Monday, April 22, 2024
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How She Made it to the Top in the Tech Industry

Women in Southeast Asia are actively reskilling and upskilling themselves in machine learning, computer programming, and IT support. A clear indicator of their desire to be more technologically savvy.

Their active pursuit of a career in the tech industry is reflected in the growing number of women entering the global workforce of the tech industry – 28% and rising.

Leading the change is Southeast Asia where women make up 32% of the workforce in the region’s tech industry. In fact, Southeast Asia tech companies have a stronger track record of hiring women than tech companies in other developed regions.

Nonetheless, women leaders remain a minority in the tech industry as reflected in other industries across the world.

Her Way to the Top in the Tech Industry

Catherine Lian joined this minority group when she was appointed managing director of IBM Malaysia, in April 2019.

Growing up, Lian understood the positive impact technology has and would have in human progress. That is why she chose to work in the tech industry.

Recognizing how prominent the gendered lens was and is within the tech industry, she chose to set herself apart from others by prioritizing her skilling up journey.

“The ability to learn, unlearn, and relearn is vital to remaining competitive and adaptable in the tech industry,” shared Lian. That is why she intentionally carves out “40 hours in a year to reskill and upskill herself.”

Invest Your Time to Learn

A firm believer and practitioner of lifelong learning, Lian insists that learning must be integrated into the workplace and work flow.

“As leaders, we need to identify a learning platform that best suits the needs of our organization and workforce. And ensure that training and development is continuous rather than one-off,” said Lian.

Besides a learning platform, Lian encourages her workforce to develop formal and informal mentorship and coaching programs.

“Mentorship and coaching programs allow for employees to create a healthier form of workplace communication,” shared Lian. “It allows us to cultivate our strengths and provides better access to learning opportunities for all our employees.”

When Skills Aren’t Enough

“We need to know our products and what our customers want. But it isn’t enough for us to learn the hard or technical skills,” said Lian.

If we want to have a successful career in the tech industry, we must have “an eagerness to learn, an eagerness to adapt, and commitment to invest our time to skill up,” shared Lian.

It is this attitude and mindset that sets us apart from others as it reflects our commitment to be a lifelong learner and willingness to take charge of our careers.

Learn Like A Woman

There is more that needs to be done for the tech industry to achieve equal access to learning opportunities for their female workforce. That is why women should utilize this time to invest in themselves.

“Believe in yourself. Invest in yourself. Break the glass ceiling,” said Lian.

Michelle Low
Michelle Low is a Malaysia-based writer and educator, with experience in interactive learning and archaeogaming.