I’ve worked in the IT field exclusively for a little over 10 years. Prior to that I worked as a medical technologist/microbiologist in a hospital lab. I made the change to IT due to hours at a small hospital lab… too many rotating shifts in short time spans really gets to you healthwise as you age :-). A hospital lab is a pretty computerized environment, so the transition wasn’t that bad, tho’ I did spend most of the first year studying almost day and night.
One thing interesting about the transition was the “battle of the sexes.” I went from a work environment that was predominantly female where I was in the majority to one that was predominantly male where I was a definite minority. Interesting to go to workshops/events where you are either the lone female or one of two in a roomful of testosterone.
There are some striking differences in how males and females approach problems. I think women definitely multi-task better, but guys generally appear to be better at focusing on one problem until it gets completed and then move on. Guess there’s something to be said about each approach. Most of the women I’ve worked with in the lab are much more detail/documentation orientated than the men in the IT field, but that may be more due to training and fear of lawsuits in a medical field than gender based. That trait has served me well in the IT field also.
I think women will work harder to make sure we’re “good” at what we do than a guy will. I remember taking a lot of cr– from the guys where I work when I first started. Hence my studying day and night to make the cut. I think I do pretty well now (based on my billing and customer feedback), but I still always worry about it. Maybe I’m just insecure by fault :-).
I could go on and on about this topic, but I might offend too many folks (including hubby and three sons), so will leave it at that!