The tech industry is booming with no signs of slowing up. But even though tech is skyrocketing towards becoming a trillion-dollar industry, imposter syndrome is keeping many talented Black women from stepping foot into the dollar-filled – or Bitcoin-filled – field. The many glass ceilings and broken rungs of racism and patriarchy have created a mental minefield that is paralyzing and almost inescapable. There are many hurdles and barriers, and information to learn, to enter the tech industry, but what must be done first is destroy the mindset of impossibility.
Here are three things you need to tell yourself to combat the imposter syndrome that’s keeping you from your dream career.
You can do it. As cheesy as it may sound, you must begin with the mindset of possibility; that you can do it. The tech industry has a reputation and this large, intimidating impression that only the Einsteins of the world are allowed. As much as I don’t want to consider the Zuckerbergs, Musks, and Silicon Valley tech bros in Allbirds shoes and Patagonia vests “intimidating”, there is an Ivy League image that permeates the industry. Although these people are smart and the field does require education – you are also smart and any information you don’t have, you can attain. Tech is not an impossible industry and once you realize that, an entire world of opportunities will be at your feet.
You already have the skills needed to succeed. Tech is not a title, role, or position; it is an industry with many different paths and lanes for you to successfully glide down. When we think of the tech industry, the first thing we think about is being a developer for Google or Meta or writing lines of code for hours on end for an overvalued San Francisco start-up that is “like Uber for doggie play dates”, but every skill you have can be transferred to the tech industry.
Your energy, personality, experience in customer service/customer experience, project management, ability to handle high-stress, deadlines, and difficult people, and sales experience are all valuable, important, and in high demand at any one of your favorite companies.
They need YOU. These companies we hold in high regard, the companies you love and dream of, all need YOU – your perspective and experience. According to the widely trusted McKinsey Study “Why Diversity Matters”, the numbers don’t lie; when companies and leadership roles are diverse and inclusive, they generate higher productivity, innovation, and, the most important thing to these companies, profitability. MarketWatch reported, “ When it comes to staffing, companies that have higher degrees of racially and ethnically diverse employees have a 35% performance advantage over companies relying on a “culture fit” that tends to trend white and monocultural.”
Over the last several years, the country has had a spotlight on gender and racial disparities in c-suite leadership and the corporate world as a whole, but no industry has caught the heat for inequality, discrimination, and disparity like the tech industry, who’s become the poster child for what it means to lack diversity. They know they need to change for the optics and their reputation, but they know that to continue to push the envelope, evolve, innovate their products and services, and increase their market share, they need YOU in all of your intelligence, character, point of view, and personality. Now, all we need is for YOU to know that as well.
About the Author
ERIKA JOHNSON is the Founder of Culture Measures, an innovative culture and engagement technology firm that codifies culture and creates tangible strategies for measurable results. As an Organizational Development professional with more than ten years of behavior insights and change management experience, Erika has collaborated with executive leaders across various industries to solve their most significant organizational and social impact challenges. Erika was awarded a design patent in 2018 and developed a patent-pending interactive geospatial tool, “Culture Map,” highlighting her drive for innovation. She enjoys exploring the integral relationships between people, processes, and data. Erika is passionate about DEI and continues to advocate for women and minority rights through her various endeavors.