What does a typical day look like for a woman in software engineering
The typical day for a woman in software engineering may have different activities that are interesting, but difficult to compare. There is no typical day because software engineers have a wide range of interests, experience levels and way of working. Some days will be more rewarding and stimulating than others. However we can get an idea what a typical day of work may look like.
According to the EWM (Electronic Women’s Movement) article “What does a typical day look like for a woman in software engineering”, the key difference between men and women is that men are single-minded about technology, women think about more things at once. This gives me confidence and flexibility, but it also leads me to neglect some issues that need attention.
I have read the article and it is written from a feminist perspective, so I am not trying to argue with them. It also is not about quiet working hours, but about the amount of time spent at work. My question is this, does it make sense to compare work to domestic work? Is there ever a good comparison? How can we have a conversation about it?
Title:What does a typical day look like for a woman in software engineering [ARTICLE END]
How did you get interested in software engineering
I have always been interested in computing and IT from an early age – when I was introduced to computers at 11, it just seemed to make sense. I really felt more comfortable using computers to solve problems and work with data than typewriters, calculators or pencils. I wanted to be able to have a career in IT and so applied for the Computing at School course when I was in secondary school and got accepted.
I didn’t know what to do next and so it was very easy for me to get into Information Technology courses at college. I really enjoyed being able to learn about computers, programming and IT in a cohesive way. I also wanted to move further forwards in my studies and felt that doing an Honors degree would give me the opportunity to do a thesis, which I thought would be useful for my future career.
What challenges have you faced as a woman in this field
I have had to tackle discrimination in the workplace and I think that was always a challenge, but as a woman in computing it can also be more of a challenge due to the fact that you are not just seen as a computer programmer. You are seen as a female computer programmer. This means that people have preconceived opinions about you based on your gender and where they expect you to be in the company, even before they have met you. This can make you feel invisible and that the world has labelled you differently in the workplace.
I come from a family where I am the only female in my family, so I have always had to emphasise that I am a programmer who happens to be female, rather than just my gender being irrelevant. This can be difficult because people expect you to act differently, making it difficult for you to fit in with your colleagues as a working member of staff.
I have a lot of respect for women who have risen to the top of their field and know that they are doing something which no one else can do and most importantly even though I once felt like I was invisible, I am currently part of the group which is making a difference in the world. I am proud to be a woman in computing.
How do you think the industry can be more welcoming to women
I think women can be more welcoming to women by making sure they have the same opportunities as men, and that they are allowed to make the decisions on their careers and where they take them at their own pace. This means the industry needs to do more to encourage women to get involved and make sure that they are not held back.
I have heard from other women that they are being treated differently, and I don’t agree with that. I think women should be more vocal about it, but we absolutely have to make sure we are not making a mountain out of a mole hill. We need to make sure the company is really doing their part for us, and not just saying they are.
More inclusion is needed. We need to make sure that we are mentoring women and helping them to advance in their careers, but also making sure that we are not alienating them. I try my best to include women on my team and make it a safe haven for them as well as myself.
What advice would you give to young girls who are interested in pursuing a career in software engineering
Go for it! You will have to deal with stereotypes about your gender and the fact that women in computing are not just computer programmers, but may also need to be managers and business analysts. However, you will be the one who makes the decisions about how you want your career to progress, and I really hope that in the future there will be more women who are able to progress in their careers without being restricted by their gender.
-Alicia Liu, Senior Software Engineer at Google