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August 6, 2023 - 7 minutes

Navigating a Global Classroom: Embracing Diversity in a Tech-Driven World

Diversity is playing an increasingly bigger role in tech, but there’s still things to be done. 

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The opportunity to go abroad to study is quite the tempting one. After all, who doesn’t want to make new friends, maybe learn a new language, and make some unforgettable memories? And while going abroad to study brings a lot of benefits, there are a good amount of unforeseen challenges that come from studying in a new place. What if the new place’s dress code is completely different? Or their way of greeting each other is extremely informal to you? These might seem minor, but when you add up a whole bunch of cultural differences, it can create quite the challenge.

That’s why we’ve created this guide: we want to give you the necessary tips and tricks to embracing diversity in your global and international classroom, permitting you to take full advantage of said diversity–while being respectful. 

The Different Kinds of Diversity You May Encounter

When you hear the word “diversity,” you may think uniquely of racial or ethnic diversity–and with good reason; it’s one of the most frequent reasons we use the word diversity. But the truth is that diversity can come in many different forms and all can have an effect on the way we act and, of course, our classroom. Let’s check out the seven main kinds of diversity: 

  • Cultural diversity: cultural diversity is quite common and refers to the ethnicity of people and the customs/norms they’ve learned from their specific culture, which affect how they act and can differ significantly from other cultures. 

  • Racial diversity: racial diversity is based on physical traits and is one of the most highlighted kinds of diversity because it’s something that can be noticed by sight. 

  • Religious diversity: religious diversity refers to both religious beliefs and the lack thereof. 

  • Age diversity: age diversity includes both people of different ages and generations. 

  • Gender diversity: gender diversity includes both differences between male and female employees, and also employees that are trans, non-binary, or have a changing gender identity. 

  • Sexual orientation diversity: frequently conflated with gender diversity, sexual orientation is completely different, and refers to the sexual orientation of people, not their gender identity. 

  • Disability diversity: disability diversity refers to people with all kinds of disability, such as physical, mental, visual, or hearing. 

The general understanding when it comes to diversity is that it is something that should be celebrated; however, that’s easier said than done. Finding a way to mesh all sorts of different students into one classroom where people of different cultural backgrounds, ages, or disabilities can learn in the same way is nearly impossible. But creating a welcoming and diverse classroom in tech, however, is doable. 

Why is diversity important? 

No matter where you grew up or your personal experiences, we’re sure you had a moment where you realized that someone else has had a completely different experience than you. And this is precisely why diversity is so important, especially in the classroom: 

  • Diversity contributes to better decision-making: if you’re just thinking about things from your perspective, you’re probably going to miss including the perspective of other groups that could be valuable customers for your company. 

  • Diversity improves individual and personal growth, pushing people to think about things in new ways and further develop their empathy.

  • Diversity improves overall performance–yes, research shows that diverse teams outperform non-diverse groups, thanks to their ability to use more varied experiences and skills to reach their goals. 

  • Diversity helps companies create services that meet the needs of diverse communities, therefore better serving the public and expanding their customers. 

We could go on and on but here’s the key: diversity, especially in the classroom, is absolutely essential. Let’s dive right into creating space for and encouraging diversity in the classroom and how we can use diversity to enhance learning. 

Diversity in the Classroom 

As you know, working towards creating a diverse classroom can yield lots of benefits for all students--but how can you do it as both an educator or a student? Follow these steps: 

  1. Take the time to get to know all students: as we mentioned above, some kinds of diversity are visible to the naked eye, but others aren’t. To ensure that all students are being heard and their needs are met, taking the time to talk to and understand where each student comes from can help you interact and bond with them later on. As students begin to feel that they’re in a safe and comfortable environment, they’ll be more likely to share their personal experiences, enriching the overall classroom. 

  2. Maintain your connections throughout the entire course/semester: part of creating a welcoming and inviting space is ensuring that students feel that they are valued because of who they are, not because of what makes them different. If you only engage with diverse students when it’s needed for a lesson or to get something out of them, or worse, to tokenize them, it will have the opposite effect. Remember to respect people’s differences and appreciate them, without making this diversity the entire identity of this person. 

  3. Set clear guidelines for the classroom: both instructors and students can take the initiative to set rules for the semester, establishing ground rules about what kind of language/treatment isn’t acceptable and having a zero tolerance policy for any sort of hostility. 

  4. Ensure that people’s diversities are taken into account: if you have people with physical diversities, try to limit the amount of movement you require in classes; if you have people who are speaking their second language, make sure you talk clearly and offer any extra assistance if needed. Creating inclusive and safe environments means taking people’s diversities into account before class to ensure that there are no issues. 

If you follow these steps, creating an inclusive and safe classroom is totally possible. And thankfully, tech is becoming one of the most diverse sectors, meaning your students will benefit from diverse classrooms when they work in diverse tech companies. 

Diversity in Tech

Tech companies need diverse teams and there’s simply no argument against it. In order to create products and services that truly serve the public, diverse voices have to have a seat at the table. An added focus on diversity in the technology sector will lead to:

  • Better products and services: we’re not saying men can never create well-working products for women, but it’s true that products and services designed by the people who will be using them will reflect the true needs of that group. 

  • Expanded candidate pools: companies that require candidates to live in expensive cities or have certain degrees eliminate entire groups of people right off the back; by introducing inclusive practices into their hiring process, companies can open their doors up to so many candidates that had been previously ignored. 

  • Better problem-solving abilities: have you ever been completely stumped over a problem, only to ask a colleague and friend and be presented with a great solution? Well, this happens frequently and it’s actually pretty normal. In fact, teams with diverse members are more likely to overcome challenges and have better overall performances. 

Alright, we’ve convinced you: guaranteeing diversity in tech is definitely necessary. And there’s no better way to encourage diversity in tech than with bootcamps. Don’t believe us? Here’s what you need to know. 

