From Silicon Forest's Women-in-Tech: Top 5 Tips for Breaking into and Succeeding in Tech

August 3, 2018

"Empowered women, empower other women to feel successful," said Maigen Thomas, speaker and women-in-tech coach at the annual “Advancing the Careers of Technical Women in Portland conference (ACT-W).”

The Portland community recently hosted ACT-W and PDX Women in Tech (PDXWIT) “Women + Tech Summer Soiree,” two events focused on improving diversity in the technology sector. The week featured tech panel discussions, networking opportunities, speaking sessions, hands-on workshops and a career fair.

With a combined 800 attendees consisting of technologists, marketers, recruiters, project managers, coders and more, these Cambia-sponsored events encourage women to explore careers in technology, helping to promote a more diverse perspective across several tech-related industries, including health care.

Here are the top five insights from these events:  

1. Why Failure is Good for Success

“Obstacles are a given, and success is just a series of mistakes,” said Jill Nelson, CEO of Ruby Receptionists and keynote speaker at ACT-W. Changing perspectives is key to using failures as stepping stones to later success said Jill, adding that some goals are worth the potential risk.

2. Health Tech Provides Inroads to Tech and Tech-Adjacent Careers

With tech-adjacent careers becoming more readily available, such as with marketing, human resources and program managers, there are many opportunities outside of programming. This is especially true in the health tech sector, where women make up nearly a quarter of the CEOs of digital health companies.

3. Artificial Intelligence Needs More Women Data Scientists

From apps helping you decide what to have for dinner, to AI-enabled support tools that could one day save your life, artificial intelligence is playing an increasingly important role in both the economy and in our daily lives. But what if the workforce designing those algorithms lacks diversity?  Artificial intelligence requires a diverse workforce to develop predictive technology that also serves the diverse backgrounds of its consumers.

4. Human-Centered Design Intersects with Need for Equity

Coining the term “intersectional theory” to describe how people's various identities (racial, gender, class. etc.) intersect and overlap, creating a cumulative effect, Kimberlé W. Crenshaw, a civil rights advocate, feminist and UCLA School of Law and Columbia Law professor who specializing in race and gender issues, advised tech leaders to take inclusivity seriously. Speaking to human-centered design, she advised leaders that in order to make great products, they “must first make great teams, and great teams are diverse and inclusive.”

5. We Can All Help More Women Break into Tech

“My ‘aha moment’ came when I was a flight attendant,” said Maigen, describing her transition into tech. “I had accidentally missed my commuting flight to New York and realized even as I felt sick to my stomach about possibly getting fired, that I would rather be fired— than work as a flight attendant again.”

Maigen quit her job, enrolled into coding school and went from flight attendant to full stack developer. Her advice is to find a tech-community that will offer a broad range of support, programs, and resources that will help advance their careers.

Cambia is proud to partner with events that highlight opportunities for women in technology, as well as provide necessary networking to those seeking to continue their professional growth. 

We recognize that employees not only contribute to the success of our organization but also are critical to meeting our goal of transforming health care from the inside out. We believe that diverse voices and perspectives drive innovation and the achievement of our Cause.

Interested in working in health tech? Consider investing your skills and experience in joining an innovative, consumer-focused team at Cambia.

Photo credit: ChickTech's ACT-W