I’m back in school working on my Java Programming Certificate. I already have my Bachelor’s in Computer Science and having been away from hardcore programming for a few years to focus primarily on Business Intelligence and Data Warehousing, I felt it was time to brush up a bit. Since this TechieChic is on mission to change the face of technology “one woman” at a time (get it?), I look for key opportunities that will allow me to do so. What better platform to spread your message than campus activities.
I went to an AITP (Association of Information Technology Professionals) campus leadership interest meeting a few weeks back and decided that I would run for President or Vice President. Yesterday was pitches and elections. I stood before a room of about 50 students where only 5 were women and I was amazed at how the words flew off of my lips with ease. Looking back on when I was in school years ago, I would’ve NEVER thought about doing so. Back then, I refused to bring attention to myself. Unless I was purposely called out, I didn’t answer a question. Males are just so damn competitive and I just felt that I didn’t have the skills to stand-up to them.
I don’t remember what the pivotal point in my thinking was. I guess I decided to no longer be an onlooker and decided to be a partaker. I had ideas, views and opinions that I just got tired of being mute about. I wanted to be heard and seen. So I developed my confidence over the years by challenging others on why their design decision was better than mine. And shockingly, they had no clue. But that’s another story.
After I gave my pitch as to why I wanted to be in a leadership position, I was taken back by how many MEN came to me afterwards wishing me well wishes and just to talk about my experiences. Having been the only female on several development teams, I realized that men aren’t afraid of us. They welcome the skills that we bring to the table. Now don’t get me wrong, speaking up ruffled some feathers and I’ve had to check a few but overall most men didn’t care what my body parts were. They just needed me to dig in and contribute.
Have you seen your confidence evolve? Have you gone from being an onlooker to a partaker? If so, tell us about.