Bootcamps & Diversity 

A huge barrier to reaching full inclusion and diversity in the tech sector is access. For a long time, tech roles were exclusively for those who had advanced degrees in tech fields, could complete internships, and lived in expensive cities. This severely limited the groups of people that could get into the field; today, however, the introduction of bootcamps has led to an entirely new group of people with access to the field. 

Here’s what bootcamps offer everyone:

  • Financing options: bootcamps are much more affordable than long, four year degrees, not to mention some even allow you to study part-time and keep your current job. And for the cost that it does entail, lots offer financing options such as scholarships, government grants, income share agreements, and payment plans. 

  • Flexible schedules: lots of people, especially parents, have at-home responsibilities such as childcare or familial duties, which might limit their abilities to attend a long program during the day. However, lots of bootcamps are offered remotely and part-time, giving people the option to fit in classes around their preexisting responsibilities. 

  • Career services: bootcamps are designed with one cause in mind: landing you a job as soon as possible following graduation. The vast majority of bootcamps offer career services, which can help you finetune your interviewing skills, work on your applications, and edit your CV. 

  • Updated and accurate curriculum: bootcamps don’t exist to waste your time; they exist to teach you exactly what you need to know to succeed in your chosen field. That’s why they’re so intensive and short–your curriculum is constantly updated and refreshed to ensure you’re studying exactly what hiring managers are looking for. 

The tech industry has started to even out in recent years, thanks in part to the introduction of bootcamps and an enthused effort to prioritize diversity and inclusion efforts across the board. But there’s still a lot to be done and the change begins with each and every one of us. Are you up for the challenge? Then we’ll see you in class.

