Challenges in Tech 💥
Cyber Women Interview Series

Last week I had a lot of fun being interviewed by a number of different people in the blogosphere and in person. I took part in:

1.“People who excel in different areas” with Julian

I first met Julian when he stopped me at my Students’ Union to tell me that he reads my blog. We met up again for the informal 2-hour interview where I talked about EVERYTHING. It was a lot of fun!

I also like his cool Ninja Turtles shirt.

Julian and I after the 2 hours of non-stop talking

2. This month’s “Hey Girlfriend!” post with Georgie

I’m sure you’re no stranger to the wonderful, bad-ass, inspo-ball: Georgie Luhur.

I’ve enjoyed following Georgie’s Hey Girlfriend posts every month, they are always such a refreshing read where I get to find out about incredible women doing incredible things. Although imposter syndrome kind of hit me in the face when she approached me, I’m so grateful that she has decided to include me on this month’s post!

I had a lot of fun answering Georgie’s questions, as I was typing them out I got a bit carried away (sort of like when you’re catching up with a friend you haven’t seen in a while) so apologies if it’s long! You can read the full interview here.

😝 Hi, hello it’s me

3. “Let’s Talk Confidence” with Jasmine

I love getting involved with other blogger’s projects especially with a subject close to my heart. I’ll be posting the full interview on my blog soon but you can read other bloggers answers on Jasmine’s blog here. 

“Empower Women”

4. This month’s Cyber Women Interview with Ella

Today, I decided to take some snippets from my interview with Ella, that highlight my challenges as a woman.

For those who don’t know – Ella Louise is a Psychology undergraduate and Sociology postgraduate student who is keen on a digital career. She is yet another empowering voice for equality for all in tech, I recently connected with her on Twitter and have enjoyed bonding with her over mindfulness and gratitude! I’m thankful to take part in her series! You can read the full interview here.

As a woman, do you think you have faced any challenges that a man would not face in your position?

I think generally women have to go through a lot more; not only because of certain external preconception but also lack of confidence and belief in their own abilities (I know this was the case for me) and the trait of needing to be perfect before going for something – and I’m not just talking job-hunting; it’s applicable to different aspects of life which can be stressful! (e.g. in projects)

During International Women’s Day, Tejay White, a fellow instructor of the CFG Sheffield course, highlighted that men are more likely to apply for jobs that they are not 100% qualified for but do so anyway. Whereas women have the tendency to want to tick all the boxes and thus often miss out on opportunities. The shift to move this mindset is a challenge!

I think another thing is being taken seriously.

I have had countless experiences of not being taken seriously by people I have had to work with. Why? Because they had a lack of faith in my abilities, coding a website or leading a group project being two of a few examples. This greatly affected my confidence in myself and it was a challenge for me for years to fight that negative mindset and to boost my self-confidence.

CFG course, Autumn 2016

This is actually why I hadn’t actually told people I could code at University before going in the CFG course (which boosted my confidence massively!) fear of not being taken seriously, made fun of and called out for not knowing “all the code” I remember being made fun of by boys and girls at school when I’d tell them about a website I created, calling me all sorts including: “a tomboy” “a guy in disguise” 🙄 and “fake”. This a challenge a lot of aspiring girls (not just women!) coders/developers may have – it sucks but finding your support group and a safe environment is key.

It’s also worth mentioning that yeah, women face a lot of challenges every day in comparison to men – not just in the working life – but personally too. Also, the inequality and challenges we face are not just focused on gender but also race. I know that challenges I face as a Filipino-Spanish woman greatly differs from white women.

What HAS been your biggest challenge so far?

I’ve faced a lot of challenges in the last year alone. But the biggest challenge that pops into mind almost immediately is the shift in my mindset. This time last year I was in a horrible, depressive state that inhibited my ability to do anything and everything I used to enjoy. Shifting my mental state from my “there’s no point, I want this all to end now” to “there’s so much left for me to do”, from dark to light was the biggest challenge this year.

Your mind doesn’t have to be your worse enemy, make it your best friend.

With regards to technology, what do you think will be our biggest barrier to success in the future?

Lack of diversity.

We cannot thrive in technological and scientific advancements or even as a society without diversity.

An example I can think of is the all-girl Afghan robotics team who just were allowed entry to the US. Giving them that opportunity will allow them to show off what they are capable of, is just the beginning.

Blocking off opportunities because they are female and/or because they are from a certain country is a barrier to collaborative work and our success in technology in the future. Diversity is key – keep pushing it in your teams!

