A current issue that’s never far from the headlines is the lack of diversity in tech, and in particular, the scarcity of women working in the industry. As we’re always aiming to build a diverse and inclusive culture, it’s an issue we take very seriously. As an accomplished member of the tech community with a good view of the industry, we invited our good friend Sabrina Schmidt to discuss why this might be and how to address it. Sabrina is now Market Director NL & IE at AppNexus and a core member of the Dutch IAB Taskforce Programmatic.
In the first of this two-part guest blog, Sabrina shares how she got into the industry, her experiences being a woman working in tech, and how we should aim to get more young women into the field. In part two of the blog, Sabrina gives her tips on how women and young people can break into the tech industry and what they should be aware of going in.
I’ve always been passionate about the different methods of brand communication. I’ve worked in marketing/media since 2004 in Germany, and now work at AppNexus in the Netherlands. I first took the lead on a programmatic project back in 2013 when I worked at IDG Germany. I was immediately excited about it, as to me, it seemed like a very logical progression; everything was becoming more digital and automated, and now the way media was traded would also change significantly. The manual operations and the lack of actionable data in our industry were old fashioned and limiting. I invested time to learn about the technical, operational and commercial part of programmatic advertising and decided to focus my career and expertise in this area.
In some ways, I do believe that working in tech is more difficult for women. Automation and data are very logical and technical topics which are not always qualities women are associated with, and it can be difficult to overcome that assumption. Sometimes there can be personality clashes – nothing major – but highly technical people can often be quite introverted, rational and may take a different approach than I naturally would. These interactions have required me, and I’m sure many other women in similar positions, to adjust and learn how to deal with that way of thinking and operating.
At the start of the tech wave, it did seem to be harder for women to enter the field or to get involved, but that has definitely changed in the meantime. We’re now seeing many high-level professional, leading and visionary woman in the tech industry. There are special events, awards and associations for women in tech, which also have the support of many men in the industry. Some companies, including AppNexus, started initiatives to increase the female ratio in their leadership teams to support diversity.
There have also been situations where I think being a woman has made some things easier. Many women do seem to have helpful and nurturing natures; that along with sociability can be very useful when creating new teams. I’ve found these qualities definitely helped me when bringing different personalities together such as commercial and technical folk, which happens a lot in the tech industry.
Often the skillsets and personalities of women and men are different, but the diversity of those skills and personalities are what make tech such a flourishing and exciting field to be a part of. Almost every industry is impacted by technological development, so it is essential that young people understand the importance of it at a very early stage. We should inspire them and show them the possibilities regarding their professional education and career.
At the heart of it, regardless of whether you’re male or female, you always have to work hard for your reputation and it is your own responsibility to get recognised, be valued and trusted. To be seen professional by others and to not let yourself lead or influence by obstacles. It’s about finding your personal balance between professional goals and private life.
Look out for part two of this guest blog next week where Sabrina gives her tips for women looking to enter the tech world and why it’s the coolest place to be.
[The views expressed here are those of our guest blogger and do not necessarily represent Bannerconnect]