We have a wonderfully balanced team here at Digital Balance, but data analytics (and especially its trendy cousin data science) continues to be a predominantly male dominated field. We know diverse teams breed innovative and creative solutions, so what can we do to encourage more women into this field? We recently caught up with Moe Kiss, Product Analyst/Digital Analytics Specialist at online fashion retailer, THE ICONIC, who gave us 5 tips for women forging a career in analytics.
Moe believes that the best way to start an Analytics career is to do exactly that, just start. Women should be encouraged to try it out, even if their technical skills aren’t advanced. Once you’ve got your foot in the door, you can then push yourself to learn more technical skills as your confidence increases.
1. Use your connections
If you have an unhealthy aversion to the word “networking”, there is still plenty of opportunity to build a professional support community simply by being okay with asking for help. You never know where your next opportunity may come from.
“Men are great at using their contacts. It’s ok to ask for help via an introduction, a technical question or just career advice.”
2. Watch Amy Cuddy’s TedTalk on the power pose
We all project facets of our personality in unspoken but powerful ways, and we can adopt tips and tricks of the trade from the most inspiring women in our lives. Presence is paramount; we all know someone with the ability to command a room the second they walk into it. The “Power Pose” is one tip from renowned body language researcher Amy Cuddy that we can incorporate into our daily lives and infuse ourselves with a sense of confidence.
“I swear by it before any occasion where I am a bit nervous.”
3. Find a good mentor (or three)
“Mentors are invaluable in testing ideas before presenting to your superiors and seeking advice on career development. Most importantly though, your mentors often become your sponsors advocating for you to get your next role.”
There are plenty of opportunities to explore formal mentor programs, regardless of which stage in your career you are in. Check out your local Analytics Association, or women in business network to begin.
Beyond these programs, sometimes all you need is an inspiring colleague or acquaintance who has been there and done that, career-wise. A good entourage of mentors can help boost your career in unexpected ways, or simply provide moral support the next time you’re thinking of throwing in the towel.
4. Stop saying “I’m sorry”
This is a trap many chronic people-pleasers often fall into when attempting to negotiate speaking up without rocking the boat. Women in particular tend to lead sentences with “I’m sorry” when they lack confidence in male-dominated spaces.
“I often find myself starting a comment in a meeting with “I’m sorry but I think…”. There is no reason for me to apologise for my view – particularly as I’m an analyst who has data to back my point of view. Keep a list in your notes of alternatives to use when you catch up yourself falling into that trap.”
5. Encourage the men in your life to be male champions
Working as a minority in a growing industry doesn’t necessarily mean going it alone. While it is encouraged to build a supportive network of women or other professionals who can appreciate the day-to-day experience of working as a woman in analytics, much of the systemic difficulties we face in the industry can be mitigated by involving colleagues at all levels in the workplace.
“I was very privileged to work at Defence when Lieutenant General David Morrison AM was Chief of Army and released his video about gender equality in the army. I was able to hear him speak at several events in Canberra and he was true to his work – he mingled, he helped, he advocated for women. Supporting and bringing along our male colleagues is hugely important and male champions are a big part of that – encourage male involvement in gender equality at all levels in your company.”