Who makes up your support squad?

Ahh I have so many people who support me and I am so thankful, I wish I could name everyone but I fear of missing out someone by accident! But my support squad ranges from online buddies I’ve known for years from the blogosphere, friends from my degree (they help me get through those long nights of “wtf-ing” at my biology), my SUPER AMAZING PHENOMENAL #ShefCodeFirst team and a special mention to Hamdah, my best friend, who has supported me since we first met in Spanish class at school years ago.

Also, I met a guy last year. The guy who-is-more-than-a-friend, Matt, has been one of my biggest supporters, my confidence has skyrocketed and I’ve become a more positive, better version of myself thanks to his support. He’s my biggest fan. Well, of course after myself but y’know.

High Line, Chelsea, NYC

What’s your favourite piece of advice to offer entrepreneurial/techy women?

I went to a Women in Tech conference in February where I had the opportunity to listen to a number of incredible women about their struggles, challenges and how they overcame them. One piece of advice that stuck by me since by Jessica Rose is that “As long as you’re not visibly freaking out, people think you know what you’re doing.” Confidence is everything. 👏🏼 I know that since my confidence and belief in my own abilities has improved greatly this year, I’ve seen results materialise in front of me:

  • I’m taken more seriously, and if I’m not, I ensure that I am (assertiveness!) which has helped me secure more projects and get recommendations
  • I cut bullsh*t fast. Gone are the days of “oh, ok” and passively just going with the flow even if it’s turning into something quite toxic. Waste my time? Nope. You can’t: I have the stuff to do, people to meet, things to action.
Women in Tech Conference – Feb ’17

Confidence is key. Become aware of how badass you are. Self-awareness is the step up towards your goals, whatever they may be. You can do the thing (whatever it may be), in tech or as an entrepreneur or even as a student trying to scrape that 2:1, be confident. As the saying goes: fake it till you make it. 😝

Thank you for getting me involved Ella! Make sure you follow her on Twitter and check out her blog here.

12 responses to “Challenges in Tech 💥
Cyber Women Interview Series”

  1. Oh these are exciting 🙂 Three interview series? That’s awesome 🙂 I’m glad you were able to do all these interviews about a field you’re so passionate about. Your meeting with Julian made me smile. I love it when you meet people you can talk about anything with and the hours fly by. I have a couple of friends like that, and our conversations go everywhere!

    Confidence is definitely the key, as well as to being passionate about what you do along with having the right work ethic. I feel that those three are the keys to success, and I can see that in you with what you’re doing. Keep it up, Pauline 🙂

  2. First of all, congrats on making it in Georgie’s “Hey Girlfriend!” interview series. Well, that’s actually expected anyway. ☺

    I have been on and off the social media and blogging, but I have been following your busy travels. Being part of Code First Girls and everything else related, what you do now is truly inspiring, especially for women in tech and those who want to be in tech. From the looks of it, seems the tech industry in the UK is a bit more open-minded with women in tech, to the point that I feel ashamed that my own local area (I live some 20 miles East of San Francisco and 20 miles North of Silicon Valley) isn’t as open-minded with all the slew of reports of sexual harassment and gender discrimination in notable tech companies lately. (Uber obviously has hit the hardest) It’s all the more that I’m aiming for a remote job in tech (maybe as a web developer or a mobile app developer, either one or the other) because I don’t want to face these same issues that many of these wonderful women have gone through with the “bro-dominated” industry. It’s horrible. 😒

    I’ve joined various Facebook groups and Slack channels run by local women who work in the tech industry, and they have been giving me and fellow women a lot of confidence to take charge. Continue on with your passion, even though you’re studying a field (almost) unrelated to what you’re doing now. Who knows, you’d be able to connect one and one together one day.

  3. Ahh!! I just found your blog and this is amazing! I can totally understand how ladies always want to ensure perfection and they have all these worries while men simply take action. Besides tech/entrepreneurial ventures, this is unfortunately prevalent in other male-dominating industries such as engineering and finance. We have a WIM (Women in Management) club and we actually interview ladies (especially our alumni) about their career path to help inspire women out there to reach out and whatnot ( if anyone is interested ;)). You go girl, I love how much you’ve said you changed from being passive to now the confidence boost! I’m still learning, but I’ve grown a lot more confident especially after we have done a number of school group projects, and I’m now not as afraid to express my own ideas and disagree if I find something concerning. This is a great post and keep it up!! 🙂

    Simplee Nikkie

  4. I’m proud of you for getting all of these features! Look at you with all of your achievements ;). I’ve talked about discrimination in the field a few times before. Thankfully, I haven’t faced gender discrimination in my field and I’m glad there’s more a movement to encourage girls to pursue any fields they want. Gender shouldn’t stop anyone from achieving success.

