of our CTO, and Rita reached out to set up an interview.

After impressing in the interview, Rita joined up with PSPDFKit and so far is enjoying herself. She says that she learns 3-5 systems and structures that are totally new to her each day. Her mentor, Stefan, at PSPDFKit is there for her if she needs guidance or has questions but ultimately she's taking the opportunity to learn and figure things out on her own, in a real work setting. She is a huge advocate for students in general to seek out internships and absolutely encourages other female programming students to do the same.

Rita at work

##Seek Mentorship Proactively If you have a thirst for learning software development, there are many free online sources, such as [Codecademy] (https://www.codecademy.com/learn/all), [Envatotuts+] (https://tutsplus.com), [w3schools] (https://www.w3schools.com) for HTML and CSS and JavaScript, and [vogella] (http://www.vogella.com/tutorials/) for Android, as well as many many others. [Stack Overflow] (http://stackoverflow.com) is a great place for a go-to online community to learn knowledge and advance your skills.

If you are already in the industry and need mentorship, please don't be afraid to reach out. Find a [Meetup] (http://www.meetup.com) group near you! Meetup makes it easy for you to find and connect with local software development communities. It's amazing what opportunities can come out of engaging in your local development communities, whether it's finding a job, contract work, or even internships.

##Talk to Female Role Models There have always been amazing women doing incredible things in technology and this is definitely true today. Check out the [world’s top 5 famous female programmers] (https://www.techworm.net/2016/10/worlds-top-5-famous-female-programmers.html) if you want to scratch the surface of inspiring women figures in software engineering. Creating a Linkedin profile, even if without amazing work experiences to show, and reaching out to other female programmers on [Linkedin] (https://www.linkedin.com/) is a great way to get connected into the community. Start a conversation whether it's career advice or simply curiousity about their individual career paths. You'll be amazed by their generousity and eagerness to help.

##Negotiate for Equal Pay Educate yourself on [pay negotiation skills] (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MXFpOWDAhvM). Use sources such as [PayScale] (http://www.payscale.com/research/US/Job=Computer_Programmer/Salary) to understand your competitive and comparative salary. Have a clear grasp of your value as a company asset in mind before you enter negotiations and stand firm on that value.

##BeBoldForChange! International Women’s Day 2017 is asking everyone to #BeBoldForChange. Change happens when we all put our thoughts into actions. We encourage you to learn development, show up at tech events, be persistent at networking, know your worth and be confident in your ability to achieve. Everybody has to start somewhere, whether you are a woman or a man. At PSPDFKit, we celebrate women’s achievements and are committed to gender equality. We believe this is the only way to build a stronger technology workforce of the future. We’d love to extend the opportunity for female developers to contact us more about our internship program.

We welcome you to share the story to support the campaign of IWD and contact us if you are enthusiastic about becoming a female software developer. We look forward to hearing from you!

Be Bold For Change!