Have You Considered Becoming an Entrepreneur?
The 2009 Grace Hopper Celebration of Women and Computing last month in Tucson, Arizona, was a great place to get the real pulse of women in computing, and to meet other women involved in computer science. The theme of the 2009 celebration was "creating technology for social good," and NCWIT hosted a panel on the student track titled, "Have You Considered Becoming an Entrepreneur?"
The panel was designed to discuss non-traditional paths that computer science grads might take, especially the entrepreneurial path. The three panel members all are technologists who started companies and are active entrepreneurs: Sandy Jen (co-founder of Meebo); Megan Casey (co-founder of Squidoo); and Shaherose Charania (co-founder of women 2.0). The panel discussed what it takes to start your own company and gave tips and suggestions for becoming an entrepreneur, and each panel member explained why she chose the entrepreneurial route shortly after graduation. (A nice summary from computer science PhD student Gail Carmichael can be found here.)
While the goal of the panel was to suggest entrepreneurship as an option for new graduates, and address concerns or fears that sometimes arise for those who strike out on their own, it also suggested entrepreneurship as a playing field where women technologists can pave their own paths. The current new wave of entrepreneurship is open to anyone interested in participating and offers many possibilities to get engaged. Resources for budding technology entrepreneurs can be found here and here.