Being in the ICT industry for over 20 years, I’ve faced a wide variety of obstacles. The ICT industry is true to its stereotype - it is largely male-dominated and fast changing.
In 2016, women only held 37 per cent of entry-level jobs, with only 25 per cent reaching senior management and 15 per cent making executive level.
When I started in my career, cloud computing was barely known to anyone, but today, we see the worldwide public cloud services market reaching $182.4 billion, and is forecasted to grow even more to $214.3 billion in 2019.
The gender imbalance and constantly changing environment can feel very daunting to many of us, but as a female leader in the industry, I have witnessed in my personal journey that it is possible for women to succeed in ICT.
From my experience and observations, I have distilled the key factors for a female to thrive in the ICT industry into two main attributes.
1 - Be ready to take risks
In our careers, we need to look for opportunities for growth and seize them when they present themselves. We may feel that they are a huge risk as the opportunities may not be shaped or timed to how we want them to be - but these are precisely the chances that we need to take.
We often forget that our success is determined by our own confidence and fortitude, and part of this is having the confidence in putting your hand up for new experiences.
Challenge yourself, speak up when you see a problem that needs to be solved, offer to fix it, and have the confidence and the trust that you have the ability to figure it out.
I have seen many females pass up chances because of this - we often want to fit 90 per cent of a job scope before we take it up, but we have to be able to accept a chance of failure, and make room for some ambiguity, in order for us to learn and succeed.
Personally, I have had to take many leaps of faith to get where I am today. My recent role as channel director of APJ at Veeam really put this to the test. Moving from Australia to Singapore has taken me out of my comfort zone, as I have so much to learn about the new market.
I raised my hand when I saw an opportunity, knowing I can leverage my experience, strengths and skills to excel in this role.
For the females out there, my advice is don’t let gender be a limiting factor. We have to remember that the tasks we do are gender neutral, and that our diversity is the strength we can bring to the table.
Give yourself the time and space to learn and grow, and have the patience to overcome obstacles that come your way. Most importantly, always keep a positive outlook that nothing is impossible.
2 - Lead by example
I have come across many successful female leaders and they all give emphasis on leading by example. To me, leadership is about creating a comfortable environment to grow and learn, and in my own career, I am proud of my leadership and how I’ve helped people grow in their career.
I enjoy taking time to mentor other people, as I believe that, as much as they learn from me, I learn from them as well. I now have a strong female network where we support and learn from each other.
We should also spend time learning more about ourselves, as I firmly believe that this is the first step in planning a successful career path. Self-awareness builds our confidence; by understanding and identifying how we may react in a new environment or situation.
We never stop learning about ourselves and others and through leadership we can learn the best lessons.
Here at Veeam, we have a dedicated programme to help our women staff succeed in business, called Women in Green. It focuses on providing training and development to women who have the potential to become the best of the best in our business.
As constant change is one of the biggest challenges in the ICT industry, we always encourage the women in Veeam to take risks, have the hunger to learn, lead by example and grow their own confidence as they seek success in this ever-changing landscape.
Belinda Jurisic is channel director of Asia Pacific and Japan at Veeam