Diversity and soft skills in the IT industry.
The IT market is still developing, for this reason the demand for specialists from this industry is constantly growing. You do not need to go into statistics to see that it positions are dominated by men. However, women are increasingly choosing to work in it. How are they doing? What impact can the decision to create mixed teams have on the company’s efficiency?
Not everyone has a psychological predisposition to work in it, regardless of whether we are talking about women or men. The specifics of the IT industry is the possibility to start a career without completing specialized courses, as long as our knowledge is supported by practical skills that we will constantly improve. For this reason, being a computer scientist requires a lot of self-discipline, ambition, perseverance, composure, assertiveness, openness of mind, creativity and a desire for continuous learning. On the one hand, the IT field is developing so rapidly that the solutions that have been proven so far are no longer working quickly and new ones need to be implemented. On the other hand, sometimes it takes several weeks to work on one code, so such qualities as: preference for monotony and repeatability of the tasks performed, conscientiousness, reliability, patience are also important. It is not a rule that all computer scientists prefer monotony, but it is sometimes a feature that facilitates work (of course, the level of monotony varies depending on the type of position, which should be taken into account when matching the candidate to it). Achievement should therefore be motivated by a desire for personal development, flexibility, preference for difficult tasks, enthusiasm for learning, commitment, ease of entering the flow state, and not by a desire for prestige or a desire for dominance and competition, which can quickly lead to burnout. However, abstract-logical or mathematical abilities, making rational decisions, but also cooperative competence and communication skills are also important (especially if we work in a team).
To be a woman
Women, generalizing, more often choose humanities and professions requiring interpersonal contacts. This is due to their higher level of social competence and emotional intelligence than men, which includes, among other things, the ability to empathize, understand and recognize other people’s emotions, as well as to recognize, understand, accept, control and express their own emotions. Compared to men, they are more cordial, altruistic, straightforward and compliant. They are also characterized by duty, while the gentlemen are more assertive and have a higher sense of their own competence. Many of these characteristics have their origin in the structure of the brain, which in women has more connections between the two hemispheres and contributes to their greater ability to cooperate. Thanks to this, we can observe the so-called female intuition, higher verbal abilities, dependence on emotions, noticing more details. No less important for women to choose humanities are cultural and social conditions, according to which the role of a woman is to be a good mother, wife and housekeeper-that is, in one word, a caring person. However, everyone is different, so it is worth to abandon the stereotypical thinking and consider the advantages of employing women in the IT industry, and at the same time creating mixed teams.
Diversity has its advantages
The above slogan “abandon stereotypical thinking” sounds simple in theory. However, this simplistic belief is deeply rooted in our thinking. This has an impact on the perception of women as people who will not succeed in science or in the development of new technologies, and who should not seek professorships or a Nobel Prize. This reduces their skills and even their pay, which is often lower than that of a man in the same position. However, talented ladies can bring to a company with an IT profile much more than just knowledge and skills.
Their higher than men’s emotional intelligence and developed social skills will make a woman not only take care of good contact with the customer and understand his needs, but also, for example, after writing a program or creating a game, she will be able to “sell” this product. Understanding the expectations of the customer, patiently listening to him, setting realistic deadlines, as well as explaining that not everything is possible to perform-these are all tasks that can be entrusted to a competent woman who will take care of the professional image of the company (often better than a man who is closed in himself and convinced of his incredible abilities). By recruiting women to the team, we also have the opportunity to improve the atmosphere between employees, which translates into work efficiency. According to the Lady Geek 2015 Global Empathy Index, companies that develop empathy (which is one of the components of emotional intelligence), achieve higher profits and have greater productivity. Interestingly, in the forefront were giants from Silicon Valley, such as Microsoft, Facebook, Alphabet (Google) and Apple.
When considering hiring a woman in the IT industry, it is worth asking yourself the question that should be asked when creating any team: “will the people I hire be able to work together and create a so-called Dream Team?”. Knowledge and, above all, skills in the IT industry are very important, but even more important is whether our studios will be able to share this experience with each other and complement each other. Therefore, when recruiting, it is worth considering the use of psychodiagnostics, that is, the study of psychological predisposition using tests and questionnaires. The results will allow us not only to match a given person to the requirements of the position (which affects their efficiency, well-being and reduces the risk of absenteeism, illness, and even resignation from work), but also to create teams of professionals that work together. Psychodiagnostics is also a helpful tool when planning personalized training or employee allocation.
There are many arguments in favour of employing women in the IT industry. They can not only increase the level of empathy of the company, but also ensure a good working atmosphere and professional contact with the client. Nevertheless, it is important to match each employee to the requirements of the position, but also to create close-knit teams, in which psychodiagnostics proves to be helpful. A satisfied, efficient, cooperative and competent employee is a pass to the success of any company.
Psychologist specializing in the field of work and stress. Co-founder of the studio of individual differences, a psychodiagnostic company based on tests and questionnaires. Editor-in-chief of the online magazine space, which focuses on topics related to psychology, culture and art.