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Make Technology Your Playground, Girls!

by Andreea Oproiuover 3 years ago 6 min read

We’re activating in a male-dominated industry and we’re aware that being the opposite gender often requires more willpower and drive to be a professional in tech. Diversity and inclusion play an important role within companies and they actually offer a healthier competition level and engagement, when given thought to.

At Sensidev, we strive at being more inclusive and more mindful of what is happening around us, and we’re grateful that we’re able to provide a context where everybody feels equally taken into consideration and has opportunities to grow.

But this day is about them, the women in tech who have understood that even if there haven’t been presented enough role models for them to follow, they can be their own, and who see this industry exactly as it should be — a playground for everybody who has the skills and motivation to build a better tomorrow. For this, we celebrate today our female colleagues, by discovering through their eyes what it means to be a Woman in Tech:

1. Seemingly progressive and more than ever technologically developed, contemporary society has managed to change cultural stereotypes only to a limited extent, such as those according to which — technical fields are more suitable for men. So: Why IT? Was there a female model who has influenced your profession choice?

Lorena: Sadly, no, I can't necessarily say I was inspired by a female model, but by the lack of them, so to speak.

Even though IT is one important field, ever-expanding in today's globalized world, it's not without flaws. According to a study I read, as of 2018, women accounted only for 25% of jobs in the tech industry.

After previously working in two different fields, I decided it's time to switch to a job that challenges me, where I can grow professionally, learn each day, and never get bored.

Ioana D: Throughout my career life I can't say I had female role models to follow, but instead I had plenty of examples of people I didn't want to become. I never felt I fit the box so one day I told myself: "The heck with all this, I am not here to fit into your world, I am here to build my own!". I often found myself playing football outside with the boys as a child, today we sit on the same side of the table creating software and building the future. For those who don't know — I started in the administrative field, and today I am a proud Frontend Developer proving that "Yes, we (girls) can!"

Ioana E: In my case, actually my dad was the first model because he has a great passion for computers and physics and I’ve always felt like I inherited good logical skills from him. Moreover, in school, I’ve had a lot of women teachers who specialized in computers and mathematics fields. Having them around, I never thought it wouldn’t fit me to work in a field such as IT. After a few years, in high school I realized I am better at programming than at other subjects, so for me, it was clear that I am inclined to choose this path.

Diana: Unfortunately, I didn't have any female model who influenced me to start working in IT. For me, it wasn't the first choice of a career, but it was the one that finally stuck. From the get-go, it felt like the right one. Even though I didn't have a female model to influence my choice of profession, during the years I have met a few women who influenced my career path.

2. Is IT just about computers? Are technical skills enough to be a complete and efficient professional?

Lorena: I would say some chose IT because, unlike other fields, this one doesn't require interaction with customers as much as retail or media, for example. Trust me, I speak from experience when I say working with customers requires a whole lot more than just technical skills. And if we're being honest, computer-based jobs pay well and career growth is a requirement.

However, to be complete and efficient, one needs to be a team player and communication is key, besides skills, obviously.

Ioana D: Technical skills matter a lot but are not everything. Seeing my friends work in this field I often felt that us, women could bring so much more to the table since we are naturally more organized, detail-oriented and better with words.

Ioana E: I believe that in order to become really good at IT there are much more skills to be taken into consideration. Being curious, creative, cooperative, always trying new things, looking for more than one solution to a problem, being patient, empathic are some of the qualities that would help and women are very likely to possess most of them.

Diana: I would say it's not at all about computers, it's about humans and the way we can use computers and technology to make our lives better. During recent years, there has been an increased focus on social skills, rather than on technical skills. It's all about the people: we develop the software for people, we work alongside other people, so it's only natural to focus more on people skills. This is not to say that technical skills don't matter. They do, but not as much as emotional intelligence.

3. In her book, "Miss Little Geek", Belinda Parmer, founder of the marketing agency "Lady Geek", used for consulting large corporations such as Sony or Vodafone demonstrates the beneficial contribution of women in IT, arguing with real results: according to studies, companies whose management teams include women recorded a financial gain of 34% higher. How do you think this gain is justified?

Lorena: Let's keep it real: women are by far more organized, time-efficient, more detail-oriented than men, generally speaking.

