Celebrating Women in Tech: Insights from Female Software Engineers at Acre
In honour of International Women’s Day, we spoke with Acre’s female software engineers to discuss their experiences and perspectives on being women in a male-dominated industry.
Rosa, Viktorija (“VDaug”), and Shehneel share their favourite things about working in software engineering, offer advice to women interested in pursuing careers in tech, and touch on topics such as imposter syndrome, lack of female role models and mentors, and combating biases in the tech industry.
Although traditionally women have been underrepresented in technical roles, there are many talented role models like Rosa, VDaug, and Shehneel who are making significant contributions to the field.
Their conversation highlights the challenges that women face in tech, but also emphasises the importance of perseverance, finding supportive communities, and owning their abilities.
We hope that this discussion helps listeners gain insight into the experiences of these impressive women in tech and work towards a more inclusive and diverse industry.
Rosa: In my early years, I loved building things with computers. I'm less attracted to pure data science because it's less visual. My career started with an early internship in Spain with an aerospace company that was very data-oriented. Then I moved to the UK and met great allies.
VDaug: After uni, I landed a random back-office job in a tech company. That's when I discovered programming is kind of cool. I started with the backend because I thought frontend is just changing button colours, but then I slowly went into full stack and realised that frontend is actually just 10% styling! It's nice to have visual feedback and see the user impact.
Shehneel: My background was in maths. I was an analyst for a bit and that didn't suit me. So I became a consultant for a bit, which also didn't suit me. Then I tried data science, but the backend engineers had access to models that were a lot better than the ones I could make. Like AWS endpoints which I didn’t know how to access at the time. So I started to learn backend to be a better data scientist. I started to enjoy it a lot more because data science involves a lot of data cleaning and talking as opposed to backend where you get things out.
VDaug: It's nice to contribute to a new industry that has a lot of potential. It's also a low-stress environment that is collaborative and supportive.
Rosa: I agree with VDaug. The future is tech and it’s a promising career path. Also, it's flexible with working hours and there are so many different areas you can work in.
Shehneel: The best part is probably the code.
Rosa: Apply to roles that interest you, even if you don't meet every requirement. You won’t lose anything. Surround yourself with people who remind you that you are valid.
Shehneel: Follow your gut. If there are bad vibes, remove yourself from those situations or deal with them head-on. There are unfriendly people in the industry, but there are also very nice people.
VDaug: Encourage diversity. Don't be afraid of being a female, speak up in meetings and ask for more money!
Rosa: I wasn’t supported in my early years, but luckily, some men were very pro-women. Reuben was always on my side. It wasn't until recent years that I saw more women in tech. Just be aware of the biases and call them out. Encourage diversity and surround yourself with people who remind you that you are valid.
Shehneel: There aren't many women in tech events, but it's great to see female CTOs and learn from them.
VDaug: It can be very intimidating to go to a male-dominated workplace as a female. However, being that single female can shift the dynamic. Although this may not immediately change the environment, it's important to trust yourself and your abilities to do the job and own the space.
Junior professionals may find it even harder to assert themselves in these environments. Therefore, it's up to those already in the industry to pave the way for future generations of women. Hopefully, the workplace will be more inclusive for women in the future.