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Break the Mold: Choose a career based on passion, not gender

Jun 1, 2018

Male-dominated and female-dominated jobs have always been part of the landscape in the American workplace, but these barriers have started to fall.

The men working in daycare centers and the women working in STEM careers know how it feels to be one of only a few in their position at their place of employment. It takes a certain amount of courage to choose a career that may be viewed as “unique” for your gender.

An occupation is considered to be “non-traditional” for women if women make up less than one quarter of the workforce for that job. The same goes for men – if men comprise less than one quarter of the workforce for a particular job, then that job is considered to be non-traditional for men.

The reasons you might be interested in a career that is not traditional for your gender are the exact same reasons that you might be interested in any career:

  • The career may really inspire and excite you.
  • You may possess skills and talents that are well-suited for the career you are considering.
  • You may know others who are employed in that occupation and may be intrigued by their line of work.
  • You might love the concept of “going against the grain” and challenging yourself by pursuing a career that could surprise your friends and family.
  • The salary and benefits might be exactly what you are looking for.

What’s right for you?

DVC dental assisting studentsDon’t let a career stereotype be the barrier to a great career choice. Choose your job based on your interests and talents. You may find that you are part of a growing group of people looking to break tradition when it comes to their futures. You might also be surprised to discover that some non-traditional careers offer strong salaries that can make a huge difference in your ability to support yourself and your family.

If you are pursuing a career that isn’t traditional for your gender, you’ll find that Diablo Valley College has the faculty, staff and resources to help you gain the skills and confidence needed to be successful in your field.

You’ll also find the number of people who are choosing a non-traditional career is growing. Before you know it, some careers may not be considered “non-traditional” for much longer. Careers in interactive media, web design and web development have historically attracted more men than women; however, this seems to be changing.

Troy Bennett is a professor in DVC’s art digital media program, and from his perspective, the industry is now “fairly evenly balanced.” He notes that there are a “significant number of female students who have gone on to grow into senior level positions at design agencies and Fortune 500 companies.”

Although industrial design is considered non-traditional for women, according to DVC Professor Dr. Jeffrey Smith, “I have always been told that industrial design is a great career for women. Empathy is a huge part of developing products. Many of my female classmates back at Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) are working as designers. Product design is a true blend of art and engineering.”

Non-traditional careers at DVC

Diablo Valley College offers several academic and career education programs that are considered to be non-traditional for men or women. Consider the following options:

Non-traditional for women:
  • Administration of Justice
  • Architecture
  • Art Digital Media/Graphic Design
  • Computer Information Systems
  • Computer Network Technologies
  • Computer Science
  • Construction/Pre-Apprenticeship
  • Electrical/Electronics Technology
  • Energy Systems
  • Engineering Technology
  • Film, Television and Electronic Media
  • Geographic Information Systems (GIS)
  • Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning, Refrigeration
  • Industrial Design
  • Mechanical Technology
  • Plumbing
  • Steamfitting
Non-traditional for men:
  • Culinary Arts
  • Dental Assisting
  • Dental Hygiene
  • Early Childhood Education
  • Horticulture
  • Library Technology
  • Respiratory Therapy
  • Special Education