A month ago, one of my friends sent me an article titled, “In Tech Marketing Jobs, Women’s Successes are Rarely Recognized.” Ever since then, I’ve been meaning to blog about it because it encompasses so much of what I have been feeling since my senior year of high school when I decided the tech industry was calling my name, but as a non-technical component.
Now, a month after the article was published, I’m finally blogging about it. Why did it take me so long? Simple: fear. Fear that the world will find this blog post to be nothing short of a whiney rant from some tech industry fan girl who can’t code to save her life.
When I was in elementary and junior high school, I was the kid that camped out in her room on the computer browsing Xanga layout sites. Why? Because I wanted to learn how to build them. At the age of 12, I taught myself HTML + CSS and PHP. I memorized Hex codes as a hobby and I thought it was cool to build layouts for my not-so-layout-literate friends. This isn’t so impressive compared to those who learned low-level languages from the age of 7, but I thought it was pretty cool. Rewind even farther to 4th grade. I competed in a district-wide academic decathlon of sort that had the theme of the history of computers. I learned about RAM and I could translate words into binary code and vice versa.
Everyone told me I was a good writer. In 6th grade, I was named the third best writer in my entire school district – Dallas suburbs have very large school districts. I still liked math at that point.
Fast forward again.
I stopped focusing on math and science and moved my attention towards writing and public speaking. I liked joining organizations and becoming an officer. I worked in retail and got a kick out of communicating with a diverse group of people. I started to dislike math and science because I didn’t think I was good at it.
Senior year of high school.
I wanted to be a marketing major or a communications major. I didn’t really know what PR was, but I ranked it as a potential major anyway. I was accepted in the PR program at UT. I visited Cisco. I fell in love with every single innovation in the Richardson/Garland building of Cisco. I didn’t think I could be an engineer, so I declared silently that tech PR/marketing communication was what I wanted to do.
I’m a senior in college about to graduate in a few months and I think it’s safe to say that everyone and their mom knows that the tech industry is what I love. However, I can’t help but notice a few hings during my journey: the female population in the tech industry is low, marketing/PR is sometimes (emphasis on sometimes) seen as a joke in the company by the technical side and there are very few Asian-Americans in the marketing/PR department.
The main focus of this blog post will be public relations and marketing in the tech industry.
The only exception to the low population of women in tech are the marketing and public relations professionals. Don’t get me wrong. I’m an advocate of promoting STEM from a young age. However, I still believe there needs to be some recognition of the women who work hard in the industry to help share the story of all the innovations the technical end makes.
The Public Relations Society of America reports that 70 percent of PR professionals are women. That is clearly evident in my major-specific courses and at the companies where I’ve worked. I once interned for a company where the entire marketing floor housed probably 70 percent of the female population (not exact number, just an estimate).
Deborah Jackson said it best, “It’s absolutely mission critical [marketing and public relations],” she says, “just as important as the technology. You really need both pieces in order for a company to be successful.”
While I want to see more women coding – believe me, I’ve tried learning myself, I would also like to see a little credit given to the other half of the industry.