This post is something I’ve been wrestling with for a while. This is the first time I’m expressing my thoughts on this topic in written form. Here’s the big question:
Is going into management a cop-out for a technical woman?
For a few years now, I’ve known that someday I want to be in management. I like managing people, projects, budgets, schedules, giving people advice (which I can do anywhere, but it seems to be heeded more often when it comes from a supervisor), etc. I also like programming and being technical, which is the main reason I got a degree in Computer Science. After realizing that there is a huge gender gap between men and women when it comes to technology, I’ve worked very hard to try to lessen the gap. I attend conferences, do outreach events, connect with other women, and suggest upcoming events all in hopes of getting more women involved in technology. Not only that, but being a minority in my field, sometimes I feel like I have to work extra hard to prove myself.
I know I want to be in management and I know I’d like to stay in technology, but am I somehow betraying the movement to lessen the gender gap for technical women? Do I like management because being technical is too hard? Many of my strengths align with those of a manager’s, so really I’m just playing to my strengths. At the same time, I wonder if I’m trying to take the easy way out. By playing to my strengths, I’m not developing my more technical skills since I think there are others who are better programmers than I am.
Although being in management isn’t going to happen tomorrow, I know I’m going to have to deal with these issues at some point. Perhaps I’m trying to justify what I perceive as the lack of technical knowledge and skills that goes along with management by wanting to stay in the technology industry. That way, I would still be able to help women in technology.