Fri 08 March 2019

Balance for Better: Women in Technology Codethink Interviews

by Tim Pockney , 2019 , Tags women in technology international womens day women in tech

The theme of International Women’s Day 2019 is ‘Balance for Better’. It is reported that 17% of those working in technology sector in the UK are female, an imbalance that has drawn a lot of attention. For International Women’s Day this year, I talked to a few of the female Codethink employees, Jeeeun, Ashwini and Fay, so that they can introduce themselves and their perceptions on working in software as a woman…

Jeeeun

Tim: What is your role at Codethink?

Jeeeun: I'm a software developer. I'm working on analysing and fixing production issues of automotive infotainment systems.

Tim: How did you get into technology?

Jeeeun: My interest in technology started from the computer that my father brought home when I was 5. When I got a question like "what do you want to be when you grow up?", I always answered "computer programmer" even though I mainly used it to play games. When I was 12 or 13, I started learning C language and enjoyed it. So I chose to study mechatronic engineering (because I wanted to learn electronics as well).

Tim: What do you think are the biggest misconceptions about working in the Tech sector as a woman today?

Jeeeun: I think the biggest misconception/myth/stereotype is “women are not good at maths, science or technology”. This is not true and discourages young women from studying STEM subjects.

Tim: Who inspires you in technology?

Jeeeun: I can’t think of a specific person but I’ve been inspired by my colleagues. They are amazing, smart and funny. I love all the geeky jokes in our IRC channel.

Tim: What advice would you give to a woman interested in a career in technology?

Jeeeun: Ignore the negative things people say. Only focus on the positive things. You can be anything you want to be. Gender doesn’t define a job role.

Ashwini

Tim: What is your role at Codethink?

Ashwini: I'm a Software developer at Codethink.

Tim: How did you get into technology?

Ashwini: My elder brother started this trend in my family as he enrolled in computer science in the undergraduate programme. It took no time for me to get inspired by the things he was doing for his assignments or projects. Soon, I realised that this field is the one where there are immense scope and opportunities to create the wonders. So I intended to follow his path. Fortunately, I was able to crack the exam to get into studying engineering. Projects and assignments in every semester were mesmerizing even though they seemed like a headache at the beginning. But happiness at the end of a successful project was so splendid that all the hard work was worth it. My first project of my career was one more feather to the technology's cap. The project was initiated because it was costing billions if they wanted to change the design of the current hardware, instead, they decided to write code to increase the efficiency of the hardware. Everyday technology fails not to amuse me and so the is bond getting stronger and stronger between my career and technology.

Tim: What do you think are the biggest misconceptions about working in the Tech sector as a woman today?

Ashwini: Technology sector is obsessed by some people who always think that women are not fit for working in it. I really wonder about their thought process by which they draw these conclusions. One of the myths is that women are not good at logic/maths so they are not skilful to work in tech. I have heard a lot of people saying that women can't have a successful tech career and have family life. They believe that a woman is too sentimental to make any business decisions and so the list goes on which are passed from generation to generation. But beating all these myths the world is already powered up with the greatest work done by women!

Tim: Who inspires you in technology?

Ashwini: When I started my career in technology, just like a caterpillar in a cocoon, I was also encircled by some myths about women working in tech. But they just disappeared like a bubble when I saw my colleagues handling it profoundly well. They inspired me well enough to kick start my tech career. Not to forget my other best inspiration, my husband!. He is a great motivator who always reloads me with his great advice during the not so good days of my career.

Tim: What advice would you give to a woman interested in a career in technology?

Ashwini: The technology field is like a magical world, you can create or improve anything that comes under its umbrella. All that you need is a little patience and confidence. Don't be biased by the disparities between men and women that are driven by society. Be fearless and get the ideas out of your mind and shared with your colleagues. Do not be menaced by people with greater experience, because remember no idea is poor and who knows it might be a wonder someday. So remove your doubts, put your shoes on and get ready to showcase your powers to the world!

Fay

Tim: What is your role at Codethink?

Fay: Project Manager

Tim: How did you get into technology?

Fay: My Dad was a computer programmer who ran his own software company so when I was growing up, technology was always around. When I wanted a job in the school holidays I went to work for him and became 'hooked' on playing with/learning about tech.

Tim: What do you think are the biggest misconceptions about working in the Tech sector as a woman today?

Fay: Firstly, that tech is not a flexible place for women (or anyone) to work - If anything it's one of the most flexible sectors there is - if you have a computer you can do your job to a large extent.

Secondly, that tech is full of stereotypical (male) computer geeks and women are not welcome. Obviously there are some geeks (not all male) and I have certainly never been made to feel unwelcome in any tech company I've worked in.

Tim: Who inspires you in technology?

Fay: Hedy Lamarr, the American actress who. with composer George Antheil, developed a radio guidance system for Allied torpedoes that used spread spectrum and frequency hopping technology to defeat the threat of jamming by the Axis powers. The principles of their work are incorporated into Bluetooth technology and are similar to methods used in legacy versions of CDMA and Wi-Fi. For me she proves that you can't spot a brilliant mind by just judging someone’s appearance.

Tim: What advice would you give to a woman interested in a career in technology?

Fay: Just do it, if you want to meet women in tech then look for groups like Girl Geeks or Women of Silicon Roundabout (or any of the many others) - they all welcome anyone who wants to join them (not just women) and are friendly supportive places to discuss tech with like-minded people


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