Career Woman

3 Reasons women should pursue technical careers

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Aston Martin engine management systems integration engineer Kim Everitt says she got started on her career path by watching motorsports on television. Her mother always encouraged her to pursue her dreams, and after she started driving herself, her interest in cars grew. By completing a degree in automotive engineering and taking opportunities for internships and school-sponsored placement positions whenever possible, she has been able to pursue the career of her dreams.

While Everitt’s case isn’t unique, she remains in the minority. Despite the growing number of women in other fields, female participation in the tech industry has actually declined since the 1980s, with women holding fewer than 20 percent of U.S. tech jobs, National Center for Educational Statistics data shows. But tech jobs can be some of the highest-paying, most-rewarding jobs on today’s market, and organizations such as Girls Who Code are encouraging more young women to go into technical fields. Here are three reasons why women should pursue technical careers.

1. Increasing income

One of the most compelling reasons for women to pursue technical careers is the greater income potential. With STEM skills in high demand in multiple industries ranging from computer programming to biotechnology, women with tech skills have significantly higher income opportunities. The average global salary for tech workers in major cities is $135,000, a Hired.com survey shows. Salary potential is even higher in certain cities such as San Francisco, where the average tech salary is $142,000. Workers in their 40s find their average salary rising above $150,000. Salary is also higher in certain industries, such as transportation, where the average salary is $145,000.

As these figures illustrate, having a tech background can be a pathway for women to achieve a six-figure salary. For instance, a major sealant provider such as o-ring manufacturer Apple Rubber may need a worker who knows enough about chemistry to know what type of o-ring material to use for a client’s aerospace or biomedical application. Women with tech backgrounds may also find opportunities in high-paying fields such as biotechnology, manufacturing and supply chain management.

2. Enjoying a more rewarding lifestyle

For many women, especially mothers and women with an active social life, finding a balance between work and the rest of their lives can be a major priority. Choosing the right tech career can help you find a better life-work balance.

For instance, one of the most popular jobs for working mothers is working in the pharmaceutical industry, according to a CareerBliss survey. Mothers say they like working for pharmaceutical companies because their employers offer them flexible hours, and they also find their work more meaningful because it helps others. Other favored fields for women seeking to balance personal and career hours include biotechnology, information technology and computer programming.

3. Setting an example for future generations

Another important reason for women to go into technical careers is to set an example for future generations. One reason more girls don’t enjoy the higher salaries and rewarding lifestyles of technical careers is a lack of female role models and mentors. The more women go into technology, the more encouraged other women and young girls will be to explore high-tech career options.

One woman who sought to be a role model for girls going into technology was Sally Ride, America’s first female astronaut. Holding a doctorate in physics, Ride started what is now Sally Ride Science, a nonprofit foundation to promote STEM literacy among girls in elementary and middle school. Women who go into technical careers can serve as similar role models on a smaller scale, inspiring girls around them to pursue rewarding tech careers.

A technical career can lead to higher income and a more rewarding lifestyle, as well as inspiring future generations of girls to aspire to the same. As you contemplate career directions, consider how a tech career may be a path to a more satisfying work experience and lifestyle.

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