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Eliminate all harmful gender-based practices, like early or forced marriages and female genital mutilation. Recognize and value unpaid care and domestic work through public services and public protection policies that promote shared parental responsibility. Ensure the full and effective participation and equal leadership opportunities for women in all levels in political, economic, and public life. Ensure universal access to sexual and reproductive health education and rights. Undertake reforms to provide women with equal rights to economic resources and access to ownership and control over land, financial services, and inheritances and natural resources. Use technology to promote female empowerment. Adopt and strengthen policies and legislations to enforce gender equality protection for all women and girls. The Gender Gap in Tech Gender-based digital exclusion has serious effects on society and the tech industry itself. “Hurdles to access, affordability, (lack of) education and skills and technological literacy, and inherent gender biases and socio- cultural norms, are at the root of gender-based digital exclusion. Enhanced, safer and more affordable access to digital tools is critical, as are policy interventions addressing long-term structural biases.” The first matter regarding gender equality is its ethical and just implications. A more equal world, however, could bring about benefits in lots of areas, especially global economics; research shows that a smaller gender gap improves global GDP, increases productivity, and promotes innovation . Need more convincing? Empowered women have been shown to: Increase consumer spending Improve decision-making processes Encourage more inclusive societies Increase sustainability efforts The IMF reports: “We know that in countries with greater gender inequality just closing the gap in women’s labor force participation could increase economic output by an average of 35 percent [...] In Norway, the expansion of universal child care increased the likelihood of mothers’ employment by 32 percentage points.” The World Bank’s Gender Employment Gap Index (GEGI) reports that if the gender gap were closed and men and women had equal access to paid employment, GDP per capita could increase by almost 20% . But in tech specifically, the gender gap is quite wide in four areas: internet use and access, digital skills and tools, STEM participation, and tech sector leadership and entrepreneurship. The gender gap and internet usage Internet usage is key to providing women with more opportunities, in tech and other areas. Europe and the American continents have the highest rates of internet usage and have reached gender parity or are very close to it; however, almost half the world’s population doesn’t have internet access. The majority of this group is made up of women in underdeveloped nations. Universal internet access is one of the UN’s SDGs and is absolutely essential to closing the gap. Worldwide access could provide women with educational options, widened healthcare, and more opportunities. The gender gap and digital skills Digital skills aren’t required for just tech jobs; everyone needs digital skills to fully participate in society and access financial services, educational opportunities, healthcare services, and more. But the gender gap could be shrunk even further if women had the same advanced digital skills to meet the gaps in the tech market. As the Digital SME Alliance reports: “Gender inequalities are most pronounced in disruptive tech skills, which are strongly requested in emerging sectors like AI, robotics and cloud computing. According to the World Economic Forum, women make up only 26% of AI jobs globally. The situation is even more dire in cloud and data, where the numbers are 15% and 12% respectively.” The digital economy is advancing rapidly and tech professionals are needed in practically every industry. Ensuring digital skill access will help achieve gender parity and improve the global economy. The gender gap and STEM participation Globally speaking, women have almost reached parity in their studies: undergraduate education (45%-55%), graduate education (53%), and PhD studies (43%). However, they only make up 35% of STEM students . This is problematic for two main reasons: one, STEM fields are rapidly gaining importance and if women aren’t studying them, they won’t be able to access jobs in those industries. Second, STEM jobs are some of the best-paid positions worldwide and if women don’t have access to those because they lack the necessary education or skills, the gender pay gap will only increase. We can equate the lack of women in STEM to these three causes: a lack of self-confidence, stereotypes of tech workers, and a male-dominated culture . These 2020 statistics help highlight the severity of this gap: Women made up just 16% of bachelor degree recipients in computer and information services, 21% in engineering, 27% in economics, and 38% in physical sciences. Women hold less than 20% of tech leadership roles. Only 19% of senior vice presidents and 15% of CEOs are women. 39% of women in tech see gender bias as a hindrance to getting a promotion. 34% of Apple’s employees are female but only 24% of their technical roles are held by women. During the COVID-19 pandemic, women were nearly twice as likely to either leave their jobs, be furloughed, or be fired. The gender gap and tech leadership and entrepreneurship As we already discussed obstacles that women entering the tech field face, this section will center on the problems that those already in the industry see, especially when up for promotion. Frequently, women face problems that men don’t even consider, such as taking on caregiving responsibilities, lacking role models and other women in similar roles, and greater pressure to prove their skills. Even though women make up 40% of global early-stage entrepreneurs , men still tend to start more businesses than women. Surveying entrepreneurs helped us learn that women are more likely to start a business due to making a difference or job scarcity while men do it to build wealth or continue a family tradition. In tech startups, only 2.7% women are involved, compared to 4.7% of men. The Gender Gap by Country Global statistics can help us get an idea of the overall gender gap in tech, but it’s essential to look at country-by-country data to get a more accurate picture of each market, its areas of improvement, and specific things to do to reach gender parity. The United Kingdom Five million people work in the tech industry in the UK but only 17% of those roles are held by women. When looking at the UK’s entire workforce, however, women make up 49% of all workers. This difference between the number of employed women and women employed in tech is precisely what we call the gender gap . This issue starts before women even enter the workforce - just 35% of higher education STEM students in the UK are women. Looking at this issue, we can separate three causes: Girls are less likely to choose to study STEM . This comes down to a few reasons: in such a man-heavy industry, girls don’t see role models or a place for themselves. Teachers are also ill-prepared to show girls the possibilities of tech roles and therefore aren’t even encouraged to promote girls in STEM. 33% of men had a technology career suggested to them and just 16% of women can say the same. Girls aren’t considering a tech career. Girls are more likely than boys to consider their future career when choosing their A-levels and when they don’t see a tech career as a possibility, they don’t take STEM courses. There’s a lack of female role models . Representation is absolutely essential; girls who don’t see female leaders in tech and instead see a vast majority of men won’t feel like a tech career is for them. And these numbers directly correlate to salaries. According to the UK Tech Workplace Equality Report , the average salary for male tech workers is £ 66,000 and £ 63,000 for women. To combat this gap and encourage more women to join the tech industry, some British companies have hired empowerment mentors to help women gain confidence when applying for jobs, ask for the right salary, speak up about harassment or other issues, and start new jobs. However, this isn’t a personal decision that women are making; it’s a systemic societal issue and for this to be fixed, a proactive approach by society as a whole is required. The United States The US tech market employs just 26% women , despite a nearly equal divide in the total workforce (49%). And despite the fact that 45% of STEM majors were women in 2020, only 22% and 20% graduated with a degree in engineering and computer science, respectively. Two years of collected data can help us determine where this problem originates: There are few female role models . Since the tech industry is largely run and made up of men, girls don’t see themselves as future tech workers. Stereotypes are prevalent in tech . Lots of girls are steered away from tech due to stereotypes and ideas that tech is a career for men and they should choose “feminine” paths. 