We present the interview with Gosia (a front-end developer) and Patrycja (a QA tester) who share their career stories and debunk the myths about the role of women in IT. They talk about the women-men stereotypes and point out what’s really crucial for bearing a successful career in the tech world.
The role of women in IT
More and more tech positions are open to females in the tech space. However, due to the minority of women in IT, there are still a lot of stereotypes growing around being a woman in the tech world. Let’s get to know two women who will reveal their career stories, share their thoughts on what it’s like to work in IT, and give tips to those who are trying to enter the tech world. Gosia talks about changing her career path from a tester to a front-end developer, and Patrycja gives her insights into what’s really important in being a successful QA engineer.
Being involved in the whole development process, I switched from testing to front-end development.
Combining studies with work has led me to rediscover the value of programming.
1. What is your career story? How did you begin your journey in the tech world?
I have been working at fireup.pro for almost 7 years now. I started my career as a software tester. However, after 3 years, I took a break due to maternity leave. And when I came back, I changed my specialization. I wanted to try something else and switched to front-end development. I had been thinking about such a move for some time. Returning to work after a gap required putting in a lot of effort to come back on the right track. It was a breakthrough time for me. So, I decided this was the best time for a change and took a step further.
I started my career as an IT specialist. My first job after graduating from technical school didn’t give me much satisfaction. I realized it was not for me, and I wanted to achieve something more. At those time, I was about to start a degree in computer science. During the holiday, before starting my studies, I had a chance to talk to a friend who recommended to me a great IT company in Rybnik. I decided to give it a go, which was a great decision, cause fireup.pro became the place I could develop, and I work here till now.
2. Was being an IT engineer the career you planned? What made you decide to work in the tech industry, and how did you know it was for you?
Interestingly, it wasn’t the goal I had strived for from the beginning. When I left technical school, I didn’t show much interest in coding, so I was 100% sure I would never become a programmer. Anyway, this was probably caused by a teacher who, at one stage of my education, effectively discouraged me from this idea. Even though I found the IT world fascinating, and soon, I did get a job as a tester. I started in a junior position with no experience in this field at that time. My aim was to get as much training as possible. At the same time, I started to study computer science at the University of Technology. I could immediately verify if the knowledge I had acquired during my studies were useful at work or the other way round. Finally, combining studies with work has led me to rediscover the value of programming. As a result, I got involved in automation, which I now enjoy and am keen to develop in this field.
When deciding which course to take, I considered a number of possibilities, but I chose computer science, and after the first classes, I knew it was something for me. I was immediately interested, and I was sure that this was the direction I wanted to follow in my future. I started as a tester and quickly began to automate tests, which led me more and more into programming. Being involved in the whole development process, I felt I could do something else to go one step further. I strived not only to perform tests and check what someone else has done, but at some point, I wanted to create something on my own. I already felt very much at home in the IT world.
3. Do you think women have the same opportunities as men in tech? Why aren’t there more women in IT?
From my perspective, I never felt that I was judged based on my gender. There is a conviction that the industry is more male-dominated, and indeed it is. But I don’t think it’s because it’s a job dedicated exclusively to men. Women have exactly the same opportunities. The issue is that this industry is specific, but it is for everyone, regardless of gender. The truth is you have to like your job to be able to develop your career in IT. Anyway, the tendencies are changing. Just a few years ago, the percentage ratio of women vs. men employees in IT companies was much lower. I’m sure it will continue to change, and the stereotypes will slowly disappear. The awareness is rising thanks to groups who incorporate women in IT and fight the stereotypes that it is an industry only for men.
As a woman in IT, I have never felt that anyone has treated me differently. It is a matter of someone’s personality and passion for programming if you will manage in the tech world. Plus, if you can get along with the guys, there will be no problem at all. 😉
4. What skills are essential in your field?
I think women are naturally equipped with the ease of communication, and openness to teamwork, although it’s not always a rule, and we can’t forget that there are men who excel at such soft skills as well. Regarding soft skills, it is necessary to have a developmental mindset, e.g., focusing on solving problems. If you face obstacles and these motivate you to find solutions instead of wanting to withdraw, it’s a good sign that a career in IT might be right for you.
For both women and men who work as QA engineers, it is really important to master the skill of communication. Testers, no matter whether a woman or a man, must be the link between the two sides: business and developers. So, he or she must have well-developed communication skills to be able to give feedback properly. By this I mean, we should not offend anyone but still have enough courage to declare that we detected a bug.
5. What made you grow as an IT specialist and helped you in achieving your career goals?
Certainly, my studies and education helped me. It gave me a technical background, and even if I couldn’t do certain tasks, I quickly absorbed new information. At my beginnings at fireup.pro I received the support of a mentor, which helped me a lot. I quickly applied for the testers’ certificate, which was an opportunity for me to test my abilities and confirm that I was in the right place.
Working as a tester, I attended all the devs’ meetings, and it was the biggest trigger to push my career further. Listening to the guys talking, thinking about solutions, and what technology they were going to choose – all of these made me aware that I wanted to get immersed in this process even more.
6. What do you currently do at fireup.pro, and in what direction do you want to develop?
Since I switched to fronted these last three years, I have mainly been developing mobile apps. Now I’m also extending my capabilities to web applications, and I’m going to grow in both directions.
My growth occurred quite fast. After 3 months, I moved to a project where I became a fully independent tester and did not need any more support. It was a bit of a risk, but it worked out! I am currently involved in the 9amHealth project. We work on a diabetes app aimed at clients in the United States. I am mainly involved in manual testing, but I am also developing more and more in the field of testing automation.
7. What do you like the most about your job?
At the moment, I am very content with my work and the point I’ve reached so far. I can feel my progress with every month, project, and challenge I face. If I were to compare myself to the person I was a few years ago, I could see a huge difference. What’s more, working in a team is what brings me lots of satisfaction. I believe that regardless of the project if people work well together, all goals can be achieved.
I like the feeling of having an impact on what is emerging on the market. For example, the diabetes app we work on within the project is not only about developing a digital product. It is a bigger mission to help people who struggle with diabetes. I am happy to be part of such a meaningful project.
8. What advice (and tips) would you give to women who want to pursue a career in IT?
If any women want to start working in this industry but have doubts if she will feel comfortable in the tech world, she should remember that the minor role of women in IT is a complete myth. There’s nothing to worry about. Whenever a woman joins a team, she is welcomed with open arms, and there is no negative attitude.
Where there’s a will, there’s a way. If it’s your passion, starting your IT career is definitely worth a try.
Women in tech: Key takeaways
Even though women in IT are still the minority across European companies, the future forecast is optimistic. According to statistics, companies will increase the number of women in tech roles by as much as 530,000 to 1.8 million by 2027 through a range of practices. So, if you are a woman considering starting your career in IT, there are a few things you should know:
- There are more and more open positions for women in tech since companies strive for diversity.
- Women have equal opportunities to pursue their careers in IT, as men. In fact, as some statistics show, among 56% of women who leave their job at mid-level positions in tech companies, 22% start their own businesses.
- Being passionate about your job is the most crucial factor determining whether you will succeed.
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