Women in Tech: “Don’t be afraid – bite your way through!”
Women are underrepresented in the tech sector —myth or reality? Three years ago, we launched a diversity series aimed at bringing the most inspirational and powerful women in the tech scene to your attention. Today, we’d like you to meet Linda Schneider, Regional Manager at Computacenter.
A research study by The National Center for Women & Information Technology showed that “gender diversity has specific benefits in technology settings,” which could explain why tech companies have started to invest in initiatives that aim to boost the number of female applicants, recruit them in a more effective way, retain them for longer, and give them the opportunity to advance. But is it enough?
Three years ago, we launched a diversity series aimed at bringing the most inspirational and powerful women in the tech scene to your attention. Today, we’d like you to meet Linda Schneider, Regional Manager at Computacenter.
Today’s woman in tech: Linda Schneider, Regional Manager at Computacenter
Linda Schneider is 32 years old and leads a 17-member strong infrastructure security team as a regional manager at the IT service provider Computacenter. After training as an IT Systems Management Assistant at Telekom, she completed an extra-occupational study in Business Information Technology. She has been working in consulting at Computacenter since 2018. There she focuses on the transformation of common network security topics into cloud and automation topics.
What first got you interested in tech?
I’ve always been a technophile and have been involved with IT since I was a teenager. For my family and friends, I was always the first-contact-person if something technical didn’t work anymore. My interest in the field was quite clear early on, so it was only the logical thing to do for me, to pursue a career in IT.
Now, I’ve been working in IT for all of my professional life. After finishing secondary school, I took an apprenticeship as an IT Systems Management Assistant at Deutsche Telekom AG. What I liked best was the contact with the people I worked with in the field. My tasks included configuring routers and systems, repairing technical faults, and taking care of cabling work.
After my apprenticeship I joined a medium-sized system house in Munich, where I worked in technical sales and consulting and also gained my first management experience. During this time, I completed an extra-occupational study in Business Information Technology (Bachelor of Science) at FOM Munich over the cause of three years.
I have always been a technophile and have been involved with IT since I was a teenager.
In order to gain experience in handling major customers and to get a taste of corporate air, I then switched to one of the largest system houses in Germany. There I was employed as a PreSales Consultant and was responsible for the IT infrastructure networking business in the Bavarian region. Since August 2018, I have been working for Computacenter in the consulting department and as the regional manager, I am responsible for a team of network security consultants.
Did someone support you and do you have a role model?
It is hard to determine a specific role model because I’ve met so many interesting women during my career. Furthermore, there were male colleague role models too.
A day in Linda’s life
I have been Regional Manager at Computacenter since August 2018 and currently lead a team of 17 consultants in the area of infrastructure security. My current focus is on the transformation of common network security topics towards the cloud and automation.
Therefore it is also central that my employees are able to continuously develop and use new technologies. I also support the development of these topics at our customers. My daily routine as a regional manager includes personnel management and personnel search as well as the further development of the team in technical topics.
Why aren’t there more women in tech?
I can only say so little regarding obstacles in my apprenticeship and studies, because I myself haven’t experienced them. The low proportion of women is probably still due to the fact that comparatively few women identify with technology – perhaps also for educational reasons – and they still prefer to work in other sectors.
In my experience, the proportion of women at both vocational schools and universities was 10 to 15 percent. Especially in my area, IT infrastructure, there are few women. If women work in IT, then they are more likely to work in software development.
Women in STEM
I think that women sometimes have a different perspective on issues and this, therefore, adds value to the teams.
Furthermore, a determined and high-performing woman in a team can push the motivation and determination of gentlemen by quite a bit. 😉 Naturally, the employers will also profit from that, as various studies on mixed teams have shown.
It is difficult to predict whether or not the diversity debate will soon be history. However, it is likely that the daily use of IT will lead to more and more women starting to get involved with IT at an early age.
But diversity is not limited to the male/female discussion. A mix of different types — for example, different ages or different backgrounds — that add in different perspectives and ideas will always make sense.
It is difficult to predict whether or not the diversity debate will soon be history.
Could you name a few challenges (or obstacles) women in tech face?
Especially as a PreSales Consultant, I have noticed that sometimes male customers misjudge a young woman as incompetent in the first discussions. Here I had to prove and establish myself with competence and self-confidence. Afterward, however, the contacts were always great. It was probably even advantageous to be a woman, as female strengths, for example in terms of communication, also bring advantages in customer contact.
Don’t be deterred here, you must bite through! I always got along great with my colleagues. At Computacenter everyone is very collegial with each other. It is performance that counts at Computacenter, not gender.
It’s performance that counts for us, not gender.
From this point of view, no one has put obstacles in my way. My impression is that the career path does not differ according to gender.
Sometimes we women lack self-confidence and assertiveness. In the course of time I have learned to strengthen these qualities more.
What advice would you give to women who want a tech career?
You don’t have to worry about not making progress in IT as a woman. I have always been encouraged and also challenged.
I was lucky to have even more support from my colleagues than many a man. My tip is:
Just take a look and experience for yourself what great opportunities women have in IT professions.
More Women in Tech:
- Women in Tech: “Women empowering other women is a spectacular thing”
- Women in Tech: “Unconscious bias is a real, continuous problem.”
- Women in Tech: “If no one gives you the right possibility to grow, you must create it alone.”
- Women in Tech: “There are opportunities for remote work women could tap into”
- Women in tech: “Feel brave applying for that job you want”