In the shoes of a Woman in Tech who does not code

By Teresa Stephenson

It's hard to know exactly where you belong when you work in tech and aren't 'technical'. Take me – I work directly with Google Cloud, but I’m an alliances and partnerships expert, so I’m the one bringing together the right teams at PA and Google to get the best results. And that means I’ve struggled with the notion of "am I truly a woman in tech if I don't even know how to code?" 

The answer, obviously, is of course I am. There's more to tech than coding. 

The reality is that no business needs only engineers or technical talent to be successful. They need business and operations managers, marketers, salespeople, financiers, customer success leaders, user experience experts, business analysts, IT teams – and the list goes on. I’ve been a sales and business exec for seven years. 

We’re losing a lot of creative and curious women and girls to other industries by not clearly articulating the roles in which they can thrive without being technical. When we cherish coding, for example, over the other skills needed to enter the world of technology, we reduce the number of opportunities young women see. While we should encourage girls to pursue coding if they’re interested, we also need to encourage them to explore all angles of opportunity that the technology industry can bring. 

We see a lot of girls wanting to be doctors, CEOs, actors or teachers because they’ve seen women in these roles in the media. This is amazing, but do they know what’s available to them in tech? I hope that by talking about other opportunities, we’ll start to see more variety in the roles girls and women pursue. 

The great thing about these non-technical roles is that most of the time the conversation centres around the application of the technology and the business value rather than the how the technology actually works. This means you can apply a creative mindset developed during an arts or language degree to your work.

That’s now where I find myself, excitedly working with Google Cloud and PA clients to answer questions like: how can data and artificial intelligence help support your customers and staff, save you money and increase your revenue streams? Or: how can technology help build a positive human future? In answer to these, we’ve explored chatbots that support the elderly in care homes, vision technology that can create a new and improved checkout experience at retailers, and machine learning that can help improve the time medical researchers spend searching the right data. Obviously, I don’t do this alone – I work with brilliant tech folk to bring this to life. 

Simply being in the tech realm helps expose women to new opportunities to learn and push their careers forward. They can explore themselves creatively while supported and, more often than not, led by a wonderfully innovative technical team. 

That's why, as part of my role in PA's Women in Tech team, I want to work with other like-minded organisations that are encouraging diverse and inclusive workplaces for all. If this is also a passion of yours or your organisation, please reach out to me. We have plenty of speaking, coaching and mentoring opportunities that we can discuss. 

And for women like me who are already in the technical field but aren’t technical - Why are you still a woman in tech? Your creative influence is what unlocks the transformational business value of technology.

About the authors

Teresa Stephenson PA Google partnership manager

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