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.
This is the second of our two part guest blog with Sabrina. In this instalment, Sabrina shares her best tips for young women looking to break into the tech industry and what you should be aware of going in. Read part one here, where Sabrina tells 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.
The ‘nerdy’ image of technology and data might put some girls and women off pursuing a career in the ad tech industry, but there are many amazing opportunities in our field, I feel this is a terrible waste. We’re at a point where we have many exceptional female engineers, data scientists and commercial strategists in our industry, and the need for these skills is ever increasing. Initiatives from reputable companies like Google and AppNexus not only stimulate and increase the female employee rate, they also focus on career advancement. Ultimately, I would say women are very welcome in the tech industry these days and there is nothing that should hold young women back from participating. In short, my advice to young women looking to get into the field is stay informed, fail and learn, build and foster your network, and celebrate the little victories.
#1. Stay informed
Tech has shaped the media industry as a whole and therefore the required expertise. There are definitely greater career opportunities out there for people with expertise in ad-tech or marketing data analysis. My experience in this area opened doors which otherwise would have been closed.
Tech is evolving fast and I learnt that if you want to grow personally and professionally, you have to invest constantly in your knowledge to become – and stay – an expert, and you have to be flexible. You need to be able to adjust to the dynamic industry and therefore align your abilities and priorities.
Invest time in research, check business websites, curate an informative Twitter feed and read books about innovative topics and the advertising industry in general. Participate in workshops, webinars, events and conferences to spot market-trends or challenges and to get inspiration. Check the start-up industry for acquisitions or funding; there you’ll find a good indication of what’s new, up and coming, or what currently moves the market.
#2. Fail and Learn
There is no success without failure. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, try things out to make mistakes. But be aware of them, acknowledge them as quick as possible and then avoid repeating them. It is important to grow from both.
#3. Build and foster your network
Speak up to colleagues, your boss or clients about your ideas. Make sure you are talking to the right people, to either get you the information or the business you are looking for. Your contacts can also help you or introduce you to others. Use social business platforms like LinkedIn or Twitter, know and follow the industry leaders and also be active and create awareness for yourself within your network. If you are lucky, you’ll find yourself a mentor who will support and advise you.
#4. Celebrate little victories
Proud moments can come from little things, like getting a compliment from someone you admire, a LinkedIn request that brings new opportunity, or when you see that your contribution in a project brought a new product or service to life. Take pride in all the little things that lead to you hitting your bigger goals; it keeps you positive and motivated to keep achieving bigger and better things.
What I love about my job is to be part of this dynamic industry and to drive change, to explore new methods and the opportunities that ad tech brings. There are so many great people, ideas, tools and companies out there who inspire you to think outside the box, to try things out and to make great things happen. This industry just finished building the structure, the basics. Now we really have to bring it to the next level, unify all the data and technology, bring relevant advertising to consumers and complete the view a brand has on their customers. Why wouldn’t you want to be part of that revolution?!
Did you love these tips? If you haven’t already, check out part one of this guest blog where Sabrina describes the challenges and advantages of being a woman in ad-tech.
[The views expressed here are those of our guest blogger and do not necessarily represent Bannerconnect]