Inspiring the Next Generation of Women in Tech
March 8, 2023
To mark International Women’s Day, we interviewed women at RavenPack about their career choice, motivation, and advice for girls considering a tech career.
Experts agree that exposing young girls to examples of female STEM professionals is one of the most powerful ways to encourage more women to join professions related to science, technology, engineering or mathematics. A Microsoft report revealed that 3 out of 10 girls and 4 out of 10 women envision scientists, engineers, mathematicians, and computer programmers as exclusively men. This misguided perception underscores the critical need for relatable role models in tech. By providing girls with inspiring and relatable examples of women in tech, we can empower them to envision themselves as future tech professionals, instilling the confidence and drive necessary to pursue STEM careers.
We interviewed six women working in tech and data science roles at RavenPack about how they’ve come to choose this career path, their motivation and challenges. We also asked them about the women who inspired them along the way, as well as their message to the girls thinking of pursuing a career in tech.
Machine Learning Engineer
Choose a career in tech without thinking too much. The range of possibilities that open up is incredible.
I have always loved mathematics, so it was clear to me that I would pursue a technical career. During high school, although I liked programming, I did not see myself choosing a career in computer science because of the prejudices we tend to have of it. For me, computer science was something geeky. However, when we went to the open day at the university I realized that it was focused on mathematical understanding and that computer science can be applied to solve a wide variety of issues. So I decided to give it a chance.
What I like most about working in this field is that it changes very quickly. You never get bored because there are always new challenges. This is also the most complicated thing, keeping up to date. You can’t stop learning, training, and trying new things. And even so, there are many things that slip through the cracks.
I could not name just one woman who has marked my life and career, there have been many people who have made me the person I am. Although I would say that women with character or high responsibility have always caught my attention. In general, I think we owe a lot to independent people who fight to achieve their goals despite the adversities.
To girls thinking of following a career in tech, I would tell them to choose it without thinking too much. The range of possibilities that open up is incredible, in the end you can apply your knowledge to whatever area comes to mind, be it medicine or diversity. You will be working very close to professionals from other sectors from whom you can learn many things outside your field.
Head of Data Engineering
I strongly encourage girls to pursue careers in tech and data science. You will be part of an industry that is shaping the future.
After a few years of academic research, I became very interested in working with data and discovering valuable patterns, which ultimately led me to find this Data Science position at RavenPack. I enjoy working with data and developing software. I find the rapid and dynamic nature of technology exciting. The field is constantly evolving with new tools, techniques and algorithms. At the same time, the fast pace of technology challenges us to stay at the forefront of innovation and creativity. What motivates me most is the impact our work has on helping organizations to make more powerful decisions.
There are many women who have made a tremendous impact in Computer Science. My role model is Ada Lovelace who is considered the world's first computer programmer. In the 1800s Ada Lovelace had a revolutionary vision of the potential of computing that went beyond the technological capabilities of her era. Another person who inspired me a lot was Laurence Duchien, the Dean of the Faculty of Science and Technology at the University of Lille (France) and researcher at Inria where I developed my PhD. Laurence is not only an outstanding researcher, but also an academic leader who provided me invaluable guidance and advice during the course of my PhD thesis development.
I strongly encourage girls to pursue careers in tech and data science. Given the ubiquity of technology and the ever-increasing volume of data being generated worldwide, there is a high demand for skilled professionals in this field. Tech careers offer many exciting opportunities to create and innovate, they will make you a part of the industry that is shaping the future. Finally, don’t be afraid about stereotypes, tech careers are for everyone.
Hardships are just a part of life, and no one is immune to facing adversity, but how we deal with it is what separates us.
I was quite lucky that I could try out various positions before landing the Product Manager role. Being a Product Manager is gratifying because we are involved in the full lifecycle of the product, from ideation to development and then the launch of the product, so essentially we get to see how a new product comes to life. It is a junction where technology, design, users and business meet in a fascinating way. I'm never in danger of getting bored. The biggest challenge is when requirements are not clear, but equally rewarding is sitting down with everyone to iron out the requirements and converting them into tangible goals.
My female role model is the Harry Potter creator, J. K. Rowling. Despite the numerous tragedies she had in life, the multiple obstacles that she had to overcome, she never gave up. Hardships are just part of life, and no one is immune to facing adversity, but how we deal with adversity is what separates many of us. She is an icon for perseverance and self-esteem that I look up to. Nonetheless, the person who has had the biggest impact in my life is my mum. She always has a positive outlook to everything and has taught me to cherish the wonderful moments in life.
