Women in Tech Series - Sandra's experience

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Women in Tech Series - Sandra's experience

Posted 06 April 2022

Continuing from International Women’s day in March, we would love to continue 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, we highlight Sandra’s experience as a woman in tech. Sandra is a co-founder and a COO at Ziverge. She discusses how tech communities are an extremely powerful tool for growing adoption of useful technologies, her career highlights especially co-founding Ziverge, and her advice on how women can get started in Tech. If you are a woman thinking of starting your career and trying to find you way against the odds, we think you will be inspired by Sandra's story. 

What made you want to be involved in the tech community? 

Early in my career, I realized that tech communities are an extremely powerful tool for growing adoption of useful technologies, because they provide a platform for advocating technology. If you are advocating technology to engineers, you need to focus on value creation, education, and heavy investment–and this approach will be fruitful in the long run. Following this strategy made me successful in my past roles (and now), working with CTOs, VPs of Engineering, and developers. The same principle also applies while working with other engineering divisions. 

Look at the example of ZIO in the Scala community. ZIO started with John De Goes working days, nights, and weekends for free, with the brave early adopters, and with a small group of amazing, skilled contributors from across the world dedicating their free time. 

 Look at ZIO now. ZIO has 3.5 million downloads every month, thousands of folks on Discord and across Meetup platforms, and growing commercial adoption across companies like Capital One, Axoni, Disney Streaming, Adidas, Credit Karma, and many startups choosing ZIO to drive their technology. Such a powerful, vibrant, and growing community!

It came from the solid, robust, and pragmatic functional Scala approach that John has been teaching for years, which has provided real value to hundreds of Scala developers. Not only this, but investing and educating the community, it all adds up and plays a role, bearing fruit in the long run. It’s ongoing work.

What was your first role within a tech company?

Developer Advocate at a Lisbon-based tech startup focused on code analysis, engineering analytics, and code insights. I’ve converted quickly into a Head of Sales building my sales team.  

Any particular highlights of your career?

Co-funding Ziverge has been so far the biggest highlight of my career. Building the company from scratch, investing heavily in the Scala ZIO community by improving the library and the functional Scala ecosystem, creating opportunities for engineers, and helping our clients scale; being able to make an impact and do it the way we want to do it, without anyone dictating the rules. I feel fantastic to have helped grow our team to 40 amazingly skilled and senior Solution Architects and Software Engineers, to support them on a daily basis, and to see the huge ZIO adoption. It makes me feel we are on the right path. 

Is there anything a woman can do to get started, such as courses, conferences to attend, etc?

If you want to start in tech, you need to educate yourself regardless of your gender. You need to want to be good at tech. How else can you provide value? Don’t count on overnight success.

As for women specifically, I would recommend getting involved with the tech community, joining the channels, asking questions to help you grow, and not being afraid to ask for help. You belong to the community as anyone else. In a healthy community, like the ZIO community in Scala, people are extremely helpful and often proactively offer to pair with you. 

Attend conferences and events, and actively work to broaden your network of professional connections. It will make your career success easier and you will feel more supported. That, of course, does not exclude the need for hard work and investment from your side!

 Leverage other women in technology, and learn from their experiences.

What can be done to raise awareness and encourage women to work in Tech?

Encouraging girls to start with technology early at school. Unfortunately, many of us are being heavily discouraged. I remember from my own experience being bullied in high school by my female math teacher, laughed at for not being able to solve a problem immediately, under pressure, with 30 peers looking at me. I remember being told I am not talented.

Well, maybe I didn’t have a natural talent for math, but I was able to put in the time and effort, and that’s what matters. It led me to where I am today.

Best piece of advice? 

 My piece of advice for women that want to start their career in tech is: YOU CAN LEARN ANYTHING you want. Never let anyone tell you otherwise.

What can encourage nowadays women to work in tech?

A support network of other women (mentoring and educating), sharing openly what we are going through (the good and the bad experiences), working on eliminating unhealthy biases in the workspace, and advocating for equal pay for equal skills. Together, we are proving that tech is our space too!

Make sure to watch Sandra's video below:

We’d like to thank Sandra for her insightful contribution to this blog. Based on her experience, insight and knowledge, we hope that her story will inspire and motivate many women in tech, or women thinking of joining the tech industry.

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 hello@umatr.io 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. 

#BecauseUMATR💙💫

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