    Ok, people calling you a guy in disguise for making websites are stupid. They tend to be people who are not achieving as much sooooo :’)…

    It’s great that you have the support you need to reach great heights! Self-confidence is definitely key. Same goes for persistence! Keep it up, Pauline ;).

  5. Hi Love,
    I’m so god damn proud that everyone is acknowledging how amazing you are with these opportunities you have in terms of interviews.etc! So regardless of what else anyone says you have such a good vibe that makes everyone feel giddy and happy too. PROUD FRIEND RIGHT HERE GURLFRIEND.

    Also, this bit – “there’s no point, I want this all to end now” to “there’s so much left for me to do”, from dark to light was the biggest challenge this year – is so damn relatable. I think we can all learn a lesson or two from that, because I believe it’s something a lot of people struggle with. We can become so consumed in horrible negative thoughts that we forget about what we have or what’s to come.

    AND JUST SO YOU KNOW, ME AND MY FRIENDS IN LONDON ARE BIG FANS OF YOU. We’re gonna start attending conferences and pursuing opportunities because you inspire us.

    (brb off to watch your interview)
    lots of love xx

  6. Ahhh, Pauline. This makes me so happy! I know I probably just started reading your blog about a month ago, but seeing you get featured in places makes my heart so happy. You are definitely an inspiration to us all <3

    Also… to everyone being so negative to you, screw the haters. You keep doing you, bb and everything will fall into place.

    Going to check out all the links now!

  7. That’s so exciting that you’re featured on Georgie’s Hey Girlfriend post! I’ve (so far) read all of the interviews so far, so I’m really excited to read yours! Three interviews is awesome. It’s great to be able to talk to other people who are genuinely interested in what you’re doing (& is passionate about the same things you’re passionate about) and be able to share your experiences with others.

    I love reading your thoughts on empowering woman. Also – you go girl! It’s great hearing about your accomplishments and it’s awesome that you’re in a better state of mind and that you have such an awesome support group. Matt and Hamdah both sound like amazing people!

    I agree that confidence is really important. I never told anyone that I was interested in coding or that I liked doing it because I wasn’t confident in my own abilities. You’re so cool Pauline!

  8. I’m dropping here after reading your interview with Georgie and this blog post of yours has inspired me even more!
    3 interviews and sooo much work in tech! You are amazing, Pauline!

  9. I have the same t-shirt as Julian but in white!

    I saw y’all tweet about the HG post and I was like omggggg, yessss! I’ll be properly reading it later on today 💕

    I love you so much, Pauline. Honestly, you have been such an inspiration to me and I love seeing all your achievements! You know I am ALWAYS here to kick people’s asses if they try to come for you AND cheering for you from the top of my lungs because you are AMAZING.

    Lend me your confidence, sis! I neeeeed it in my life. *runs off to read all the interviews*

  10. That’s amazing that you’ve been interviewed multiple times! I’m definitely going to have to carve off some time to go through them, especially Georgie’s 🙂

    I agree that women have to go through a lot more, especially in the tech industry. It annoys me that there are still people who don’t take women seriously, both in terms of tech knowledge and harassment claims. Being able to code isn’t a gender thing! We’re good at it too!

    I’m happy for you that you’ve been able to change your mindset and that you have more confidence in your abilities! That is awesome! Being positive and sure of yourself can really take you far. I love that you always have a positive outlook!

  11. This post made me smile so much, Pauline! I love how positive you are about everything, and how you’ll never let a bad day get you down for long. Your posts always leave me feeling inspired and motivated!

    I think it’s challenging to be a minority gender-wise in any career. I think people’s expectations of you are higher from the start, because they’ll want you to prove yourself as worthy of having that career. Which is probably why women feel the need to tick all the boxes off before applying for jobs, sadly. It’s great that you’re going for what you want regardless of your race or gender – more people need to do this!

    I think you’re right about confidence. I’ve been to events where people have not really said much, but because they’ve done it confidently it’s sounded so inspiring. Confidence is so important for making people believe in what you’re saying!

    Hope you had fun doing all the interviews!

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