With International Women’s day (or month for us!) happening in March, we would love to be able to share stories of women in tech, in the hope that it will inspire young women thinking of starting out, or women who are trying to find their way against the odds.
In this blog, Amy Czuchlewski answered a few questions about her experience of being a woman in tech - from finding passion for coding, to her early career, to her position now as a Software Engineer. With that comes a lot of advice, challenges, but most importantly highlights!
When pursuing a career in technology, Amy did not realize how male-dominated it was, and throughout her career experienced few cases of stereotyping and discrimination, yet through confidence, she managed to put pull through! From her own experience, she is pretty aware of the situation in the industry, so she shared her best advice and a few ways to get started! Keep on reading, you’ll love it!
1. When did you know that you wanted to pursue a career in technology, and why?
Funny, that... I took an aptitude test in high school that said I should go into computer programming, so I looked into it and thought it sounded like an interesting career. I was really surprised when I got to college and realized that I was one of just a few women in my engineering classes - it hadn't occurred to me that it was a male-dominated field!
2. Where and how did you start?
My first job out of college was at Motorola, where I was an engineer working on the first mobile phone that supported downloadable apps (before the iPhone). That experience really set the stage for my career which has been centered around mobile apps and B2C experiences.
3. Any particular highlights of your career?
I could talk about awards, or big tech releases, but honestly for me it is all about people. I am tremendously blessed to have worked with so many amazing people throughout my career - mentors, leaders, cheerleaders, supporters and friends.
4. Are there any challenges you have faced being a woman in tech?
Like most women in tech, I have lots of stories, but here is a funny one. I was working at a digital agency, and walked into a client meeting. I was wearing a cute dress, funky boots, and a cool necklace. So the client takes one look at me and says "Oh, you must be from the creative team?" It was fun to tell him "No, actually I'm the head of engineering, it's great to meet you!"
5. Is there anything women can do to get started, such as courses, conferences to attend etc?
We are so lucky to be in a field where a college degree is helpful, but not required! There are lots of resources available, but my best advice would be to mentor, since the best way to learn is to teach. I'm involved with a non-profit called Bold Idea that teaches kids to code in Dallas, but also check out Girls Who Code, or Black Girls Code, there are a number of great organizations where you can work with kids and hone your own skills, too.
6. What can be done to raise awareness and encourage women to work in Tech?
In order to inspire more women and girls to work in technology we need to make sure they can see themselves. There aren't a lot of examples of successful women in tech in media, so we all need to do our part to be visible. Speak at conferences, schools, or with local groups like the girl scouts. Get active in organizations that are making a difference like SWE, WIT or ATW.
7. Best piece of advice?
My grandma used to say "If someone else can do it, then gosh darn it, I can do it too." Don't let anyone tell you that you can't do something because of who you are - look for inspiration from others who have achieved success and don't be afraid to ask for help when you need it!
We would like to thank Amy so much for her insightful contribution! Based on her answers, we hope that her story will inspire and motivate many women in tech, or women thinking of joining the tech industry.
Our key takeaways:
- Mentor, since the best way to learn is to teach.
- Don’t let anyone tell you you can’t do it.
- Who and where you work is important, and has a big impact.
- We need to spread awareness about Women in tech through social media. If you’re a woman in tech, it’s important to speak at conferences, schools, or with local groups like the girl scouts.
At UMATR, we encourage diversity in the workplace, and work with tech companies that share the same values as us. We’re happy to say that we’ve placed several female software engineers across many companies, and we continue to do so.
Are you a female engineer looking for a new Scala role, or a tech company looking for talent? Get in touch with firstname.lastname@example.org and work with us today. At UMATR, as tech recruiters, we are committed to helping you find your dream role, or finding your ideal talent Because You Matter. 💙