“You don’t look like a software developer”
If I had a dollar for every time I have heard that statement my pockets would weigh heavy, full of the extra money I’ve made (and I’m sure many can relate). I first noticed the lack of women in this industry in my Data Structures and Algorithms class at Florida State. Slowly but surely through the semesters, the female population died off in the conquest to obtain a Computer Science degree. Either they were never truly CS majors, and only had to take Programming I and Object Oriented for their Actuarial Science and Computer Criminology degrees; or they got to Object Oriented and said, “Information Technology seems to be a lot easier.” And there I was in a room of 100+ students and I was 1 of 5 girls. Swell. But I fought until the end and it sure has become a true passion of mine.
The battle wasn’t easy at all. Doing group projects with people who undermine your intelligence, or even having teachers and employers doubt your capabilities can be pretty discouraging. But I will never forget the day I announced my job offer with Microsoft. Its like time stopped. The stares were the funniest part. Some people looked confused, some looked surprised and others were just in awe.
“You….. got a job…… with Microsoft?”
It was probably the most triumphant day of my undergraduate career. But that feeling does not compare to the feeling of finding out the myth of women in tech is true! We are real, we are smart and we are a force to reckon with. When you find someone who understands your struggles but is just as passionate as you are… it works wonders. The constant inspiration of “she did it, so can I,” has constantly been a driving force to me. Currently I am blessed to be a part of a team where women are dominant figures and are really making a difference in the field.
So to all the women out there who love technology, innovation, and get excited at the thought of setting up a circuit board, who are creating a new web app or simply innovating in any way possible… Thank you. You are all paving the way for girls like us and continuing to be a much needed inspiration.