IT Career Advice for Women

Women can be successful IT professionals.

While careers in information technology have historically been dominated by the male gender, more women each year are taking the plunge and launching careers in this growing industry. However, as in any professional setting, women are presented with a unique set of challenges each day, and need a bit of advice from successful female IT professionals to climb the corporate ladder:

1. Get educated
Getting a great education is one of the best things you can do when trying to advance your career in this field. Earning an online information technology degree can even help you gain new skills as you continue working. There's always something more to learn, particularly because innovations in technology are advancing so rapidly. Invest in yourself - it's well worth it.

2. Be ambitious
This is a central argument in Sheryl Sandberg's new book "Lean In," which argues that women should embrace their ambitions and not hold back because they are worried about balancing work and life in the future. By thinking big and having goals to work toward, women in IT will be able to move into leadership roles within the industry. Keep persevering, and your career will reap the benefits.

3. Get involved in women's organizations
Because women in the workforce face unique challenges, there are a variety of organizations out there that can help them by giving the advice, mentoring and networking that they need. The National Center for Women and Information Technology, Women 2.0 and Women in Technology are all fantastic resources for women in IT to connect with each other and advance their professional careers.

4. Be yourself
The biggest mistake you can make in information technology or business in general is pretending to be someone you're not. Rather than projecting a persona that makes you seem older than you are or that you have more experience than you do, be honest about who you are and what skills you have, and constantly strive for improvement. Don't let anyone tell you that women can't be successful IT professionals - it's simply not true.

This article is sponsored by Western Governors University, a nonprofit, accredited, online university. WGU offers online bachelor's and master's degree programs in IT. To find out more, please visit our website at www.wgu.edu.

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