Interviews 5 minutes read

Women in Tech | Olja and Kristina

If you take one look around the technology industry, you’ll find yourself asking the question: why aren't there more women? Despite the certain improvement of gender equality in today’s society, men continue to dominate some industries - and gender bias is prominent in the tech industry.

We spoke with Kristina (29), Manager of Theme Engine Support, and Olja (23), Full Stack Developer to find out what does it actually means to be a ‘woman in tech’?

Women in Tech

Tell us about your experience in the Tech sector, how did you get where you are today?

Kristina: I got here thanks to pre-qualification. I have a degree in journalism, but due to the current situation in that industry, I decided to change my career about 3 years ago. There was a pilot program of IT pre-qualification funded by UNDP, I passed the tests and chose BIT (Belgrade Institute of Technology) and their Front-End Boot camp. During those intense 3 months, I’ve gained knowledge of HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and object-oriented programming principles. I got a good background and I have continued learning frontend technologies since then. Today I work as a Manager of Theme Engine Support.

Olja:  Well, I can proudly say that I was part of the internet culture since childhood. Being an introvert, I remember coming back from elementary school to meet my “virtual friends” online, have fun commenting at various forums (oh yeah, forums were extremely popular back then!). Somewhere along the way, I learned to use Photoshop and started getting really interested in web design. So, when the time came to choose a college, my friend told me about ICT College of Applied Studies, a college that unified my love for web design and sparked my interest in the wide world of web programming. And here I am!

There it is a perfect chance to use my favorite quote from one of the Hayao Miyazaki’s anime-films: “Inspiration unlocks the future. Technology will catch up.” :)

What do you think are the biggest misconceptions about working in the Tech sector as a woman today?

Kristina: That in the male-dominated tech industry women are not a good fit for leadership roles as men are. Or that women usually are designers, QA testers, or technical writers.

Olja: The mainstream one, of course, is that a man will do better as a technician/developer than a woman. Mainly older people in Serbia get surprised when I tell them that I am a programmer and that I am already working at the age of 23. Associating IT with the male gender is not that unexpected. It is like buying blue clothes for a baby girl. You just go with the flow by buying a pink one without even thinking. But as modern society grows and women constantly prove what they are capable of, I think this misconception will die out soon enough. #girlPower

Some other misconceptions would be that women are good for HR, support roles, or not fit to be a Team Leader or even a CEO. I do not know what to say about it, that is almost like saying “Earth is flat!” LOL.

Do you think it is getting easier for women to get into Tech?

Kristina: I believe nowadays it does not matter what gender you are as long as you can do the task that has been given to you within the deadline.

Olja: I think it is, at least in companies that are trying their hardest to develop a healthy and equal working environment. As technology develops, people should too. Here in IT, there are smart people in charge, smart people who will employ creative, talented, smart, hard-working employees, nevertheless the gender or any other cultural difference, or difference in faith or love. It is all about whether you have the knowledge and willpower to do this job.

I would like to take this chance to say that I am proud to be a part of BlueGrid culture!

What do you think is the best part of being a woman in the tech industry?

Kristina: Fighting the stereotype that men are better than women, proving that women can do the job with equal quality, if not better even.

Olja: Well I would be lying if I said it does not flatten me when any colleague asks for my opinion or just looks at me with respect. It is true that there are not many women in the industry, so it really sparks joy when you are treated with respect. I must also say that there are even cases when a colleague would be extra nice to you because you are a female, and I respect that. You might even get help even though your colleagues are super busy.

What advice would you give to a woman considering a career in the tech industry? What do you wish you had known?

Kristina: Work hard, be curious, be confident, be persistent and never give up. Even if you fail, learn from it and be better next time. And have fun along the way.

Olja: I would say, do not be afraid of the wolves, be the wolf! I think every girl/woman considering a career in IT should believe in her own strength and her ability to reach her goals in her own tempo. Do not be discouraged by other people’s words or actions. Anyways, always remember to be kind to yourself and others as well!

Conclusion

The more visibility real women in technology get in the world, the higher the chance is that a young girl will come across it and find life-altering inspiration. So, read these stories and share these stories.