Deploy Friday: Your source for everything Open Source

#59 Must you code — Exploring multiple paths to work in tech

January 24, 2022 Elena Kolevska, Helen Tabunshchyk, Kristina Kushner, Robert Douglass Season 1 Episode 59
Deploy Friday: Your source for everything Open Source
#59 Must you code — Exploring multiple paths to work in tech
Show Notes

Continuing our focus on women in tech, we discuss the multiple pathways to enter the tech industry, including coding, with our 3 guests, Elena Kolevska, a Senior Technical Enablement Architect at Redislabs, Helen Tabunshchyk, Director of ‘Women Who Code’ London, and Kristina Kushner, a Senior Project Manager at PMP. 

Coding’s gendered history

Though it’s not the case anymore, coding used to be more friendly to women. Helen explains, “Until the mid-1980s, programming was most often a woman's job. But as the profession started to bring in more money, the competition started rising. And then suddenly, it wasn’t a woman's job anymore.” 

Impostor syndrome is a symptom

Impostor syndrome is an issue all our guests share. Helen says, “Often, you start thinking, ‘It must be me.’ But when you have a community of women who all share the same story, you can totally see the common patterns. And you realize it's not you, it’s society and our gender education.”

Elena also links the chronic self-doubt characteristic of impostor syndrome to how women are socialized as children. “I think it's related to how we are taught to handle failure. As girls, we are taught to do everything perfectly and never make any mistakes,” she says, “And well, boys will be boys. But the world is not like that. We should be held accountable to the same standards.”

To code or not to code

There are many other touchpoints to enter the tech industry that aren’t coding. Our guests name several:

  • Project or product management
  • Human Resources
  • Marketing
  • Technical writing
  • Finance/accounting
  • Designers

But how can you tell if coding is right for you? If you prefer to work with people more, consider one of the above roles, says Kristina. “But if you prefer to work on your own, to go deep into analysis mode, give coding a try.”

Mentorship + teamwork are critical to diversity

In a previous episode, we’ve spoken about the importance of mentorship; studies also back this up. Helen says, “Research supports that it’s not diversity and inclusion training that’s effective, but mentorship programs.” She adds, “And working in teams as well. Those are the two deciding factors on how inclusive the work environment is.”

Get more ideas for closing the gender gap in your workplace at Women in Tech or Women Who Code.
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