A Female Tech Exec Shares 3 Need-to-Know Tips for Breaking into the Industry
We can’t all be seasoned #girlbosses right out of the gate. To get to the top in any industry, you have to be able to stay focused at work, have smart negotiation strategies down pat and network with the best of them (and that’s just a few of the skills needed!). But if you’re trying to break into the tech industry, your expertise really has to be top notch. And while we all know great ways to inspire the next generation of girls in tech, for the ladies looking to rock Silicon Valley right now, we want to know what to do to make it happen. That’s where Kim Jabal comes in.
A former Google executive and current CFO of Weebly, Kim shares the three things every lady looking to break into tech *has* to know. And since Kim was recently highlighted in Business Insider as one of 20 women in Silicon Valley that companies should add to their board, you’re going to want to read on and take in all the insider info she’s willing to dish out.
1. Confidence is the secret weapon to success. “My first job out of college as a software engineer gave me valuable technical and managerial skills. But it also taught me how to be successful as a woman in a male-dominated field,” shares Kim. She adds, “In my mid-20s I had to manage a group of all white, older men at a copper mining company. They were not thrilled with my presence, so it was a very intimidating and challenging experience. But in the end, I won their trust and our efforts were a success. It really built up my confidence as a manager.”
2. Your boss will be just as important, if not more, than the job. If you think your boss hates you, it’s probably a red flag. But Kim stresses that mentors are enormously important. She says, “They help you to more easily see yourself in a place of more responsibility, more leadership and more power. My two best mentors over my career were also my bosses. When you are choosing a job you are often also choosing a mentor. Seek opportunities in a company where you have the opportunity to work for someone who is experienced, who is a great manager and who is willing to teach. Don’t just pick the job, pick the boss.”
3. Be prepared to work hard. “Tech often means high growth, which means it’s usually a full-time job… plus,” Kim says. “It can be very challenging to balance work and other priorities, including family, friends, exercise, outside interests and hobbies. But hang in there. If you can’t fully lean in for a few years, just stay in. It actually gets easier as you get more senior in your career. I remember, after I had young children, debating whether I should try to juggle it all or just take a break, and I’m so glad I kept going.”
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