44% of women surveyed between 18 and 28 years old were never given information or resources about getting into tech; just 33% of men said the same. The STEM industry is hostile for women . Women in STEM report feeling isolated, being the target of microaggressions, and having lower confidence in the workplace. In addition to not having their opinions heard at work, these are all reasons why women don’t choose tech or decide to leave the industry. Another problem occurs when women actually reach the workforce. 38% of women with computer science degrees are working in the industry, compared to 53% of men; engineering has similar data. Women also feel that the glass ceiling, a metaphorical barrier that prevents women and minorities from advancing like men, is stopping them from holding leadership roles. 48% of women account for entry-level hires but just 40% of first-level managers; this gap continues to grow as the leadership role gains more importance. However, the data is promising. The National Science Foundation reports that more women than ever before are earning STEM degrees . As Gen Z enters college and then the workforce, we can expect to see more and more women joining the tech industry, thanks to their status as the first digital native generation. Spain In Spain, only 20.6% of tech workers are women. And in the tech sector, the number of professionals needed doubles every year, leaving a wide gap for women to get into tech. But in Spain, women earn 9.4% less than men ; it may not seem like that much, but that means that they work for free 34 days annually. As we’ve mentioned, the lack of women in tech stems from problems that occur long before women enter the workforce . Only 35% of higher education STEM students are women and just 3% study Information and Communication Technology and related subjects. Women made up 55.3% of all students from 2020-2021 but just 29% of them were in engineering programs and 13.4% in computer science programs. Interestingly enough, however, science is a female-dominated field in Spain . 75% of biomedicine students, 68.7% of medicine, 65.8% of biochemistry, and 61.7% of biotechnology students are women. In tech careers specifically, however, 87% of men are in telecommunications, 74% in industrial, and 73% in physics. This large distinction is due to differences in socialization for boys and girls; strong gender stereotypes dominate young Spanish children’s lives and boys are expected to invent and calculate while girls take on a more caring role. Women make up just 20% of the Spanish startup ecosystem and that number hasn’t changed over the past eight years. 51% of women are serial entrepreneurs; 62% are men. 42% of women have failed in a previous entrepreneurial venture and only 24% record having successfully sold a startup, compared to 33% of men. Spain, however, has the most female FinTech startup executives in Europe (25%). Spain is taking real steps to close the gender gap; in 2012, there was an 18.7% wage gap, nearly 10% higher than what it is today. And the Spanish government is also working to guarantee equal pay through its Real Decreto 902/2020 , which educates workers about the pay gap and wage discrimination, opening every company up to transparency. Germany 17% of German tech jobs are held by women, even though women and men are nearly equal in the general workforce. And despite making up more than half of the university population (52%), women only make up 35% of STEM students. Negative stereotypes contribute to German women’s reluctance to enter the tech industry, in addition to lower levels of digitalization for women which has the following effects: Limited information access Complicated job opportunities Reduced industry efficiency Increased gap between different socioeconomic groups Increased risk for cybercrimes A survey by Microsoft tells us that girls are interested in STEM at age 11 but have a change of heart by age 15; the main reason for this switch is a lack of role models. In addition, the gender wage gap in Germany is one of the worst in Europe; male tech workers earn approximately €15,000 more per year than female coworkers in the same role. In the engineering sector, for example, experts believe that women are socially conditioned to choose lower-paying industries and are more willing to accept part-time jobs . Women are also leaving the tech industry earlier than men; by the age of 45, only 9% of women are still in their tech field. In the startup ecosystem, German women struggle with receiving funding and receiving support to help them manage their work-life balance. In fact, 63% of startups are entirely founded by men and just 6% of female founders are active business angels. What Germany now requires is an equality-centered approach that focuses on eliminating both structural and cultural barriers for women. Portugal A key detail in Portuguese workforce data is that the pay gap between men and women in tech and men and women in all industries is quite similar, meaning choosing a tech career is not as financially risky of a decision as in other countries. Although the wage gap isn’t as severe as it is in other countries, male tech employees average 16% higher salaries than women in the same roles. This deters women from joining the industry: just 18% of tech professionals are women; many cite limited growth opportunities and low salaries as reasons for either avoiding the industry or leaving it. Many of its neighboring countries severely lack female representation in STEM courses in higher education, but Portugal actually has a female-majority of STEM-enrolled students , at 57%. However, this percentage lowers as the courses become more advanced and students report not feeling included or integrated into the courses. Similarly, students reported working in departments with one to two women for every ten men and 10% work in a department with zero women. Groups like Portuguese Women in Tech and the PWIT Salary Transparency Project are working to both close these gaps and educate the general population about these issues; these problems stem from an overall lack of diversity in the workplace and as tech continues to propel Portugal’s economy forward, women will play a key role. The Netherlands Long viewed as a male-dominated field, the tech industry in the Netherlands is beginning to open up to women. In the digital industry, women represent 38% of the total workforce ; this number falls to just 18% in the IT sector. And just 36% of women hold leadership roles (25% of those are CEOs). For entrepreneurs, this number has risen from 2% to 8% since 2005. Secrecy clouding diversity, inclusion, and salaries doesn’t help the Dutch tech sector attract women, either. 88% of companies don’t report salaries and 99% don’t have a public strategy on how to close the gender wage gap in the Netherlands. Not being forthcoming about pay, equality practices, and company diversity can promote stereotypes, myths, and inaccurate information and further deter women from entering the tech industry. The Netherlands suffer from specific societal views and norms about gender, education, and career choices that severely limit womens’ options. Curiously enough, women-dominated industries like healthcare (70%) and education (48%) boast mainly women working part-time and more than half of those working part time do so because of childcare obligations, housework, and informal care ; only 27% men say the same. These societal views also impact the educational choices young Dutch students make; the Netherlands has one of the lowest numbers of women in STEM in Europe and the lack of female role models makes joining the tech sector largely unappealing to women, in addition to long-held stereotypes or sexist beliefs. Although it may seem like these problems are insurmountable, the key to success in the Dutch tech industry lies with women. If women joined the workforce at the same rate as men, the national GDP could grow by €100 billion . To achieve this, PwC suggests establishing networking options for women in the industry, reskilling female talent, sharing success stories for female role models, promoting inclusive environments, and focusing on hiring and training women for tech roles. Brazil Although Brazil can say that 39% of roles within the tech industry are held by women, there’s an important distinction to be made: only 20% hold tech-related positions and the majority work in support or administrative roles. Until 1964 , Brazilian women didn’t have access to their finances and couldn’t even have an ID until 1963, therefore limiting their access to bank accounts; financial independence is still something to which Brazilian women are getting accustomed. Due to strong social stereotypes, the Brazilian tech industry lacks both gender and racial diversity; Black women are extremely underrepresented. But studies show that more diverse and inclusive offices are overall more productive and positive, where employees feel valued and empowered. Just like lots of Latin American countries, Brazil’s stereotypes are strong and hard to change: women are expected to become nurses and men engineers. In 2019, just 26% of graduates in STEM fields were women. Here are some changes companies could undertake