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.
Yamila Maio is a people-first Engineering Manager who loves to build teams and solve technical challenges while building software. “Working with you I learned my opinion matters” is what someone told her once. She helped Engineers grow, prepared and promoted devs to their first leadership roles, and she speaks on how proud she is of each and every one of them.
As much as she enjoyed her engineering journey, she says she has never had a woman peer in her whole career with whom to work close to, but has always been surrounded by men. Highlighting that the inequality in number is astonishing. Yet, she’s been very lucky everywhere she worked because she’s never felt less than anyone, or earned less, or been ignored for promotions for being a woman.
Yamila speaks about women in tech’s experience first hand. She says:
“How did I get here? I didn’t actually know, when in school, I knew that I’d like programming. I always liked helping others and I’m actually a Medical Physics Engineer. But I began with programming classes in the first semester in college nonstop up to graduating, where the approach was to use software as a means to solve a medical problem.
Eventually, when I was near to getting my degree, I realized programming was what I really enjoyed and that I could do that every day of my life without ever getting bored.
So how could I do this?
I first applied for a job at the only company in LATAM that did software for medical physics (mainly radiotherapy treatments). But I did everything there but code. And… I really wanted to code. The beauty of coding is that it’s agnostic to the subject… I mean… you can code to solve many different kinds of problems, not just medical ones. So, determined to code and not willing to leave my country yet, I left medical physics behind and started freelancing as a programmer to gain some experience while doing some courses to gain knowledge on best practices, something my career had lacked.
I eventually applied for my first job at a company and have been enjoying every step of the ride that got me here.
What do I enjoy? Solving interesting technical challenges. Leading is what I most enjoy now. It took quite some time for me to enjoy leading as much as coding, and for years I did both things at a time. But I’ve finally embraced my leadership skills and enjoy leading as much as coding. I’m proud of the teams I’ve built, of the people I’ve mentored and the impact I’ve had in their lives. I’ve had someone tell me “working with you I learned my opinion matters”. I’ve helped Engineers grow, I’ve prepared and promoted devs to their first leadership roles, and I’m so very proud of each and every one of them.
I understand leadership is not just related to technology, but leading in technology, developing these skills while solving technical challenges is just so much fun.
I’ve loved every step of the way, but I’ve never had a woman peer in my whole career with whom to work close to. I’ve always been surrounded by men (whom I love, of course). But just by numbers the inequality is astounding.
I feel I’ve been very, very lucky everywhere I’ve worked because I’ve never felt less than anyone, or earned less, or been ignored for promotions for being a woman. On the contrary, I've always felt valued for my skills and I've had access to leadership roles very early in my career. But I know many women’s realities that differ radically from mine.
However, I did experience a violent situation with a boss that maybe wouldn’t have been as violent had I been male. In retrospect, I’m pretty sure had I been a man he wouldn’t have had the balls (or courage) to threaten me the way he did. But behaviours like this must never discourage you.
If you’re a woman and thinking of getting into tech, don’t doubt it!
Try and talk to people in the business, get a feel of what’s trending. Don’t be afraid to reach out. Do as many courses as you can… if you get a degree, even better! Don’t be afraid to be the only woman there if you are. If that’s the case, as it was for me, embrace it!
And nowadays, having so many more women talks, meetings and conferences is a privilege we didn’t have 15 years ago, so make the most of it and get to know as many powerful women as you can. Join the club!
Had I known when younger that I’d love programming, maybe I would have studied a software related career from the start. I think women are not as exposed to tech when growing up as men are. Maybe during school everyone should have some form of tech class and exposure to it, especially considering the impact technology has in the present and the future.
We need more women leaders that can tap into our natural empathy and compassion to lead in a more positive and encouraging way. This is not a weakness. On the contrary, in a future where lots of tasks will be done by machines, emotional intelligence and innovation in people who understand tech will be game changers. This is a particularly interesting topic I’m getting into in the Women’s Leadership Program I’m enrolled at right now, from Yale’s School of Management.
My final advice: Be confident, trust your skills and your instinct. Be humble, learn from your mistakes and be the better for it. Don’t be intimidated by a world that may seem male. Embrace all your unique traits as a woman to be an excellent professional and leader, because you've got it in you.”
We’d like to thank Yamila 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 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.