For this week of our series celebrating Women’s History Month, we had a chance to chat with two ladies who know what it’s like to be one of the few in the field of technology where the population of women comes to a measly 20%. So, we wanted to find out a little bit about their work and what advice they would give to women looking to make a career in the field of technology.
Would you share a little bit about what it is that you do and what a typical day for you is like?
Monica: I am the Quality Assurance Lead for Eagle6, which means I am responsible for the quality of our products and services to the customer. During a typical day, I email and message my team to share information, to review their activities, and to hear their concerns. I direct and attend meetings with other groups to determine how QA can help with their tasks and what QA needs from them to complete our tasks. I research QA tools and tricks being used by other industries to see what benefits they could provide to Eagle6. I help strengthen our internal processes through testing and metrics, and coordinate product releases to the customer.
Jackie: As a UX designer, my job revolves around empathy and understanding the people I design for. It’s half psychology and half design. A normal day for me includes reviewing feedback from the internal team and users and creating design tasks around them. I then research the requests before creating wireframes (rough screen designs) to get feedback on. Then I use that feedback to move on to high fidelity screen designs, which I handoff to my developers to code.
Monica, have you always done what you do now? What did you do before this job?
Monica: I have been involved in Quality Assurance for many years, but have also been a SQL programmer, project engineer, implementation analyst, systems analyst, network admin, and IT site lead. I have worked on hardware, software, phone systems, cabling, network updates, server administration, disaster recovery, implementation, training and mentorship, and all types of tech support.
Jackie, what made you want to be in the technology field?
Jackie: I have been interested in technology since I was in grade school, including computer games, desktop publishing, and engineering. When I began to pursue a career in art, digital art was a natural step for me. My career took me from product design to graphic design and marketing, then visual design before landing where I am now as a UX designer.
What do you think a technology company could do to increase the number of women in the technology field?
Jackie: Creating a welcoming culture is a big part of it. STEM fields have been male-dominated and there is often an awkward and judgmental atmosphere when women enter into the technology field. Hiring more women would definitely help, especially hiring women in high-level management and decision-making positions. Companies should also ensure that they’re paying the women equally to their male peers.
What advice/insight would you give to a woman who is considering a career in the technology field? What do you wish you would have known?
Monica: Don’t downplay your skills and own your achievements.
Jackie: Don’t settle for less than your male peers, you are good enough, so don’t doubt yourself so much, and keep learning, never stop learning.
In your opinions, how can we encourage women to come/stay in technology?
Monica: Hands-on experience is excellent. There are lots of resources to learn soft skills and concepts, but there is no substitute for actual experiences. Internships and mentoring programs are valuable tools for this.
Jackie: Having women in technology speak and are visible is a massive part. Girls won’t pursue a career they can’t see themselves in, and seeing a female astronaut, or engineer, or programmer inspires girls and helps them set their goals high.
What question/questions are you most tired of hearing when it comes to talking about women in technology? What question (or questions) do you think should be asked instead?
Monica: I don’t mind being asked questions. It’s an opportunity to educate.
Jackie: It is tiresome to be asked, as a woman in tech, to do more for women in tech. Although it’s important for us to advocate for other women in tech, we already must work harder to be recognized and acknowledged. We need men to support and fight for women in tech. Let them use their privilege to spread the wealth. These questions should be directed to men and get them thinking about how they can support women and let us work.
Thank you so much to Monica and Jackie for taking the time out of their day to answer my questions! Here at Rivera Group, we believe in being yourself and building as a team. If you’re looking for your next big opportunity, find your fit at riverainc.com/careers.