Women in technology: 5 top tips for pursuing a career in STEM

5 top tips for pursuing a career in STEM

Using search engines to answer queries is a staple of modern life, giving people around the world access to information, businesses, and stories with just a few simple clicks.

But, lesser-known are the techniques and complex algorithms determining those search results. For many small businesses, their organic ranking within Google search results, for example, can be a make or break.

For this reason, search engine optimisation (SEO) is an ever-evolving beast. And with that comes a need for a diverse range of industry professionals to tackle said beast. Despite this, there seems to be a pronounced gender imbalance, with the majority of specialists identifying as male.

At leading digital marketing solutions provider, Localsearch, my role is Head of SEO Fulfillment. As a woman working in a male-dominated industry, improving the gender imbalance within our field is super important.

So, providing advice on how other women can excel in the STEM field is a big motivation for me and here I’ll share my top tips for young women entering this field.

1. Explore areas that spark your interest

SEO is constantly changing, which always keeps it interesting.

There are always ways we can improve and stay ahead in the best interest of our clients, our team, and the business as a whole. This plays a big part in why I ended up in an SEO-based position versus a more creative field, considering I studied a BA Degree in fashion.

From the start of my career path, and within my studies, I found I always enjoyed the business and marketing side of everything I was doing. I knew early on in my studies I would move into the marketing field rather than down a more design-based path.

With that being said, I was still able to learn a lot through my degree, selecting subjects such as trend forecasting, merchandising, mathematics, and computer design.

2. Ignore the pressure to pursue a different field

Where I started, my career was quite different from where I ended up.

My initial degree was in fashion, and then business and marketing, but I did originally start out in fashion magazines. This was followed by exploring social media and PR, but these changes in direction helped lead me to where I needed to be, which is in digital marketing.

While I did explore different avenues to find where I’m meant to be, I still use the skills I learned from those areas too. Take every opportunity as a learning experience, even if it’s simply finding out what you do and don’t want to do.

The difference between ambition and grit — and why they matter in the workplace

3. Your ideal role may be merely a few clicks away

When I moved to Australia, I was given the opportunity of a fresh start and I grabbed it.

Although my knowledge of SEO at the time was still minimal, I knew it was what I wanted to do. I was fortunate enough to join a company where I could grow my knowledge while living and breathing SEO.

For other women looking to excel in STEM, take that chance. Learn what you can through your own studies and apply for jobs where you’re given the opportunity to grow and the company behind you genuinely elevates you. We work in an ever-evolving industry and will offer endless opportunities to develop professionally.

4. Diversity drives innovation

A 2020 global study by North Star Inbound revealed a whopping 68.4 per cent of SEO professionals are male, leaving only 29.3 per cent of those surveyed identifying as female.

In Australia, the ratios were even wider, with 83.3 per cent of SEO professionals identifying as male and only 16.7 per cent identifying as women.

But some companies do defy these trends. It is sometimes about searching for the right employer who is willing to take a stand against gender stigma in their business culture. It’s about finding the right company, where the business prioritises personality, existing skills, and culture fit.

5. Be brave

The biggest lesson I’ve learned along the way is to be brave. Lean into the discomfort. Take on challenges you think are too daunting. Don’t let others – or yourself – stand in the way of doing what you want to do and stepping into a career you feel passionately about.

When you’re progressing to what you truly love doing, there are challenges every single day we will all face, myself included. But it’s about coming in with bravery, strength, and a belief in yourself that you can do it – and you can.


Author bio: Caylee Pharoah is the head of SEO Fulfilment at digital marketing service provider Localsearch.

This article was originally published on A Girl In Progress.

Related articles:

Should you seek couples therapy early in a new relationship?

Why 25 minutes is all you need to start a new habit

Why your morning routine should include a bath

What happens when personal trainers get too personal?

What happens when you lose your ‘sparkle’?

A Girl In Progress

A Girl In Progress

A Girl In Progress is a lifestyle blog for women who are working on themselves, for themselves. They believe it’s possible to strive to become the best version of yourself, while simultaneously accepting yourself exactly as you are.