I interviewed 15 leading developer ladies and here's what I learned 🦄
Earlier this year, we started the She Inspires Series on Hashnode, a series that is all about talking to the awesome women in tech, understanding the current health of the tech industry and inspiring other women to become better. ✨
Fast forward till now, we've interviewed 15 amazing women in tech already and if you've been following along, you can testify to the awesomeness and inspiration each interview brings.
In this article, I'll highlight a few takeaways and what we've learnt from all our interviews.
When we started this series, our intention was to spread awareness about women in tech and minority groups but over time, we've spread more than just awareness but inspiration and amazing success stories from amazing women across several amazing fields in tech. So much Amazing!! 💜💜
Tech is for EVERYone 👩👩👧
From all our interviews, we have seen that most of our interviewees were not sure of what they wanted to do, most started from a young age after getting inspiration from "a movie", "an application they used", "a challenge they experienced" or "push from a friend/ family". Venturing into Tech did not come as a first option for most of them, some transitioned from different careers and the same applies to many other amazing humans in tech today.
The only person that can stop you from success is YOU! You belong here, and don't let anyone make you doubt it.
Junior or Senior, does it matter? 👑
Time doesn't decide when you can become a Senior. The knowledge and your actual capability will decide so. If you want to transit to Senior, you need to learn and master the skills needed to be one. Keep learning, the more you learn, the more experience you get.
Make it Beginner Friendly 🐣
As experienced developers or bloggers, we should provide easy-to-read documentation and tutorials. Some developers forgot that they once were also new to the market, and beginners don't get to know all the terms like experienced know. Bear that in mind and try to make it as simple and straight forward when it comes to documentation or a blog post.
Open Source? Where can I start? 🏁
Fork the repo, check the issues, and learn about the APIs. It can be something small that will give you a boost in confidence like documentation fixes. Slowly you will find the bigger issue you want to start.
Find a support system 🏘️
There are more resources than ever online to help people learn how to code, but just throwing yourself into the internet can be tricky. Identify a learning path and join a community to help you grow. Programs like FreeCodeCamp and Microverse provides a linear learning path would help you out tremendously.
Constantly having to prove myself has been an ongoing struggle. Everything I've always done in life, be it hobbies or career activities, has always been an uphill battle. While I have surrounded myself with many supportive people, there will always be those who doubt you and your credibility.
— Emma Wedekind
Achieve more by doing less 💪
Be realistic about what you can do in a day, week, month, and so on. Learn to say NO to things and only achieve what is possible and set realistic deadlines for all tasks.
The difference between successful people and really successful people is that really successful people say NO to almost everything.
— Warren Buffett
Perfectionism culture, healthy? 👭
People aren't comfortable with solutions that don't solve all problems or solutions that are only half-way finished. There are so many wonderful things that can happen if someone is willing to put a half-finished idea out there and collaborate with others to complete it.
Build interesting things, and write about what you learn. Document your own achievements and be proud of them.
— Rachel Andrew
Code all day? Please don't 🥳
Coding if fun, yes you should write more of it but please engage in other activities outside your workspace. Attend events/ parties, network with others, visit the gym, go hiking and do anything fun you like.
Honestly, a strict schedule kept me going, but looking back I probably could have done a couple of fewer extracurriculars and slept more!
— Cassidy Williams
Public Speaking, I'm scared! 🗣️
Don’t worry if you're scared and that the talk you want to do already exists. It's fine if you are scared at first, even non-first time speakers still get nervous, with the time you get better, so keep speaking and watch yourself grow. A few things that might help:
- Set expectations at the beginning of your talk about what you'll cover
- Email the organizers and ask questions. What is the conference/meetup looking for? Inquire about the level of the audience so you can finetune.
- Have a good online presence preferably a website with a few videos of yourself presenting or past projects/ articles related to your chosen topic.
- People can't listen and read at the same time, limit the number of words in your slides.
- Make your font really big and your diagrams as well. You'll likely underestimate how small things appear from seats in the back of the event.
- Practice when preparing, do not focus on slides too much, but focus on the story you are sharing and practice that A LOT.
You can speak at conferences no matter what level you are at! And putting together a talk is an excellent way to build up your skills.
— Ire Aderinokun
I'm not good enough 🙁
Imposter syndrome is not always straight forward. Sometimes it's as obvious as thinking you don't belong in a room you were invited to be in. Other times it's the fear of applying for a job that you don't think you're qualified for when you are.
My best advice is to surround yourself with people who know your strengths and weaknesses. They can be a great push forward when you need it. And they'll be honest if it's a step you just aren't ready for yet, which is perfectly ok.
— Laurie Barth
Share your knowledge 📝
We're ready to hear your stories! Evaluate your experiences thus far and find them interesting situations that you've been in. People would LOVE to hear about it. How did you/your team solve a problem? What key lessons have you learned so far?
Be blameless, and learn from others' incidents and systems failures. When you ascribe blame or have a closed mind, you'll fail to gain the experience that enables you to thrive across new teams and projects.
— Liz Fong-Jones
The stereotypical image of programming is often smacking a keyboard eight hours a day and drinking coffee, but the reality is that life in tech can be far more diverse and exciting as there are different roles for different people in different sectors.
I feel that many people have this misinterpretation about programming. They believe it's boring, math heavy, and not creative at all. I think we need to start off conversations about programming with how creative and visual it is. Coding is a form of art, just without the paintbrushes or however one defines art. Programming is bringing ideas to life, whether it's visually, functionality wise or both.
— Pariss Athena
You have to believe in things that are not true. How else would they become?
I read this twice and it just hit me: this doesnʼt apply to women only, and not even exclusively to the tech field. Both my wife and a (male) friend of mine struggles a lot with all the things you write and neither of them wants to work “in tech”.
Letʼs make all the jobs better. ☺