to promote diversity and inclusion: Ensuring job descriptions use inclusive language Conducting anonymous interviews to remove any conscious or unconscious bias Providing training to help employees identify and report incidences Promoting work/life balance, which helps women feel that they are not missing out on home responsibilities if they choose to work The truth is that these techniques won’t just help women; they’ll improve the overall workplace experience and job satisfaction for all. And when it comes to female leadership, there are 20 times more male-founded companies than those founded by women and women-founded ones grow much slower and are limited in what they achieve. An imbalance of women in leadership positions can make it harder for younger girls to see themselves in tech and choose to study STEM-related fields. But women need more than just a nudge to get into tech; Brazilian girls need to receive the proper training and empowerment to see that they belong in tech and see that both success and leadership options are a true possibility for them. France Despite the never before seen growth of the French tech scene and wide talent shortage, female workers make up just 20% of total industry workers . This is an improvement from 2020 where the percentage sat at just 17% , but there’s still a long way to go. Just 12% of French startup founders are women and just 11% hold a c-suite role; the money they receive to fund their startups is also less than male-founded startups, which doesn’t encourage women to jump into tech entrepreneurship. In addition, 46% of women in tech report experiencing sexist behavior , such as gender-based mockery and the lack of women in tech generally creates less innovation and a less inclusive culture. Others fear imposter syndrome, the feeling of not belonging, or facing unfair stereotypes. However, organizations such as La French Tech are working to combat this with their 2022 Parity Pact which aims to ensure the following in their member companies: Reaching a minimum threshold of 20% of women on the company’s board by 2025 and 40% by 2028. Training 100% of managers on diversity and inclusion and how to fight discrimination and harassment. Guaranteeing that 100% of published job descriptions are aimed for men and women. And starting in 2023, companies applying to join the French Tech Next 40/120, large companies with the potential to enter the CAC 40 stock index, must commit to working to improve gender inequality and receive gender equality monitoring. Mexico In Mexico, the gender gap in tech stems from a much more systemic problem: digital skill and internet access to the general population and, of course, women. When compared to other countries on gender gaps in tech, Mexico scored well below the global average. This is because state-by-state, digital access varies significantly with rural areas experiencing extremely low levels of access. Men generally have more digital skills than women and this goes from basic to advanced, sending an email to coding. And for women over 36, the gap expands even further ; however, girls and women between 16 and 25 are the most digitally literate, creating the perfect opportunity to welcome more women into tech . Only 12% of university tech graduates are women and only 10% of women who graduate with a degree in a STEM-related field actually work in it. In Mexico, 44% of women are in the workforce , compared to 77% of men; regarding management roles, only 9% of digital and tech companies have women in leadership roles and 23% have a female co-founder. And the outlook isn’t that much more positive on the salary front: male software developers can make 26% more than women with the same skills and experience. We can attribute this lack of women in the workforce to a few factors: Financial independence : few women boast financial independence in Mexico and taking an extra course or starting a new job would mean shirking on their childcare or family care responsibilities. COVID : Mexico lost 1.1 million employers due to COVID and women bore the brunt of lots of layoffs, in addition to taking on additional family care responsibilities. Non-paid domestic work : studies show that Mexican women across all socio-economic statuses dedicate more than 30 hours weekly to non-remunerated domestic work and care. Despite the troubles facing Mexican women in tech, many organizations are taking the next step to reach gender parity. The Women in Digital Award was first awarded on March 8, 2022 to president Salma Jalife Villalón of Centro México Digital, which publishes annual reports about the digital and tech industry. The Confederación Patronal de la República Mexicana provides scholarships to women to encourage remote work and developing digital skills; NIÑASTEM PUEDEN works to promote tech among young girls and Codigo X works with all levels of education to encourage women and girls to participate in tech. Women in Tech are the Future It can be daunting to take that first step into tech, especially as a woman. But don’t stress; it’s a great choice that will benefit both you and future generations of women in tech. If you don’t know where to start, take a look at some of the things you can do to get into tech: Create a strong network : use LinkedIn, your university connections, or people you already know in tech to help you gain confidence, get advice, and receive support from women already in tech. Be persistent and resilient : there will be challenges along the way and you might feel discouraged at times but remember to ask for help, keep learning, and continue pursuing your goals. Remember that you belong in technology: women are meant to be in tech and every field. Even if you can’t see as many, they’re there and eager for you to join. Advocate for yourself: know your worth and ask for promotions, raises, new opportunities, and any other thing you want on the job. You belong in tech and can achieve anything. And as you can see, the problems that women in tech face differ from country to country but there are overall themes that are constant across the globe. We spoke to some international experts about seven of the biggest challenges worldwide and what society can focus on to address them. Eliminating gender biases from childhood The gender gap begins in childhood and in very innocuous ways: giving girls dolls to play with and boys cars and legos encourages different behaviors and therefore conditions the way in which girls and boys choose their future career paths. When children see a majority of nursing or caregiver roles held by women and STEM and critical thinking roles held by men, they’ll assume that’s their path as well. Men are frequently given the most risky roles as well in group activities, giving women “safer” tasks such as organization, design, or details. Many countries have already placed a focus on this, but ensuring that children are raised in a more gender-neutral environment without societal-based gender expectations can help expand children’s minds and prepare them to take on whatever role they desire. Build womens’ self-confidence Here’s a quick stat: women tend to apply to jobs only where they are sure they meet at least 90% of the requirements; men apply even if they don’t meet them. This could stem back to societal expectations; men are encouraged to take risks and not be afraid of failure, women are more cautious. In addition, women can be faced with different kinds of scrutiny at work and asked about their family plans, marital status, or other questions that are reserved for just women. An increased focus on impartiality in the interview process and inclusive language could help women feel more comfortable when approaching new situations. And companies that offer maternity and paternity leave, supporting both parents equally, can help fight stereotypes. Create more female tech role models Women lack role models and examples of successful tech women; when women see the biggest tech companies with a male-dominated staff, it can be tough to feel encouraged. However, women’s associations and communities can help women connect with other female tech employees and access resources, tools, and mentoring programs. Companies can also work to give women more opportunities, offer scholarships, and provide mentorship connections to women. Create healthy work/life balances Women are disproportionately affected by domestic and family-related responsibilities and this can cause them to work part-time or leave the workforce entirely. Providing women with hybrid or remote options, in addition to childcare and flexible parental leave, could make tech roles an option for many more women. The gender gap in tech can be intimidating but here’s the key: it’s improving worldwide and more and more countries are taking action to ensure that all women have access to tech education and the same career opportunities as men. Women in tech are the future and here’s a fact: achieving gender parity in tech and all areas will improve overall life for everyone in every sector. At Ironhack, we're dedicated to helping more and more women enter the tech sector. Interested in being part of the change? You're in the right place.

