Women in Tech Book Review

Book Review: Women in Tech

To succeed at a tech interview, I display what men often call confidence and women often call arrogance… That comes over great if you’re a male, but has sometimes ended interviews when I’ve done it. It’s also got me my best and highest paying jobs.

– Tarah Wheeler Van Vlack, Women in Tech: Take Your Career to the Next Level, with Practical Advice and Inspiring Stories

The author of the 2016 career advice book, Women in Tech: Take Your Career to the Next Level, with Practical Advice and Inspiring Stories, calls herself a hacker geek who got into her non-traditional field in non-traditional ways – as have many of her colleagues in the industry. While much of her advice parallels what I teach, she also has different advice which is very important for women (and even men) to consider when pursuing work in technology. We Santa Fe area career counselors already know and advise our clients that our largest tech employer, Los Alamos National Lab, has totally different expectations for their job application process, much of which is directly contrary to modern job search practices.

Tarah Wheeler Van Vlack bluntly addresses strategies to understand and deal with the unconscious sexism that pervades this male-dominated industry. She explains how tech culture isn’t interested in adhering to norms, but ignoring them, and pushing out boundaries. She also explains how many of women’s typical communication and problem-solving strategies actually backfire and are misunderstood in this masculine culture. She even explains how dressing for an interview is different in this field. Nonetheless, Wheeler Van Vlack clearly discourages candidates from tolerating blatant sexual harassment, dysfunctional environments, or an inability by the company culture to see diverse viewpoints.

Chapters in the book include Applying for Jobs and the Tech Resume, Tech Interviews, Types of Tech Jobs and Salary Negotiations, Communication on the Job, Starting Your Own Company, and a Bonus Chapter for Men: How to Be an Ally and How to Help.

If you speak geek, live, breathe it, and/or aspire to be a success in the field of technology, and are frustrated with your job search and career advancement, the insights in this book could prove very helpful to both women and men. This book is available locally for check out at the Santa Fe Public Library and in both paperback and hardcover at Collected Works, in downtown Santa Fe.