I cannot speak for all women in IT as I am the only one I have met in person. In my experience as the only female developer at a systems firm, only female IT of any kind for corporate hq of a bank, and only IT female at a children's educational software company; some two traits have stood out markedly:
1. Everyone else(in my case, men) jumps at new ideas, problems, and technology. My initial reaction is to analyze. I break things down, review exsisting processes, symptoms, and projects before stirring them up. I want to see if we can KEEP or USE or FIX, and how to best approach this new issue before I pull out the tool box, Doritos and caffeinated drink and crack open our current systems. Because I start planning in my excitement (and I AM excited), as opposed to spiking a monitor, apparently this makes me less "one of the guys". Yet this same trait is part of what makes me a solid developer.
2. Say it with me friends, "I don't know". IT people (again, men in my experience) tend to be incapable of saying those three simple words. I say them constantly. Of course, I always follow them with, "But I will find out." No one on this planet knows every language and the solution to every scenario and we all know it. Yet, it is taboo to admit it if you want to be considered for the next new project. It amazes me almost every day how often people tend to gravitate towards the most inept of techs, even if that tech has proven himself so, simply because that tech puts on a show of superiority.
In my experience, your geek rating is directly proportional to your ability to pretend you know everything and dig your hands into every project wether they belong there or not. Because I am a logical data head, and perhaps because I am a woman, I am much less likely to act first, I always want to plan first.
I like to think that I am like other women. I realize no one is created equal and I mean no disrespect to men in the field. We're different, that's a fact. Sometimes that difference helps (you'll WANT me planning your next move) and sometimes it hurts (You won't think of asking me to the bar to discuss our next project and you probably don't realize I was that shadow priest in Wow who kicked yer butt last night. heh)
I'm always their best DBA and they know it. But when they get excited or pass out promotions, they forget I exist. Why? Because I forgot to spike that monitor again. dangit!
Even if I am all wet and my experiences are exclusive only to myself, the fact remains that IT is currently a man's world and a woman needs to be able to tough it out and learn to fit in or she won't be happy here. And, I don't really blame the men for that. I mean, I bet male nurses have a rough road too.
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