Career Tips From Top Female Engineers

Advancement in a male-dominated field as a gender marginalized person is not an easy task. Consider the tech industry, for example. According to experts, only 13% of engineers are women and 26% of computer scientists are women. And even then only 12% of women in computing roles are black or Latino.

But that doesn’t mean women and other marginalized genders can’t find success in roles that are popular in tech, like Female Engineers. Take Amanda Gellhouse, Kate Dameron, and Tracy Burge three members of the engineering team at Hinge Health and a digital healthcare company for back and joint pain.

Here, they offer advice on how they can navigate their careers as female engineers—from the importance of having a mentor to finding the confidence to speak up and have their voices heard.

1. Develop a Support System

While it would be great if our credentials could always speak for themselves, it can be helpful to have someone who can advocate for you as well. That’s where mentors come into play. Have not had? No need to worry. You may already know someone you can turn to for professional (and personal) advice.

2. Don’t be afraid to spin

For those interested in technology after college or even mid-career, remember that it’s never too late to pursue a new path. To make the switch, he attended a coding boot camp and earned a complete Javascript and web development certificate from the Alchemy Code Lab in Portland, OR.

3. Never Underestimate Yourself

A now-famous internal study at Hewlett-Packard found that men apply for roles when they meet only 60% of the qualifications, whereas women will only apply if they meet 100% of them, research recently backed up by a LinkedIn survey.

4. Make Your Voice Hear

You may have heard stories about female staff in the Obama administration who banded together to prevent interruptions from their male counterparts. But the trend is not limited to politics. Women tend to receive lower performance evaluations than their male counterparts when they speak out and contribute new ideas.

5. Set Boundaries Around Work

Engineering roles can be demanding—but, as with any job, it’s important to try and maintain a work-life balance (especially if you find yourself WFH). When Gellhouse felt overwhelmed in her previous role, she asked for and accepted more flexible and reduced hours—a valuable lesson in self-defense.

If changing your work schedule isn’t an option, try some other tactics you can control, like removing work email and Slack from your phone.

Gellhouse also closes his laptop at the end of the day—and doesn’t open it until the next morning. It is equally important to set boundaries with coworkers during work hours. The best advice Gellhouse receives from a mentor is to be comfortable with keeping people waiting.

6. Ask for Feedback

Asking your manager or mentor what you could do better can be nerve-wracking at first, but ultimately supports you and helps you achieve your goals in the long run.

7. Never Stop Learning

Being a lifelong learner is an asset in any industry, but especially a fast-changing industry like technology—which is why you should actively seek professional development opportunities to continuously develop your knowledge. You can also seek out roles at companies like Hinge Health that value learning and development and encourage employees to keep learning.

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