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, Helena Munoz, shares her experience of being a woman in tech - from finding passion for coding, to her early career, to her position now as a Senior Software Engineer at Monte Carlo. With that comes a lot of advice, challenges, but most importantly highlights!
Going to the very beginning - back to the school days - Helena’s favorite subject was math. And as much as she liked it, she knew it wasn’t something she wanted to do career-wise. She described herself as a “more practical, loving to solve very concrete problems” kind-of-person, so that’s when computer science came into the picture, she said it was “the best of both worlds”- the challenge of facing a problem and being able to solve it.
What made it slightly more difficult, is the fact that there wasn’t a lot of research or resources she could look at - like we do now. Yet, this didn’t stop Helena from pursuing her technical career as a programming analyst, before finishing high school.
What does Helena suggest to do to get started?
1.Talking to people - asking questions is important. Helena was never scared to ask questions to her teachers, mentors, classmates, or colleagues. If she was ever curious, she’d ask and those answers shaped her as a person now. Always try to remember that people are happy to help.
2.Meet-ups- they allow you to connect with people, and guess what? ASK QUESTIONS.
3.YouTube- A huge resource! It’s a platform with a lot of information on almost anything, so it may be beneficial to use it to find out what area you would like to focus on.
4. There’s a lot of sites with resources- data is big right now.
Taking Helena as an example, you can see all these suggestions actually work! With her ambition and drive, we can assume there’s a lot of career highlights too. When asked, Helena didn’t even hesitate and said it’s actually working at her current role at Monte Carlo! It demonstrates how working at a place that is exclusive to all genders and promotes diversity outweighs everything else. It can be uplifting and motivating.
Fortunately, Helena is lucky that in her career she always worked in a diverse workplace full of women. Nevertheless, it wasn’t always easy. It was much harder for her voice to be heard than her male colleagues. How did she overcome it? She kept talking. It took weeks, but worked. This ties in perfectly with her advice - “Fake it til you make it”. In this society, it’s particularly hard to overcome the imposter syndrome, and the stereotypes that society expects women to do, including the career they should pursue, and how they are treated at work. The most important thing is to learn how to overcome the fear, act like you’re the right person for it. Confidence is the key!
As to what can be done to raise awareness and encourage women to work in tech, she said this! What we, at UMATR, are doing with this series of blogs is spreading awareness and encouraging women that anything is possible. At the same time, we are able to share stories and to show exactly how many women are actually working in tech.
Whilst having a discussion, Helena raised a good issue about how she recently saw a company publish a video showcasing their company, and while it looked good, on a deeper level you realize that the workplace was male-dominated… not a single woman in sight. It’s daunting to think that companies are not using their full potential to encourage female workers - which can be done in several ways as shown in our previous blog.
On the other spectrum, there are companies like Monte Carlo who are inclusive. They have a group of women who meet up monthly, and each month they have new women joining! Whilst talking about it, you could just see how Helena’s face lit up, and truly showed how proud she was of working for a company like that. Likewise, Helena was part of a project which only consisted of women on the team, from backend, to front end, to the project manager!
This all goes back to the founder, Barr Moses, who is working really hard to have the diversity that they have.
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.