How To Succeed as a Woman in Data
Women are making their mark in the rapidly growing field of data. While data has been a historically male-dominated industry, more and more women are finding success in STEM and pursuing careers as data scientists, data engineers, data analysts, data architects and more. If you want to be a woman in data or if you’re already in a data-driven field and are looking to further your career, this article is for you.
Read on to learn about the career opportunities you can have in data and some tips to help you on your road to success.
Common Barriers & Challenges Women in Data Face
While more women are pursuing careers in data than ever before, there are some common barriers and challenges they still face in the industry. While the percentage of women in data positions has shown promising growth in the past decade, there is still an enormous percentage gap between men and women with data careers.
In addition to there being a lower percentage of women in the space, there is also the gender wage gap which poses a huge challenge for women entering data careers. Research indicates that the gender pay gap is still prevalent in the data science field even when factoring in experience, qualifications and other pertinent factors. While the gap has closed to a degree in recent years, inequality is still present, and males in the field have a higher salary than their female counterparts on average.
Another common obstacle women may come up against is workplace bias. Women can sometimes be overlooked for promotions due to gender bias and ingrained cultural perceptions. Unconsciously, women may even be viewed as less capable by peers due to gender bias. This can also lead to impostor syndrome for women in data, as they may feel discouraged and hindered by these presumptions.
It can also be difficult for women to find mentorship in their field. A woman in a senior data-position would undoubtedly be the best person to understand the struggles of a woman just starting her career in data, but most organizations don’t have a high number of senior female professionals. Mentorship can be a huge help in a burgeoning career, and it may be more difficult for a female professional to find these opportunities.
Why Should More Women Consider Careers In Data?
Despite the obstacles, more women should consider careers in data if it’s a field they’re interested in pursuing. A more diverse and equitable workplace can be more easily achieved as more women enter the industry and, hopefully, these challenges won’t be prevalent in the future.
In addition to diversifying the STEM industry, women should pursue data careers because there is a great job market in the data science field. The need for skilled data professionals isn’t slowing down anytime soon, and now is the best time to start a data career. Data careers can lead to high salaries, a successful career path, meaningful and fulfilling work and the opportunity to make a real impact on an organization.
While the gender pay gap is still an issue, women can still achieve high levels of compensation in a data career. According to Indeed.com, the average base salary for a data scientist in the United States is $145,358. Those in higher positions can make much more. This is well above the national median income. Also, careers in tech tend to come with remote work options, flexible hours and competitive benefits packages. Not only can you be well-compensated in a data career, but you can also have a very enjoyable work environment at the right company. You may even be able to work from anywhere in the world.
In other words, there has never been a better time to be a woman in data. If you’re considering a data career or looking to learn the skills necessary for a career in data, it can be well worth the time spent.
The Advantages of Working in a Data-Driven Field
Data is the new norm for nearly every business. Almost every organization, big and small, uses data to drive decision-making. Employers are constantly seeking out talented data professionals who can help them leverage data and use data more effectively.
If you’re a woman considering a career in data, the advantages can be numerous. In addition to the aforementioned career opportunities, it’s a field that rewards critical thinking, gives you the ability to be creative, and provides you with exciting opportunities to grow a company and potentially even change the world for the better. Let’s go over a few of the key advantages of working in a data-driven field:
- The market continues to grow — As mentioned, the data field likely isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. Not only will your skills in data make you a highly marketable hire and earn you high compensation, but your career security will be higher than in many other job fields.
- Be creative — Data is a creative field. You get to come up with innovative solutions, analyze data and interpret complex information. These jobs allow you to flex your creative muscles regularly.
- Hone your skills — Working in data every day will help you hone your skills, learn the latest technology and keep up with the latest trends. Data is a fast-moving industry, with innovations being introduced at a dizzying pace. It can be difficult to keep up with the outside looking in. But with a career in data, you’ll be paid to keep up with these innovations, allowing you to use them firsthand and learn them as you work.
- Knowledge advancement — In addition to staying up to date with the latest technology and trends in the data industry, many companies are also willing to pay for you to increase your knowledge. Depending on the benefits your company offers, you may be able to take classes for free, sign up for workshops and even attend conferences to network with other industry professionals.
- Career growth — While women in data still have challenges to face, you can join the growing female workforce and advance to those upper positions to help close that gender disparity gap. It can be frustrating to feel underrepresented when entering a new job field, but interested women mustn’t let that discourage them. The data field needs more talented women in it. It’s your turn to make your mark.
As with any career path, data is going to have its share of advantages and disadvantages. If data is something you’re passionate about or have a strong interest in, you shouldn’t let the disadvantages prevent you from trying it out.
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