Women are continuing to make their mark in technology, and the ‘Queen of Crypto’ Randi Zuckerberg said now is the time for them to pursue digital careers. Right now, women make up half of the workforce, but only hold 28% of the jobs in the technology sector. Zuckerberg said that’s a gap that should be shrinking.
“We desperately need more women in the industry, because some of the new cutting edge technology around AI, cybersecurity, space, you name it, not only are these huge tech advances for society, but they’re raising ethical questions,” said Zuckerberg. “They’re raising a lot of big topics about how our children will interact with technology in the future. So if women are not there having a seat at the table and part of those discussions and building those products, then we don’t have a say in how these huge, exciting, but also scary, technologies will play a role in our lives.”
She said one of the biggest myths about careers in technology is that you need to be an engineer or coder.
“I think 20 years ago or so, there was this pervasive myth that you needed to be an engineer or a coder to get into technology. And so I think that turned a lot of women off from tech fields,” said Zuckerberg. “But today, when we’re looking at the tech industry, that cannot be farther from the truth, whatever your skill set or your passion is, there is a tech career out there for you, you don’t just have to be an engineer or a coder anymore. So I’d love for more women to start thinking of themselves as people who can have meaningful careers in technology, no matter what your passion.”
Zuckerberg said in order to do that, it’s important to get women interested in STEM and STEAM earlier.
“I think a lot of research shows that it’s around nine or 10 years old, that we start to lose girls in technology,” said Zuckerberg. “So I think the earlier that you can start girls with exposure to robotics, video gaming, coding, and there are so many great ways to introduce kids to tech skills that don’t involve screens. So even if you’re kind of anti-screen for a young kid, there are so many ways to introduce tech concepts. So I’m a huge fan of introducing them young and then keep getting educated and upskilled.”
One of the ways she said young women can continue their STEM educations is through a program with DeVry University. It’s called the Women+Tech Scholars Program, an innovative program to help women learn the new skills and develop the networking connections they need to launch their digital careers.
“They have an incredible program, where you’re surrounded by other women getting hands-on mentorship, professional experience, credentials. I think for a lot of women, having that peer network is so important,” said Zuckerberg. “And I can’t stress enough how important education and upskilling is because the careers that we’ll all have five years from now don’t even exist today.”
Within the program, there’s a variety of programs depending on if you’re looking to earn a certificate, an Associate or Bachelor’s degree. DeVry University advertises there are three levels to the program that ‘grow’ with you; Scholar, Advocate and Leader. As you progress, you get access to more features, starting with one-on-one resume building and LinkedIn profile tips from your designated career advisor from your first day of class, to mentorship, ongoing job and internship opportunity recommendations to access to leadership courses. DeVry also offers up to $1,500 per semester in scholarships for eligible participants in the program, plus you can get a start quickly, as classes start every eight weeks.
Zuckerberg said no matter your age, education, or personal life situation, investing in a tech career is a great move, especially because women have the opportunity to get into new fields from the ground up, and not have to play catch-up in currently male-dominated fields.
“It’s never too late to start a new career in technology and to to be on the cutting edge of something new. I work a lot these days and Web3 and crypto. I knew nothing about those industries a few years ago. So starting today, you could be a leader and an expert in a new cutting-edge field of tech,” Zuckerberg said. “The great news is, though, a lot of companies saw the value of remote work during the pandemic. And so what it means is that you could basically today work for almost any company from wherever you’re based. That’s a really new phenomenon in the last few years. And it means that opportunities are so much more open to women now, because you have the flexibility, even if, like me, you’re a mom of three, you have caregiving responsibilities, you need a little bit more of a flexible work schedule, you can now have a very meaningful career in technology and still have that. So I think that’s a huge positive that came out of the pandemic.”