  • 5 minutes

    What Is a Tech Lead?

    Juliette Erath - 2023-06-17


    Web Development

    Interested in being your software team’s go-to for technical questions? Dream of becoming a leader in your department? Excited about utilizing new technologies to guide innovation within your department? If these all sound familiar, then tech lead could be the perfect role for you. In this article, we’ll break down the responsibilities and requirements of a tech lead to figure out if it’s the right fit for you. What Is a Tech Lead? By looking at the term “tech lead,” we can gather two things: they work in both a technical capacity and a leadership position. So then, what does a tech lead do? A technical lead – or tech lead for short – oversees the technical aspects of a software team by making architectural and design decisions, guiding team members in technical matters, and supervising system modifications. Some key job responsibilities of a tech lead include: Establishing project specifications and technical direction Creating a framework of technical standards and procedures Overseeing software quality and system modifications Guiding team members with troubleshooting technical issues Analyzing existing operations to identify risks and redundancies Conducting comprehensive assessments to develop solutions In other words, as a tech lead, you’re basically setting the technical direction of the project and clearing the way of any programming hurdles that may arise, whether it be closing technical knowledge gaps, finding answers to product questions, or streamlining existing operations. As a tech lead, you'll engineer, guide, and implement technical solutions and improvements with the help of your software development team. You can get your hands dirty and do some coding once in a while, but that isn’t your main job responsibility. So, if you’re someone who enjoys both the technical and interpersonal aspects of software development, a tech lead may be the job for you. With Whom do Tech Leads Work? Together with team leads and product owners, tech leads play a leadership role in a software or engineering department; each leader focuses on a different aspect of the production process. A product owner will focus on overall product development and a team lead will focus on people development; a tech lead focuses on technical development. Together, they set the project’s direction and guide the team members to ensure the project’s deliverables are fulfilled. Some essential members of the software development team include: Product Owner : leads product development to fulfill client’s requirements Team Lead/ Engineering Manager: guides team through development process Project Manager: oversees the development, organization, and delivery of a product Software Developer : designs and develops software to fit the users’ needs Quality Assurance Engineer: confirms developed solution fits specifications Software Tester: executes tests to ensure solutions fit performance and security demands UX/UI Designer: designs features to enhance customer experience and interaction A software team works together to ensure the smooth delivery of a product;as a tech lead, you must be able to balance priorities, communicate clear goals, and make apt decisions , all while taking into account your team’s capabilities and the product’s deliverables. Since each position on the team has some involvement in the technical operation, you must make sure that each team member has a handle on their portion of the software development process to ensure the delivered product meets the client’s expectations. What Skills Do Tech Leads Need? A tech lead can be considered a leader, developer, and architect all in one, which defines their essential skill set: As a leader , they supervise team members, delegate tasks, issue feedback, evaluate risks, and resolve conflicts. As a developer , they apply programming tools, utilize design patterns, perform automated testing, and refactor code. As an architect , they perform technical assessments, oversee development lifecycles, direct release management, and adhere to federal regulations. As you can see, tech leads must not only have the technical expertise to develop products, but have the people skills to lead teams as well. Some crucial skills of a tech lead include: Communication and leadership Project and crisis management Software architecture and systems testing Technical guidance and decision-making skills Quality assurance Problem solving and innovation Ownership and vision How Can I Become a Tech Lead? You can develop these skills by gaining professional experience along with taking technical and leadership courses. A tech lead isn’t an entry level role; starting off, tech leads often have 5+ years of experience in the field and a bachelor’s degree. But remember, a tech lead also isn’t just a senior software engineer: just focusing on programming knowledge is not going to get you there, you need to build interpersonal skills as well. So, how can you do that? Well: You can apply some professional approaches , such as supporting coworkers, providing technical advice, suggesting new initiatives, creating innovative solutions, and requesting performance-based feedback, to show your resourcefulness while developing new skills. You can use some administrative tools , such as a strengths and weaknesses chart, a professional development plan, and a goal breakdown, to guide your learning and development while focusing on the professional skills you need to reinforce. With a proper plan of attack, you can be well on your way to becoming a tech lead. As you know, the job title has the term “lead” in it, which means it’s considered a senior role – but still a great target position. Since tech leads are considered to be both technical experts and competent supervisors, you’ll need a decent amount of experience first. Our Web Development Bootcamp is a great first step that you can take to establish the essential hard and soft skills needed to form a strong foundation in web development that you can build on with professional experience. Web development has boundless possibilities, with a tech lead being one of them. We can’t wait to see where you go next!

