In our recent International Women’s Day blog post we highlighted the fact that despite growing awareness there’s still a significant gender gap in the tech industry. As part of our ongoing efforts to attract and promote the best software craftspeople in the industry, we spoke to our team members Solange Gasengayire, Aurelija Zubaviciute and Cherry Tsui for our regular podcast series.
Read on for some highlights about their career journeys into the tech industry and the support they received. Or you can listen to the entire podcast to hear them discuss where they think the industry could do better.
Solange: Could you tell us a bit more about your background before joining Codurance.
Cherry: Before Codurance, I worked for two and a half years at an ecommerce company in Vancouver. Before that I worked in an internship for a year, for a really small company. They did product review analysis. And before that I was in school.
SG: And what is your academic background?
CT: I studied computer science. So pretty stereotypical. I started with physics and added computer science on top of that.
SG: All right, and you Aurelija?
Aurelija: Very, very different to Cherry's experience. Before Codurance, I worked in the finance company for two years and a few months. Before that I did a boot camp to get into technology. And then before that, I worked in retail. And then before that it was school. I came from the film and TV production side. So it had nothing to do with IT or tech. It was more of a how to produce films and becoming a producer and project manager.
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SG: All right. How do you feel your unique background has prepared you for success in the tech industry?
AZ: I think being able to work with different people.
SG: Would you say that it allows you to adapt easily?
AZ: Maybe yeah. Because I changed my career choices quite a lot through school and college, up until Codurance. It has allowed me to really quickly adapt to new changes to learning new languages. I guess that probably would be it.
CT: Did you say that used to be like some sort of manager under your previous role.
AZ: Yeah, product management a little bit and a business analysis as well.
CT: I did notice that when we work together on projects that, perhaps that experience really helped you to come up with good solutions and for our team dynamics. You know, whenever we had problems with the team, you shared really good ideas. Like what should I start doing? Yeah. So I think that really helped you.
AZ: Yeah, I guess so. I don't really think about it. It is just like you have coding. It's automatic at this point and you don't really think about them. You just go with it and it allows me to see different perspectives. I see both sides from the business side, but also from the developer side, how to come to a solution. So I guess that that's also another thing.
SG: Exactly. transferable skills from one industry to another. Definitely. Yes. What about you? Cherry?
CT: A lot of problem solving, I suppose. In my physics programme, there was a lot of that. It had the same kind of mindset that you would put into writing software. Yeah, and I guess, I did a lot of coding too.
SG: Is there someone or something that has influenced you to pursue a career in technology?
CT: For me, not so much.
SG: Oh, you made the choice yourself?
CT: I think I just kind of fell into it.
AZ: Yeah, it kind of just happened. I was always interested in that. So it just fell into my lap, I guess, like the interest and the timing.
SG: Was there anything or anyone who tried to dissuade you from pursuing this as a career?
AZ: Yes. So many people. Even now I get the same questions, I still get surprised loads. But I tell them, I'm a software developer. Even after I finished my bootcamp and was looking for a job, one of the recruiters pretty much just told me that I should have just done computer science. I would have a better chance to get into IT than the way that I did. Obviously, hearing that really puts me in a bad mood, and discourages you from applying for jobs. But I guess that really helped me personally, because I decided to almost prove him wrong. I didn't know him, but I really wanted to prove him wrong. That I can get into IT without having that background.
SG: Yeah and Cherry, did anyone or anything tried to persuade you not to go into tech?
CT: I don't think so. I didn't have any blockers. My parents were mostly supportive of anything I do.
SG: Do you have any female role models? And not just in the tech industry, maybe even outside? People that you look up to.
CT: My mother?
SG: I was about to say the same thing. Yeah. Definitely, even when I was not conscious of it, growing up, but she has always been the North Star pretty much. You know, if she can do it, I can do it.
CT: Oh, it's very similar. Like you just said, my mom was someone that's who is super supportive with me and my sisters. She really pushed us to go above and beyond, and try new things, you know? Whenever I'd be feeling down about something she'd be my biggest cheerleader.
SG: What about you Aurelija?
AZ: I think yeah, definitely this probably the same answer. My mom is such a strong person. And she's always so supportive of anything I do. Sometimes she might not agree with my choices. But she's still gonna be number one, supporting me. Whatever I do, whether that's changing my career completely, to this morning, for example, I was in a very long meeting, and my mom just asked if I wanted coffee. Just helping me on a daily basis.
SG: What about maybe not your first role model, but one in the tech industry specifically? Are there any women that you look up to?
AZ: I can't think of one specific. I like to learn from lots of individuals. I used to go to a lot of meetups specifically for women in tech. And there were a lot of different women from different environments. There hasn't been one specific person, it's been more individuals in different areas that have been able to teach me for which I'm very grateful.
CT: I don't think I know enough women in tech! I definitely need to meet more. I think all the ladies that I've worked with have been super awesome. But the city I was from, the tech industry is not as big as it is in London. So I'm excited to meet more here.
SG: As for me, I think my career path has been shaped by the women that I've seen at conferences or YouTube. You can have access materials that are presented from all over the place, all over the world. I think my view of what a career in tech looks like has been greatly impacted by seeing women in these roles. We talked about the fact that as you grow in your career, you assume more senior responsibilities. It becomes harder and harder. But seeing that they are women in leadership positions really inspires me a lot. Okay, it may not be easy to get there. But they made it. So it's possible. So why not you?
At Codurance, we’re always looking for talented women to join our team of crafts people. While you’re here, why not take a quick look at our careers page to see if there’s a role that inspires you?