Women Going Back to Work: Starting Careers in Tech

Jessica mitsch By Jessica Mitsch ● November 08, 2021
Women Going Back to Work Featured

Tech is one of the most attrac­tive fields for women going back to work after tak­ing time to re-eval­u­ate their careers dur­ing the pandemic. 

WRAL fea­tured Momentum’s CEO and Co-Founder Jes­si­ca Mitsch on a recent seg­ment spot­light­ing the re-entrance of women into the work­force and why many are pur­su­ing careers in tech.
In line with what has been deemed The Great Res­ig­na­tion by econ­o­mists, 3 mil­lion women in the US left their jobs in the last 18 months. Although there are a vari­ety of fac­tors influ­enc­ing indi­vid­u­als to put their careers on pause, WRAL focused on how moth­ers faced con­sid­er­able chal­lenges bal­anc­ing work and fam­i­ly demands with schools oper­at­ing remote­ly.. Now, 2 in 3 women who quit their jobs are plan­ning a return to the work­force, and 8 in 10 of these women going back to work are con­sid­er­ing careers in STEM.

Women remain under­rep­re­sent­ed in STEM fields like soft­ware engi­neer­ing and com­put­er science 

Gen­er­al­ly, STEM has been in need of a much high­er female pres­ence; how­ev­er, the gen­der gap in cer­tain tech fields is espe­cial­ly strong, such as soft­ware engi­neer­ing, where women only rep­re­sent 14% of the total work­force, and com­put­er-sci­ence relat­ed jobs, where women only rep­re­sent 25% of the total work­force. Women soft­ware engi­neer hires have bare­ly increased over the last 21 years – by just 2%- but women going back to work and into new careers after the pan­dem­ic could ener­gize women’s rep­re­sen­ta­tion in soft­ware engineering.
Jes­si­ca talked about how tech is a great avenue to explore for women going back to work and seek­ing a switch into a career that is pan­dem­ic-proof for the long term.” She point­ed out the finan­cial secu­ri­ty offered by com­pet­i­tive entry lev­el STEM salaries of $70,000+ (in the Tri­an­gle area) and what she esti­mates as 85% of soft­ware engi­neer and IT work­ers’ jobs offer­ing the flex­i­bil­i­ty of work-from-home
The MetLife sur­vey on women in STEM which inspired WRAL’s piece also iden­ti­fied sev­er­al key aspects that most encour­age women to take on jobs in this field, such as More diver­si­ty, equi­ty, and inclu­sion in the lead­er­ship pipeline” (38%), More flex­i­bil­i­ty in work arrange­ments” (31%), Ded­i­cat­ed train­ings that help their career pro­gres­sion” (30%), and Employ­ee resource groups” (28%).

Momen­tum grads speak on why they chose tech and how the field has giv­en them opportunity.

Ear­li­er this year, Momen­tum held a Women’s His­to­ry Month Pan­el on switch­ing careers and jobs in tech. The pan­elists’ rea­sons for why they were drawn to tech and what makes their careers worth­while share sim­i­lar­i­ties with MetLife’s sur­vey respondents.
For Alex Wein­er, a Momen­tum grad who now works at Infinia ML, what prompt­ed a switch in tech was hon­est­ly the lack of women and want­i­ng to be an influ­ence and inspi­ra­tion there. And also the flex­i­bil­i­ty; I hope to be a mom one day, I hope to con­tin­ue working…and know­ing I could do [cod­ing boot­camp] in a fast amount of time with­out going into debt.”
Another Momentum grad, Nichole Ross, who works as a software engineer at Xactly Corp., came to coding after teaching mathematics and echoed Alex. She said she was also inspired by the fast amount of time it takes to finish a coding bootcamp—but between being an educator, mom, and earning her Doctorate, she did not have the time prior to the pandemic and being without work. She loves “the ability to be a mom and to work and to be respected in my field and be an influencer, it’s very convenient for my home life, there’s a really nice balance there.”
Amy Gori, Momentum’s Direc­tor of Engi­neer­ing and Instruc­tion, said that her biggest moti­vat­ing fac­tor was job sta­bil­i­ty. As one of the ear­ly adopters of cod­ing boot­camp, she was attract­ed to learn­ing a skill while avoid­ing enroll­ment in a 4 year insti­tu­tion to retrain her­self. I loved the idea of doing some­thing I could count on to sup­port my fam­i­ly. And as a side bonus, I am some­body who always likes to learn new stuff. I don’t like to be bored at my job, I like to learn some­thing new every day, I like to be chal­lenged — and that has def­i­nite­ly hap­pened for me in tech. So I did­n’t quite real­ize how fast paced it was when I got into it, but it has been real­ly sat­is­fy­ing in that regard.”
Anoth­er theme of the pan­el as a major plus of the tech sphere is the awe­some com­mu­ni­ty it cul­ti­vates. Amy said that, despite hav­ing grad­u­at­ed 7 years ago, I still am in touch with all those folks I learned to code with. Now every­one is in senior roles and direc­tor roles and they’re in lead­er­ship posi­tions, which I love. But I still talk to those folks because we learned togeth­er and we kind of were in the trench­es, doing the hard work every day.” Nic­hole spoke on this sup­port and cama­raderie, as well: the com­mu­ni­ty that you get with our boot­camp is that they’re your com­mu­ni­ty for­ev­er. They will per­son­al­ly know you, they will per­son­al­ly go hard for you if you need help by try­ing to get the job…they’ll help you through the process.”
Final­ly, as a piece of advice for women going back to work and on the fence of whether tech is the right route, Alex said, if you’re sit­ting on the out­side of the tech indus­try right now and you’re look­ing in, you’re won­der­ing what’s going on here and whether you can real­ly do this, my advice is to come on in. and yes, there’s a place for you here. You’re enti­tled to do this. You can learn to code if you want to. You can be part of this indus­try and the indus­try is huge right now. Every sin­gle cor­ner of every kind of busi­ness needs a web­site. So there’s a lot of work and there’s a lot of room and your ideas are valu­able. You have a con­tri­bu­tion to make if you want to. And I think the thing you need to do is find the peo­ple that you want to do that with, whether that’s at a job with sup­port­ive col­leagues and sup­port­ive man­agers, or it’s in some sort of learn­ing envi­ron­ment. Find a place that makes you feel sup­port­ed and makes you feel excit­ed and joy­ful about what you’re doing.”
Now is the time for women going back to work to feel empow­ered to make a move into the tech space that offers all kinds of growth oppor­tu­ni­ties for their career. Inter­est­ed in learn­ing more? Down­load our course guide today.

Co-Authored by Gin­ny Howey

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