Occupations in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) are expected to grow in the coming years, and more and more women are pursuing careers in fields such as information security, software development, operations research, industrial engineering, and medical science. In 2021, 51 percent of operations research analysts, 50 percent of medical scientists, and 47 percent of software quality assurance analysts were women — while about 20 percent of software developers, information security analysts, and industrial engineers were female.
That said, men continue to dominate STEM fields — and the women that do work in science, technology, engineering, or mathematics often face challenges that affect their salaries and self-confidence. Below, Blox offers a few tips for women working in STEM occupations, helping them to build confidence and get the salaries they truly deserve.
Continue Your Education to Build Self-Confidence
One of the biggest challenges women in STEM face is a lack of self-confidence, especially when they’re surrounded by older, more experienced male colleagues, and don’t have a mentor to guide them. Because of this, women in STEM may struggle to assert themselves or speak up when they have something to contribute, and this can hold them back from advancing their careers and earning as much as their male counterparts.
If you, like many other women in STEM, find yourself facing a “confidence gap”, there are some steps you can take to build confidence and increase your chances of succeeding in this male-dominated field. One idea, for instance, is to continue your education and learn as much as you can about your job field. Find a mentor (or group of mentors) to help you thrive as a woman in STEM, and look for ways to boost your STEM skills and knowledge. To name a few ideas, you could:
Another option is to complete one or more professional development courses in your career field. For example, you could take your IT project management skills to the next level by learning the basics of Scrum and helping STEM teams to effectively collaborate on projects. Online courses can prepare you for a rewarding career as a Scrum Master, as you’ll learn the strategies and tactics needed to succeed in IT project management.
To get started, click here to discover the best Scrum Master course for STEM professionals. You can learn at your own pace, validate your skills with an online exam, and complete the program in approximately 30 hours. Other online courses and learning platforms are also available to help you improve your STEM skills and increase your chances of succeeding in science, technology, engineering, or math careers.
Get the Salary You Deserve
Continuing your education and improving your STEM skills can help you to overcome challenges as a woman working in science, technology, engineering, or mathematics, but this won’t necessarily get you the salary you deserve. It’s up to you to know your worth and negotiate for the salary you deserve, regardless of your gender. Using salary information websites to conduct research can help you effectively evaluate your worth and prepare for a salary negotiation.
Use Your STEM Skills to Start Your Own Business
Something else that STEM fields are lacking is female entrepreneurs. Starting a business is challenging regardless of your gender or career field, but women in STEM fields face even more obstacles when it comes to entrepreneurship. This alone may hold women back from using their STEM skills and entrepreneurial mindset to launch businesses in fields such as biology, computer science, industrial engineering, or information systems.
If you’re struggling to get ahead in STEM but have a passion for entrepreneurship, it might be time to conquer your fear of starting a business. It may not be easy, but online tools and resources can help to make the process as seamless as possible. There are financial resources for women entrepreneurs, organizations like the Small Business Administration (SBA), and business formation services that make it simple to launch a corporation in just a few steps.
When starting a business, one of the most important decisions you’ll need to make is whether to launch a corporation or limited liability company (LLC). Corporations make it easy to transfer shares, find investors, and access capital, while LLCs are typically easier to form and maintain through the years. Using an online formation service to start and maintain an LLC or corporation, however, can help you to stay legally compliant when you’re busy handling other aspects of business ownership.
More women are working in STEM fields today than they were a few years ago, but we still have quite a ways to go. Until then, the best thing you can do is to believe in your ability to succeed as a woman in science, technology, engineering, or mathematics. Continue to learn as much as you can, connect with other women (and men) in STEM, and don’t be afraid to start a business of your own if you’re passionate about entrepreneurship. By doing so, you’ll help to pave the way for other women working in STEM fields.
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