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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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. 😝