  • 8 minutes

    Common Misconceptions About Tech Bootcamps

    Ironhack - 2023-04-27

    All Courses

    When you begin your journey in a tech bootcamp, you might have a lot of thoughts running through your head: is this the right choice for me? Will this even help me get a job? Can I actually learn enough in such a short period of time? We’ve heard all your questions and have created this guide to tackle each and every one of your doubts. One of the tech industry’s most defining factors is its incredibly fast-moving speed, always developing and introducing new tools and technologies into the sector. This means that when four-year university graduates leave school and enter the workforce, what they’ve learned has already been surpassed by new tools that they don’t know how to manage. And this is a continuous problem that’s constantly repeating itself; tech is evolving rapidly and the industry is already witnessing a large skill gap, which affects the overall efficiency and abilities of the sector. This is where bootcamps come in. Tech Bootcamps: What Even Are They?! Don’t you need a four-year university degree to work in tech?! What is a bootcamp? Well, a bootcamp is a rather new and innovative learning method that exists to provide the next generation of techies with the exact skills they need to enter the workforce. They’re typically completed over the course of a few months in a rather intense manner, looking to provide students with hands-on experience and foundational knowledge. More questions? Let’s get some answers: What subjects do bootcamps cover? Bootcamps usually teach skills that are needed in tech, as tech is one of the fastest moving industries where universities and traditional educational methods struggle to keep up. They usually focus on the foundational knowledge required for very specific roles: let’s take a look at four common sectors: web development, UX/UI design, data analytics, and cybersecurity. Web development bootcamps Possibly one of the most common types of bootcamps, web development bootcamps teach students the basics of coding so that they are prepared to become front end, back end, or full stack developers. Through projects and hands-on experience, students will become familiar with Javascript, Node.js, and MongoBD, among others. UX/UI design bootcamps Students will harness both their logical and creative sides to create intuitive and user-friendly designs in UX/UI-focused bootcamps, learning how to use Figma and understanding the entire product development process. And the best part? You’ll graduate with a portfolio of your own designs to help you land your dream job. Data analytics bootcamps Every good decision is made from looking at data and that’s why data analysts are in such high demand; as we obtain more and more data from an increasing number of sources, companies need experts who know how to interpret, visualize, and present the data to help make the right decisions. You’ll learn Python, Tableau, and SQL queries, in addition to sharpening your critical thinking skills. Cybersecurity bootcamps We’re putting more and more of our personal lives on the internet and this means that hackers and data breaches are also gaining traction; ensuring your team and company data are protected from cyber threats is absolutely crucial. Cybersecurity bootcamp students have the chance to tackle simulations of live attacks to put their skills to the test. How much do bootcamps cost? Just like with basically anything, bootcamp costs vary based on where you are studying, the school itself, and the length of the course. However, this isn’t your generic one-week online courses; most bootcamps boast highly-skilled teachers and teaching assistants, in addition to career support and an extensive alumni network. Certified bootcamps could cost anywhere from $7,000 -  $15,000 and it’s up to you to carefully weigh the benefits and your own financial situation. Some bootcamps offer financial assistance, scholarships, or financing options as well. How long do bootcamps last? Generally designed to be completed intensively over the course of just a few weeks or months, you might be surprised at how short your bootcamp is. However, expect long days, lots of studying outside class hours, and a huge transformation. Some tech schools also offer different schedule options, such as part-time and full-time courses, or even completely remote classes. Consider the time you can realistically dedicate to the course and then pick the best option for you. How do bootcamps differ from other courses? You’ve seen that free YouTube coding course or a how-to guide about Figma, so why not just take those? Well, bootcamps are not like quick online courses; they’re much longer and go into far more detail, providing you with personalized instruction and assistance. Throughout your bootcamp, you’ll be asked to complete projects to put what you’ve learned to work and begin creating your portfolio. Bootcamps differ from university courses in that they are much shorter and more concise; many universities require students to take courses in a wide range of subjects but tech bootcamps teach you exactly what you need to know to enter the workforce immediately after graduation. They’re also constantly updating their curriculum to reflect changes in the tech market to ensure that you’re as prepared as can be. Common Misconceptions about Tech Bootcamps Now that we’ve cleared up what tech bootcamps are, let’s dive into some of the most popular (but out there!) misconceptions about them and what you can really expect. Tech bootcamps won’t actually prepare you to get a job You’ve probably heard this one quite a bit and it’s a legitimate doubt that lots of people have: how can a two/three month course teach me what I need to know to work alongside tech professionals with four-year degrees (at a minimum!)? Well, tech is moving at such a fast pace that universities and traditional schooling methods can’t keep up and tech bootcamps teach students the precise skills they need to know (say goodbye to that Liberal Arts education!), preparing them to fill very specific gaps in the workforce. In addition, the majority offer career assistance to help you polish your CV and portfolio, network, and practice your interview skills. Employers prefer candidates with four-year degrees This might have been true in the past and sure, there are probably some hiring managers that are still stuck in the past. But as the tech workforce gap continues to grow and new technologies enter the picture, employers are focusing more and more on the actual skills that candidates have. You need tech experience to succeed Nope! In fact, one of the best parts of tech bootcamps is the diverse backgrounds and experiences of all students . Well-designed bootcamps will start with an introductory section to provide students with the foundational knowledge needed to succeed and then build from there, understanding that students have little to no experience in the field. You need to give up your current studies/job to complete a bootcamp Wanting or needing to stick with your current job or studies during the bootcamp is completely fair and is something that lots of students consider when contemplating a bootcamp. But bootcamps are designed to benefit you and therefore offer a wide range of options such as part-time classes, weekend classes, or even remote courses. No matter what your current responsibilities are, you’ll be able to find a program that works for you. Bootcamps are too expensive for what they offer Remember that bootcamps are growing in popularity, thanks to their increasing importance in the tech world and this means they are becoming legitimate options for those looking to enter the industry: compare the cost of a bootcamp to the cost of a traditional, four-year degree and you’ll see that it’s a great way to get the knowledge you need at an affordable price. Tech is a man’s world You have a point here. The tech industry is overwhelmingly dominated by men and that’s a fact. But that doesn’t mean women don’t have a place in the sector; in fact, more and more women are getting into tech and working to diversify the industry . And this is just the beginning: lots of tech schools actually offer scholarships to women and other under-represented groups to encourage their enrollment. After all, it’s been proven that women in tech: Provide unique and diverse voices that make tech solutions more accessible and effective for everyone. Serve as mentors to younger girls and women who are either interested in entering the industry or just starting out. Improve overall workplace culture, boast workplace satisfaction , and increase safety in the office. Create better products that center both female and male experiences in the design process, instead of just male ones. Bootcamps aren’t worth it We get it. Bootcamps are extremely time-consuming and intense, meaning you are dedicating a ton of time (and money) to learning a new skill. What if you don’t get a job? What if you don’t like it? These doubts are completely legitimate and are concerns you will have at the beginning. But listen to what we’ve been saying all along: university graduates and current tech professionals are failing to move as fast as new technologies are , leading to a workplace gap that’s growing significantly every single day. If you put the time and effort into the bootcamp, you will receive the knowledge needed to join the workforce, specializing and honing your skills over time. Remember, continuous learning is absolutely essential in the tech world and committing to this journey will benefit your future. Deciding to take the jump into tech through a bootcamp is a big one that should be taken carefully. Do you have the time to dedicate to it? Are you financially stable enough to not work for the period during the bootcamp? Can you commit to completing all the work during the established time frame? These are all key questions to ask yourself before beginning your journey; at Ironhack , we’re here to help you choose the right bootcamp for you at the right time.

