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The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at SJSU chapter.

Within the field of technology, the rapid pace of developing technological products is an unbeatable race in which we students stand from a distance, in awe of the amazing, but slightly intimidating, uses our generation has on these advancements. 

As someone whose background prior to college didn’t necessarily coincide with an interest in technology, as a third-year majoring in computer science, I sure have learned quite a bit about how the field is  dynamic.

That being said, however, I would be lying if I never felt like I was living in the shadows of my fellow male peers when it came to showcasing myself in professional settings that felt more male-dominated, even male-appreciated.

 I want to go over a few tips that I thought helped me throughout my journey so far in maintaining confidence and feeling heard in a professional environment.

Before delving into these tips, it’s important to note that these experiences aren’t universally true for all males. Instead, they reflect my personal encounters in various professional settings.

Critique and self-growth

I have found that within a room of people,  you are more than likely the biggest critic of yourself. No one knows more about you than yourself to scrutinize any “flaw” you may consider true. This, however, does not have to be seen as a negative trait we have as humans; rather, it is a constant open door to promote personal growth and development, keeping in mind that reassurance is also needed for growth, and there should be a balance of both. 

In a professional setting, when you are sticking out like a sore thumb in a room of people to begin with, especially when it comes to gender demographics, as a woman, I have felt more compelled to judge and critique myself in comparison to those around me. As an individual, as much as it would be desirable to change this mindset across the board, what is achievable is to assert that your mindset does not conform to the stereotype. 

Challenge Stereotypes

Once I got my foot in the door of the technological industry, entering college as a Computer Science major, I attained several technical skills that I developed through constant seeking and learning of new advancements within the tech world. 

I went from a marginally challenged background with scarce resources to achieve a career within STEM while growing up and then becoming a woman in one of the most competitive fields today. 

However, I still face constant doubt and imposter syndrome to this day, and I have found that the key to success within the industry is to just be confident in even the smallest achievements. Focus on those achievements and be proud of whatever mountains you climbed to get to that point.

 It has been found that women will underestimate their ability and confidence on a higher scale than men, whether that be feeling like you won’t be rewarded by others to the same degree or having no trust in yourself to accomplish certain things due to imposter syndrome. Building this confidence within yourself and your accomplishments will make those around you also see the high worth that you truly deserve. 

Creating a support network

I found that when I began college and my trek towards building my career portfolio and network, I felt instrumental support after I joined women-empowering organizations on campus.  This led me to mentorship opportunities with women already working in the business, as well as a more nurturing environment surrounded by people who felt similarly as aspiring college students. 

Navigating your way through this massive male-dominated field can be difficult, but having the ability to confide in and look up to inspiring female individuals within your classes or clubs can be a huge helping hand and support system to have by your side.

 Building relationships with other classmates within your major-related courses will also go a long way throughout your college career. Collaborative learning, studying sessions, attending career fairs, networking opportunities, mock interviewing and everything in between with a network of peers from your classes will boost your confidence even more, and you will know you are not in this alone. You are developing your own career; however, the peers you keep close can be huge stepping stones to your success as well.

I have found that these actions have immensely supported me in contributing to my career aspirations, and I hope that it does the same for you!

Can you think of any other career-related college tips? Let us know at @HerCampusSJSU!

hi! my name is virali and im currently studying computer science at SJSU as a sophomore. i love being outdoors so beach trips/hikes are my favorite activity!! ever since I was a little girl, I have loved writing and reading, so I am thrilled to be a writer for HerCampus!