Celebrating Women in Tech This International Women’s Day
Tomorrow, March 8th, we celebrate International Women’s Day; a day which promotes gender equality, drives initiatives to support women globally and celebrates the achievements of women in all walks of life. The campaign theme for IWD 2019 is #BalanceforBetter and encourages a “call to action for accelerating gender parity.” Ways to achieve this can include celebrating women challenging the status quo and raising awareness of the inequalities still present in today’s society.
This Women’s Day we acknowledge and praise women in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) roles and for this article we’ve sat down with Sasha Abramova, PubNative’s Frontend Developer, to learn about her experiences as a woman working in the tech industry.
Can you share a bit about what you do and what a typical working day is like for you?
I’m a Frontend Developer so I’m responsible for client-side website development, however not in terms of design, but more so implementing user-facing features and functionalities.
Here at PubNative, we work on two main projects; the PN dashboard and our own AdTag. A typical day for me would be fixing urgent issues/bugs and implementing new features. Like most tech teams, we have a plan for each quarter containing tasks on what we want to implement and improve, which is then split into sprints lasting two weeks.
How did you get into the tech industry? Did you always want to have a career as a Frontend Developer?
I studied Computer Science which included a range of topics such as programming, algorithms, data analysis, etc. and I began working as a Frontend Developer in Ukraine after I received my degree. I didn’t necessarily always want to be a Frontend Developer specifically but I liked that my degree allowed me to choose what I wanted as it covered so much.
Education in this field can be tricky as everything moves so quickly and if you want to keep your knowledge up-to-date, you need to study every day! What was relevant even three years ago is not relevant at all today, even more so for frontend as there are constantly new changes.
How do you stay updated with the current trends in your field?
I make sure to check multiple weekly/monthly digests, Facebook groups, websites and even occasionally checking new job descriptions to see how the role is changing!
The position of Frontend Developer is interesting as it is so broad, different people understand things in different ways and it can range from being more design-related to more technical.
It’s no secret that many women in the tech industry feel that their gender has affected the way they are perceived or treated. Have you ever been in a situation like that? How did you handle it?
Personally, I don’t find it such a big problem as tech companies are always looking for people to hire, male or female. I think just once in the workplace when I started my professional career I overheard two male managers saying something like “this is a really simple project so it’s okay that there are girls doing it”. However, on a day-to-day basis, it does not influence my work. I think there are actually more women in this role and also in Quality Assurance so these positions seem to be more female-friendly.
Would you say from your own experiences that you’ve seen improvements in diversity in your field over the years?
Yes, I know a lot of women in tech managerial roles including some female friends, however, I do believe that it is generally harder for women to maintain a career and family on top of everything else.
What steps could be taken to attract more women to work in the tech industry?
I think in my generation the gender division began at an early age as young girls were not encouraged to study subjects like maths and physics or to enroll in tech universities, so that may be one reason there are not as many women working in tech. To solve this, we need to start encouraging girls from a young age that these fields are simply not a ‘Boy’s Club’.
I’ve already noticed that this is gradually improving and more women are breaking into the industry. I believe that in ten years there will already be plenty of more interest from women to work in STEM roles.
What advice would you give to women interested in starting a career in tech?
As mentioned, I would encourage females from a young age that this is not a ‘male-dominated’ field and that there’s room for both men and women – it’s not rocket science. (Obviously both female and male are capable of rocket science too!) At the end of the day, we are not doing something really complex and everyone is capable of achieving success in the tech industry – male or female.
A big thank you to Sasha for giving us an insight into her role as a Frontend Developer.
The fact remains that women still make up less than one quarter of global STEM positions so there are still challenges to overcome, but by celebrating the successes of women in tech and encouraging female participation from an early age, this percentage already has the potential to be a lot higher for International Women’s Day next year.
Want to know more about International Women’s Day and how you can support? Check out the website here.