  • Ironhack News

    7 minutes

    The 'What Ifs' Of Tech Bootcamps

    Frida Chacin Kulak - 2022-10-09


    All Courses

    If you’re reading this, you’re probably already considering doing a tech bootcamp. Tech ranks at the top of both the fastest growing sectors AND the best paid ones, so it makes total sense that you would consider starting a career in it, or pivoting from your current job. Or not, because turning your entire life upside down sounds absolutely terrifying! So many things could go wrong! But would they, though? Not all of your fears regarding bootcamps are as likely to haunt you as you might think, and we’re here to shine a light on your worst worries and zap them away with facts! What a Tech Bootcamp Is… and Isn’t! If you’re not sure whether a bootcamp is the right option for you, odds are you can find your answers if you dig into it and do your research. Many of the doubts that plague prospective bootcamp students are related to the flexibility before and throughout the process: can I pay in instalments? Will I get help afterwards, or just a diploma and a wave goodbye? If I slip during the course, or crack from the pressure, will someone be there to help me get back on my feet? The answers to most of these questions are kinder than you think. We won’t sugarcoat it: yes, a bootcamp is the most intense type of tech training out there— and yes, you will work your ass off! It’s definitely not for the faint of heart! You can read some of our alumni stories to find out exactly how and why a bootcamp is ‘intensive’, and figure out how much is too much. First and foremost, you must know that you won’t be alone through the process: our priority is that you make it out alive, well, and employed! Because, after a bootcamp, it’s a given that you will have the in-demand tech skills to get the job you always wanted in tech! We don’t want you to start a bootcamp if you’re not completely sure that it’s what you want and what you need, tailored for you. And you can easily find out whether that’s the case: the information is out there— we’ve talked about this a lot (really, a lot); and admissions counsellors are always ready to answer each and every question. But if you’re afraid that you might regret starting a bootcamp, we’ve saved you a lot of trouble and effort, and done the research for you: read on! Are These ‘What Ifs’ Keeping You Up at Night? Like with every significant life choice, you might feel apprehensive at the idea of starting a tech bootcamp, unsure about whether it’ll go well… or terribly wrong! Stop and think: are any of these very common fears getting in your way? “What if I can't afford it?” You might be worried about the cost of a bootcamp! ‘Am I digging my own grave by paying for this?’, you wonder. But a bootcamp is not necessarily a huge upfront investment. Like many other educational, specialised paths (think university!), most if not all bootcamps offer different types of financing options, often tailored to your income and particular needs; and bootcamp admissions teams will help you seek out a solution that works for you, too. When considering whether to invest in a bootcamp, the question you have to answer is this: is the value I will get out of this course worth the cost? Think about what you want to do when you achieve your objective, and how this bootcamp fits into your career goals. Bootcamp alumni who wanted to start a career in tech, pivot to one, or increase their job responsibilities (and pay!) usually achieve this goal! “What if I struggle to manage my time?” Bootcamps are intensive courses, and, therefore, require great time management skills and organisation, especially if you’re working or studying something else at the same time. So naturally, you might be afraid to not be up for the challenge, and end up dead on your feet with an unfinished bootcamp. We can never say it enough: ask about it! Before you sign up for a bootcamp, counsellors should be able to dispel all of your worries. You wouldn’t be the first one to struggle with time management— bootcamps always have measures in place to help out students who are having a hard time. It’s supposed to be intense, yes, but not an ordeal! Ask for what you need, and you will get help: guaranteed. “What if I can't keep up, and fail?” A bootcamp isn’t like a shooting game at the fair— oops, you missed, try again from the start! From the syllabus to the personalised attention, bootcamps are purposefully designed for you to thrive, passing assignments with flying colours and learning practical skills for good. So if you find it difficult to keep up, you won’t be left behind: you will get the help you need. To ensure this, bootcamps are designed to be beginner-friendly, to give everyone enough time to acquire tech expertise without knowledge gaps. You will be surrounded by a very supportive working environment, wired to help you succeed: from your fellow students to your tutors and counsellors, everyone will help you if you struggle. An Ironhack bootcamp is not a lonely experience: we take pride in our sense of community, and our unwavering support to each other. “What if I don't enjoy it?” There are two reasons why you might not enjoy a tech bootcamp: because of the ‘tech’ part, or because of the ‘bootcamp’ part. If you don’t see yourself working in tech, doing a tech bootcamp probably sounds like a bad idea. But what do you picture when you think ‘tech’? If you’re thinking of that scene from Matrix with the green code trickling down the screen, we have news for you: tech is so, so much more! Before you completely discard the idea of working in tech, take a look into the different areas and roles within it: there are jobs for coders, analysts, and even artists! You might not like the experience of an intensive bootcamp. And that’s perfectly fine! Not everyone is suited for it: some of us find it too stressful, and you shouldn’t feel inadequate if you end up deciding that you want to take it slow. And, luckily, there are options for you, too! You don’t even have to look at other types of courses: bootcamps themselves often offer a part-time option, so you can get your tech skills… the chill way! “What if I don't get a job afterwards?” Afraid you will end up dead in the water after finishing the bootcamp, staring at your shiny diploma, but still unemployed and without prospects? It sure is spooky to think of getting an education for nothing, which is why we don’t let that happen to Ironhackers! Just take a look at our Career Services : from career events to personalised aid, when you finish your bootcamp, we bridge the gap from graduate to professional with career support, job-seeking know-how, and a dedicated community— dedicated to getting you the career you want. What Is It Like to Be a Bootcamp Alumnus? Bootcamp students are being increasingly hired by top tech companies, and it’s no wonder! For the longest time, recruiters had to choose between university graduates (with extensive theoretical knowledge but sometimes lacking in their practical sense and abilities) and self-taught talent (with hands-on experience and instinct, but superficial, software/language-dependent skills): as it turns out, bootcamp grads are the perfect middle ground between the two, with a skill set designed to be practical, and hitting the ground running with real projects before even finishing the bootcamp. You won’t face a shortage of interested recruiters, that’s for sure! Tech bootcamps are designed to be flexible to their core, taking in students of all ages, origins and backgrounds— and the results are just as diverse! Just take a look at some of our alumni stories, or the professionals we interview on Ironhack Podcast: with a bootcamp, you can do just about anything. The one common thing our alumni all tell from their post-bootcamp experience: they work in a field with rapid growth and guaranteed longevity, with their value as professionals steadily increasing in a short time! Fears banished and mind at ease, is a tech bootcamp starting to look like THE killer move to turn your life around and start the career of your dreams? Check out our bootcamps !

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