There is substantial evidence, besides financial gain, to account for the beneficial contribution: diversity, the impact of having females in leading roles and some science facts like the differences in the structure of and activity in the brain.

Ioana D: Our biological role as women is to protect, nurture and grow so I think we apply the same methods when it comes to our team or project and this leads us to better results.

Ioana E: Gender diversity in management teams, especially in IT is beneficial for any big company/corporation. I believe the reason is related to the differences in thinking and acting between the two genders. While men are good and more confident at taking action, women tend to be better at carefully analyzing problems. Having great analytical and intuitive skills, women make great contributions in management areas.

Diana: It is due to the fact that gender-balanced environments are more competitive, creative and productive. This applies not only to the tech sector but to all industries. Let's not forget, that almost half of our beneficiaries are females and that has to be reflected in both management and team composition.

4. The political literature has theorized the concept of "glass ceiling" to describe an invisible upper limit in organizations, over which it is difficult or impossible to rise — a metaphor, in the case of women, of informal barriers difficult to see, which prevents them from access promotions, salary increases and other opportunities. Is there a glass ceiling in IT?

Lorena: Over 60% of women in tech feel that men are still the favorites when it comes to leadership roles and that they are being judged according to different standards, not to mention the gender gap pay. All these facts point towards glass ceiling.

Ioana D: I was lucky enough to actually never see women being treated differently in any of the companies I previously worked at. Indeed, I believe there are things men are better at and vice-versa, but when it comes to our professional life I can’t see any difference, especially in fields where the main muscle you use is your mind.

Ioana E: From my personal experience, I haven’t felt it in the environments I have worked in. Moreover, the women’s contribution was highly appreciated and I've seen a lot of women in high position roles. There might still be places where there is a small reservation towards them but I haven’t had any experience with it.

Diana: If we take a look at the BigTech companies, it is obvious that there is one. The industry is very diverse and so are the companies. There is a huge difference between start-ups and big companies, considering company culture and management. I think that start-ups are more focused on results and the value you bring to the company, no matter the age, background or gender. As a start-up, you need motivated people, talented people and you need to make sure to create a positive environment that attracts and retains those people.

5. Why Sensidev?

Lorena: As a start-up company, Sensidev is aiming for equality, growth and the importance of teamwork, an environment where anyone can speak their mind and share ideas. Do I need to say more?

Ioana D: As I mentioned before, we are meant to grow and nurture things. At Sensidev, my girly side gets to do great things and grow the company and my boy side gets to play with the coolest tech stack on the market.

Ioana E: It’s an excellent place to learn and grow while having great colleagues and a flexible program. Projects are interesting and engaging. For me, working on a project used in health care is also a big motivation. The environment is great for both women and men, being easy to interact, work with and learn from everybody in the company.

Diana: First of all, because it's a small company, built on healthy values. It's a company that values people and doesn't see them as resources. It's also focused on developing software that brings value to society using the latest technologies. It's a place where you feel like you matter, that you have a voice and you can reach your highest potential.

6. If you had to give a piece of advice to a young female who wants to start such a career, what would be the first thing that comes to your mind?

Lorena: Have a little faith in yourself, I know it can seem overwhelming and impossible at times, but if a man can do it, you can do it twice as better!

Ioana D: Be your own superhero!

Ioana E: It can be a really amazing field to work in as a woman. Be confident and try to overcome the fear and self-doubt you might feel in the beginning. Figuring out your strengths helps you learn how you can use them to gain a higher sense of confidence. Don’t feel discouraged by the smaller number of women in IT, because we bring value and soft skills that are very beneficial and appreciated.

Diana: Do it and reach out to us if you need any advice or even a chance to start somewhere. It is a male-dominated industry, but there is a need for women. Choose wisely the company you work with, and remember that companies are very different. If you have one bad experience, don't give up. Find the place that is right for you, because I can guarantee that there is one. Also, explore various areas that are not related to technology, because they will be very useful in your career. Software is about people, and your experience as a human being can bring value to other people in one way or another. Even if you don't have an education in technology, that doesn't mean you can't build a career in IT. If you think you like it, give it a shot. It's not easy, it's a competitive environment, but it's very rewarding!

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