I would encourage girls to join a career in tech and data science because career opportunities in the tech and data science industry are growing ever so fast. Women bring new ways of thinking that result in innovation and better problem solving. Given nearly half of consumers are women, then it makes sense to have around half of the product manufacturing, engineering, and marketing done by women. This is not the case currently which means female consumers are being underrepresented.
Senior Project Manager
Be prepared - you will never get too comfortable as the industry is forever changing and expanding, but with a curious mind, it will be a defining ride.
I graduated as a philologist in English and American Studies. This widened my perspectives early on. Speaking foreign languages was key to entering the international scene but it was my curiosity towards technology and different cultures that pulled me to the corporate world. I started in an entry position supporting senior colleagues to streamline processes for the whole IT organization. After the first step-stone, networking, along with constant learning and guidance from mentors, helped me open doors and elevate my career to the next level.
Interacting with people, helping them build structure and driving changes are some of the main responsibilities that bring me joy in my day-to-day work. Besides, leading a wide variety of projects helped me to get familiar with different technology stacks but it also brought a trillion questions. Luckily, I was always surrounded by wonderful engineers who were ready to explain the bits and pieces.
I admire the sharp intellect, eloquent speeches and wonderful memoirs of Michelle Obama. When it comes to my life, my beautiful mom is my biggest inspiration. She encouraged me to push my boundaries, move abroad and make bold career and life decisions. I’m celebrating her and every woman who lifts up other women.
If you are a young girl who has not decided yet what path to follow, or if you are a woman thinking of a career switch, I would fully recommend investing energy and time into pursuing a career in tech. Be prepared - you will never get too comfortable, as the industry is forever changing and expanding, but with a curious mind, it will be a defining ride. It’s true that women are still underrepresented in this sector but we are here to pave the way for the next generation to come. As many books on the topic of gender diversity highlight, if you are the only woman in a room, make sure that you create space for others to join.
Senior Product Data Scientist
If you choose to acquire skills in big data analytics and data science, you are opening your career to so many diverse opportunities.
I always enjoyed demonstrating things in the most rational and rigorous way possible. Abstract and controlled environments make me feel safe. I also feel challenged to find the reasons behind problems and alternatives to solve them. As a Product Data Scientist, I do what I enjoy the most - finding and exposing data evidence that help drive confident decision making processes. It’s also one of the day to day challenges: keep demonstrating how much added value can exploratory data analysis and big data analytics in general can bring. That is why I want to get better at data storytelling - tell the story of how data can unlock new opportunities and or reduce risks for all types of organizations that we work with.
My mum and my sister have always played fundamental roles in my life. They are strong and confident women who have seen me grow, they know all about my strengths and weaknesses, and therefore their feedback and advice are very valuable, especially on how to approach a challenging situation. Another influential woman in my life is Katrina Lim, whom I met at RavenPack. The blend of her high expertise, leadership skills and generosity makes a big impact on the people around her and in particular on me.
To girls thinking about a similar career, I would say that Data Science and Analytics is an evolving field with huge potential in numerous industries. If you choose to learn and acquire big data analytics and data science skills, you are opening your career to so many diverse opportunities.
Follow what makes you happy. And if that doesn’t work out, pick up all the lessons learned and go to your next adventure.
I worked two and a half years as a Research Analyst and I quickly became very interested in understanding how our data worked and is used by our internal and external clients. When I was promoted to Product Manager of internal tools, a new path in my professional career started. Knowing that what we do can have a great impact on our users and ultimately on the quality of our product, inspires me to move forward every day.
I would like to celebrate all women out there breaking stereotypes. But, If I have to choose one who made a difference in my life and career I’d have to say my mum, one of the strongest women I know - I’ve always admired how hard she works and how she always stands up for what is fair. She inspired me to follow my dreams and supported me every step of the way and I continue to learn from her every day.
My message to girls aspiring to follow a career in tech: never stop exploring, don’t be afraid of making mistakes and don’t let anyone limit your dreams. Follow what makes you happy, whatever that may be, and enjoy it to the fullest. And if that doesn’t work out, pick up all the lessons learned and go to your next adventure.
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