Women in Technology: Find Your Mentor and Move Ahead

As women working in technology, the road ahead is not always smooth. It’s like riding a mountain bike on a rough trail. Why take on that project? Why learn that tool? See or download the following SlideShare presentation with tips on finding a mentor to guide your ride.

Link to Find Your Mentor on Slideshare.net

Content by Holly Justice; Graphics by Patrick Coan, Guild of Build.

Find Your Mentor and Move Ahead

Holly Justice: Thoughts on Advancing the Careers of Women in Technology
The road we travel as women working in technology is not always going be a smooth ride. It’s like riding a mountain bike on a rough trail.

Riding the mountain bike trail of technology work.

Graphic by Patrick Coan, Guild of Build

Let’s build our endurance by finding and using mentors along the way!

What do Mentors Do?

A mentor is someone who provides help and advice to a less experienced person. Mentors come in all flavors. My mentors are male and female, older and younger.

Mentors can be male or female, young or old.

Graphic by Patrick Coan, Guild of Build

The common thread is all my mentors have some experience I lack, and they push me at the right times to keep going.

Finding Informal Mentors

To find an informal mentor, go out of your way to meet people, pay attention and follow up. You can find informal mentors in several places:

  • In the workplace.
  • Where you learn.
  • In professional communities.

I have worked on very supportive teams. Certain bosses pushed me to take on the tough projects. Positive co-workers gave me solid advice. Look for the right place to work that supports women.  If you are in a bad situation, don’t quit your career. Find a better workplace.

Look for mentors where you learn. Pay attention to your fellow students and instructors. Look for communities that support learning. For example, you can learn a lot about Puppet Labs products by attending the online courses.  However you can find potential mentors by taking an evening to participate in a Puppet User Group. Steer off the straight trail and into those learning communities!

Use Meet Up, Twitter and LinkedIn to find mentors in your profession.

Graphic by Patrick Coan, Guild of Build

Look for mentors in professional organizations. Use LinkedIn to find men and women you admire locally and check out which professional organizations they belong to. Use local Meet Up groups to meet people in your profession. Participate in global Twitter chats. By discussing your work or tools online and in person, you will be inspired to keep moving on your career path. You will be back on the bike again!

Once you find a potential mentor, be sure to do some screening. Not everyone is an ideal mentor. Be sure to mention one or two specific projects you are working on. This is often called Micro Mentoring.

When to Use Your Mentors

Use your mentor when you need help. Imagine you just fell off the bike. Or the fog came in and you can’t see the road ahead. Don’t quit.

Let your mentor give you that extra push and guidance.

Graphic by Patrick Coan, Guild of Build

You are not alone on this path. Ask for help! When asking your mentor a question:

  • Research the problem first so you ask intelligent questions.
  • Stop and listen to what they are saying.  Be respectful. Take your hands off the keyboard or phone!
  • Reflect. The advice may not be what you want to hear, but what you need to hear. You will gain more insight in an hour or two or the next day.

Having a successful career in technology will require some sacrifices. My path has not been easy, but my mentors have been there to push me to do what I needed to do.

I would like to see the statistics change. To me women are just as capable as men in science, engineering or software design jobs.  So find your mentor, get on that bike and move ahead!

Holly Justice

Graphics by Patrick Coan, Guild of BuildBuild of Guild

 

 

 

Special Thanks to Creators of the ‘Advancing the Careers of Women in Technology’ Event:

For more information see:

 

 

The Sample Home Budget

Are you having a hard time figuring out if you are ahead or behind each month in your personal finances?  Take a quick tour of the sample home budget.

Plus you can download a copy of the entire workbook for your own planning.

 

 

We hope you will take it and add your own spin as you make your personal budget fit your own needs!

Happy budgeting!

Lightening Talk to Advance Careers of Women in Technology

I’m pleased to be giving a Lightening Talk at the Advancing Careers of Women in Technology event in Portland, Oregon on April 17th.

Special Thanks to Event Creators:

Here is a link to my speech page and supporting materials!

Find Your Mentor and Move Ahead

Twitter? As a Business Tool? You bet!

A Twitter profile page about products, events and good news to share.This post is for those of you who wonder:

  • Why do I need to use Twitter?
  • What is the point of so few words?
  • How can I find the time for one more tool?

I suggest taking a new approach. Think of Twitter as a tool for research, a public current list of information about any business or organization. You can access this list without logging into Twitter or having a Twitter account.

Continued on page two…

A Recipe for Success: Add Variety to Your Training Program

Adult learning styles are as different as apples and oranges.One size of training does not fit all. Adult learning styles are as different as apples and oranges. Does your training program provide enough of the auditory, visual and hands-on elements needed to fit the learner’s individual style?

Think of how you, your friends and family learn. Do you love to watch videos to learn? Know anybody who likes to push the buttons on their new gadgets? Have you met people who love sharing what they learned? Do you know someone who shuts down when you verbally give them directions?

Continued on page two…

Solid Relationship Advice

One of the most enjoyable articles I read this week was from Jacki Zehner:

Best Advice: Invest in Relationships in All Directions

Jacki Zehner makes some excellent points about how every contact we make in business counts, no matter how small it may seem at the moment.  I like how she states:

“As a professional, you need to care about every single contact point you have with every single person, both internal and external.”

