Advice, Women in Tech

How I Got Into The Tech Industry And Thrive As A Woman In Tech

Last year, I was invited to be on the panel for g:URL Code, which is an event to encourage and inspire women and girls to take a step into the digital world. I thought I’d share the questions and answers because they were great questions and you can also get a glimpse of how I got started in the coding world.

Why did you decide to learn to code?
I feel that my story is a bit unconventional — I grew up in a third-world country and I didn’t grow up tinkering with computers. So learning how to code was never in my list of things to do growing up. My family got our first personal computer when I was 15 and around the same time, I enrolled in business and computing course at college. But I actually only started coding when I started my undergraduate degree in Computer Science. I learned to code because programming was a subject in my Computer Science curriculum. I had to code to pass my subjects. However, I fell in love with coding. I continue coding and chose coding as a career because I love solving problems and I love the feeling of accomplishment that I get when I solve a problem via code.

When you decided to enter this industry, were you concerned about facing prejudice as a woman?
Not really because I didn’t know that women were treated differently in this industry. Sometimes, ignorance is a bliss. Besides that, I have been brought up to believe anyone can succeed at anything if they put their mind to it, gender was and is never an issue to me.

What’s the best thing about your job?
The best thing about my job is that I got to stay at the forefront of the ever-changing technology landscape and I got to work with so many intelligent men and women, solving problems and hopefully making the lives of many people better through technology.

What do you like about your role?
I am currently a Development Manager at an enterprise software company in Sydney but I don’t like to limit myself to a job title. My role, whether at work, in the community or at home, is to inspire others to do their best and facilitate continuous improvement and a growth mindset. And being able to do that while being at the forefront of technology and witnessing the fast growth that we are experiencing right now in the software and IT industry is icing on the cake.

Which programming languages do you know? Which one is your favorite?
When I started my career, I was a web developer but looked after everything from front-end to back-end to site operations. In today’s world, it’d be called a full-stack developer + devOps. I have used a lot of programming languages — such as C, .NET, PHP, Java, Javascript, HTML, CSS and a bit of Python. I don’t have a favourite, I use whatever language is fit-for-purpose.

How can we get more girls into coding from a young age?
I have been thinking about this question for a while and not too long ago, I had a light-bulb moment. I said to myself — what better way to answer than to put myself in the mind of a young girl. I have a six years old daughter and my daughter loves to express herself through dancing, singing and art. A lot of her friends are the same. When she sees me on my computer, especially when she sees me coding in a black IDE with green and red text, she thinks it’s boring. Coding is not considered cool for young girls at school. So first of all, we need to introduce coding on those mediums or platforms that little girls are interested in and naturally drawn toward. Show them what they can build. Don’t teach them coding for the sake of coding, but teach them how they can unleash their creativity and artistic side via code.

Why are there more men in coding than women?
This is a million-dollar question. Like I mentioned earlier, girls tend to express themselves differently when they are young. I guess this continues and influences the career paths that they choose later in their lives.

Do you need to know how to code to build a tech start-up?
I don’t think it’s a must-have but it is a very useful skill to have. Even if you don’t know how to code, if you understand how things work behind the scenes, it’ll help you make better and more informed decisions as a founder. But don’t be discouraged if you have no idea how to code and you are thinking of being a start-up founder. Nobody was born coding, so it’s a skill that anyone can learn.

Is there anything you would change or improve about the industry?
I would like our tech industry to be more ethical, diverse and inclusive. The main objective of leveraging technology should be to better the lives of humans and to make this world a better place — much better than we found it. We can only achieve that if we include everyone and be mindful about everyone.

What advice would you give to a woman looking to make career move and learn to code?
Do it and keep at it. I’ve always believed that if you want to be great at something, you need to practice and be open to opportunities and sometimes setbacks. Learning to code is no different. Most importantly, remember what you want to achieve via coding. Don’t code for the sake of coding. Code to build things, to unleash your creativity and artistic talent.


Announcement
I have recently kick-started a new project to support women in technology, by empowering us and being the voice for us.

Browse through Women in Technology Shop for phone cases, bags, T-shirts, hoodies, stickers, mugs, home decor and other accessories with designs that promote women in technology and diversity and inclusion. Buy your favourites to wear them, frame them or display them.

It’s my hope that the more we come together as a community and supporters of women in technology, the more we can contribute to making a positive difference in gender equity and inclusion in the technology industry.