Ms. Zehner not only points out the value of having a “360 degree perspective“, but she challenges us as readers to take stock of our own experiences in the workplace. Her personal story in the article makes this a compelling read.

Social Media Tip:  I found this inspiring story and person thanks to LinkedIn. From there I was able to read more about Jacki Zehner’s background and locate her personal website to read more articles and view her videos.

Leadership Sources of Power

Have you ever wondered why some managers seem like natural leaders? Or perhaps you are interested in what power you hold over others?

Power refers to the capacity to influence others. So where does it come from?

See the next page to learn more…

Updating Your Linked In Profile Privately

Do you want all of your Linked In connections to know every time you make a small change to your profile?

Here is a quick video on why broadcasting everything could be irritating to your connections and how to prevent the problem.

Graphic for the software demonstration video.

A Research Paper for the Portfolio

Employers want proof. So you say you are a writer? What have you published?

Most of my professional writing cannot be published on my website. My work is often sold directly by my employers or restricted to inside publication.

If you have that problem too, take a closer look at opportunities to write elsewhere. For example, I write research papers often for college courses.

Today I posted this research paper on the ADDIE and Kirkpatrick training models for my portfolio:

A Training Models study

I wrote this paper for a short cram course entitled “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People” based on the popular work of Dr. Stephen R. Covey. Yes, I will “Sharpen the Saw” often. I am a life-long learner.

What do you do to prove what you’ve done? How can you capture and show someone your greatest achievements?

Conquering the Fear of Social Media

What does it take to convince the “forget it” crowd that social media has value?
Do you use Twitter, Facebook or Linked In?
How do you keep your image professional?
How does social media serve you?
Link to Find your Advocate

Creating a Portfolio

Employers want proof. It is not all applications and interviews. When you finally have someone’s attention, job hunting is about what you have done.

Handing someone an entire book won’t work either. You have to scrub it, strip it down and make it digestible. Think short and sweet. A few minutes will be all the time you have to make your point.

Good news! Creating a portfolio does not mean spending a lot of money. I have created everything here with tools I already own or by using free evaluation software. YouTube, WordPress and SlideShare host my content for free. What you will spend is time. It’s worth it.

Today I’m celebrating as I post this portfolio piece. On to the next one!

A technical writing project describing online banking software through flow charts, test scripts and detailed instructions.

What do you do to prove what you’ve done? How can you capture and show someone your greatest achievements?

Save Time with Linked In Job Searches

I love using Linked In to look for jobs. My favorite feature on Linked In is the tool that allows me to save my job searches and set up e-mail alerts. Below is a quick demonstration:

Save Time with Linked In Job Searches

Now if I forget to check Linked In, no worries. I’ll receive a daily or weekly e-mail each time a job that meets my criteria is posted.

Avoiding Facebook Overload

How do I get in there?

Today Facebook is big news on the stock market thanks to the IPO. I’ll be honest. I have worked hard to make Facebook a manageable, fun experience.

For me Facebook is a personal, highly effective platform where I keep up with friends and family despite incredibly busy schedules filled with work and college. Check out the next page for tips on how to save time and preserve your ego.

Conquering the Fear of Social Media – Solve a Problem

Picture for solving problems with social mediaStart by asking what do you need out of social media?

Every social media platform exists to solve a problem. Just like computers are part of our modern world, these tools are the new wrench to turn on rivers of information.
Read more on the next page.

Conquering the Fear of Social Media – Position Your Mirror

Picture for positioning your mirror - fear of social mediaAs I became an advocate for social media tools like Linked In, Twitter, Facebook and blogging, it quickly became apparent most people offline suffer from fear of transparency.  What if someone finds out something about me?  What if they get to know all of me, who I am under the skin?

Some of you know this reaction well. When you mention a tool, the person’s reaction is to tell you all the horror stories they know to justify their fear of social media.

But hold on a moment.  Is spying and negative gossip the reason social media exists?  Or are these platforms simply neutral tools to be used for either positive or negative reasons?

Continued on page 2…

Conquering the Fear of Social Media – Find Your Advocate

Picture for finding your advocate - conquering the fear of social mediaAlert!  We have a social media gap!

Recently I attended a job hunting gathering in Hillsboro, Oregon at a local community college. Over sixty of us were gathered in a large lecture hall discussing Linked In.  One person asked if there were any new networking tools to use besides Linked In.  The leader had no suggestions.  I promptly suggested Facebook, Twitter and blogging.

The reaction was shockingly negative. As I turned to look around at the crowd, I saw frowns, shaking heads and grumbles.  At least 80% of the crowd was visibly upset and rejecting my suggestion.  The group leader quickly stated “Linked In is the only one that won’t get you in trouble.”

I consider this a very large social media gap since this meeting was being held in the middle of the Oregon Silicon Forest community.  Almost every open job for the job seeker involves making computer hardware or software.

So what do these terrified job seekers need to begin moving forward in social media?

The answer on page 2…