Transitioning into a tech career? Go to meetups and participate in hackathons
Women are underrepresented in the tech sector —myth or reality? In addition to the Women in Tech survey, we also launched a diversity series aimed at bringing the most inspirational and powerful women in the tech scene to your attention. Today, we’d like you to meet Alisa Dammer, backend developer and data scientist.
A research study by The National Center for Women & Information Technology showed that “gender diversity has specific benefits in technology settings,” which could explain why tech companies have started to invest in initiatives that aim to boost the number of female applicants, recruit them in a more effective way, retain them for longer, and give them the opportunity to advance. But is it enough?
Women in Tech — The Survey
We would like to get to the bottom of why gender diversity remains a challenge for the tech scene. Therefore, we invite you all to fill out our diversity survey. Share your experiences with us!
Your input will help us identify the diversity-related issues that prevent us from achieving gender equality in technology workplaces.
Without further ado, we would like to introduce Alisa Dammer, backend developer and data scientist.
Alisa Dammer, backend developer and data scientist
My single biggest interest is data analysis. Most of all I am fascinated by neural networks and their usage in different spheres like image recognition, text classification and of course financial markets.
During my first bachelor, I have gained a sufficient theoretical background in mathematics and statistics which allows me to work in scientific contexts without difficulties. During my second bachelor, I have gained a solid set of programming skills.
In my spare time, I continue to learn new things: online courses (from technical courses to neurobiology, cause it’s cool), new languages and tech (blockchain and solidity were my recent adventure). I take part in GameJams quite frequently. I do not forget about the body and soul: sport, meditation and all in all healthy lifestyle is a must.
What got you interested in technology?
I developed a deeper interest in tech, probably, during the first-second year of my second study, when I saw the real use-cases for an intersection of tech and non-tech skill sets.
After getting my first B.Sc. in economics and mathematics I wanted to do something less abstract (math is pretty cool, but still a bit abstract). I started my second B.Sc. in informational systems (economics and informatics) where I have noticed a strong interest in actual programming (game development and data analysis applications were my first experience). As an obstacle, I can call the fact that I never got a programming training prior to my second study and the courses were more for students with at least some background in programming or a good understanding of low-level concepts, additionally the study was in German, which by the time I didn’t understand 100%.
My family thought that I will be more successful in management or some other economical branch. My boyfriend is somewhat my role model if we’re talking about skills and knowledge. They [my family] haven’t seen a strong interest in technology from my side, so I was forced to study economics and mathematics at first. After I got my second degree in Informational System and scored a backend engineering job, no one held me down.
A day in Alisa’s life
I work as a software engineer in a small startup called Joblift. A typical day would start at around 9:15 AM checking Slack channels for any urgent news or bugs. At around 10:15 smaller teams have standups where we report on progress or some issues or whatever makes sense and is within the scope of the project.
Our daily work is a mixture of actual programming and a lot of remote communication with the sales/management department from another city (the whole team is split in two: tech and non-tech team). Lunch at 12:30, then work continues until around 18.00+.
I’m proud of being able to create simple yet powerful tools and programs (EtE of course) that can help my colleagues and our end-users. Basically, I am most proud of my hard skills.
Why aren’t there more women in tech?
This is not exactly the case for our tech team (40% of the team consists of women) but I think that women can’t always keep up with the expected dedication to the profession. What I mean is that women tend to have more tasks than just acquiring new hard skills (housekeeping, children, other hobbies, women are more social, etc.) It’s not bad. But the end result is that a person investing more time into something will be better at it. Men have (at least I have the feeling they do, and it is probably very specific for this domain) more freedom with their time.
The number of women in the tech scene has increased. It is also very hard to connect the debates and the statistics directly. Debates are only the first step, what happens afterwards is way more important, we’ll see.
Stereotypes and low expectations (low expectations are bad in this case because a person will be devalued up front and it will be hard to prove the actual skill and knowledge).
Tips & tricks
I can offer a few pieces of advice:
- be stubborn
- don’t be shy and get to know more folks
- go to meetups even if you have no idea what this technology is all about
- participate in hackathons
- play video games
- try not to follow the stereotypes immediately
Don’t miss our Women in Tech profiles:
- “Technology reflects the people who make it”
- “In the right company, working in tech is a great career”
- Why women fall out of the tech pipeline
- Breaking the mold: ‘It’s not that you’re good — it’s that you’re female’
- How to avoid the culture of male programmers
- Creating an equal playing field is about more than just teaching someone coding skills
- The more women you see in STEM, the less intimidating it is for others to join
- The tech industry tends to lose women along the way. Change is underway
- How to get (and stay) into the tech industry: Tips & tricks for women
- Transitioning into a tech career? Silicon Valley culture is one of the biggest initial obstacles
- Abby Kearns: “Diversity ensures continuous innovation”
- “In technology, you become a lifelong learner — More women should embrace this career”
- Cultural impact is not driven by gender, but by diversity
- Everyday superheroes: “I don’t have a role model, my career was based on my mistakes”
- Diversity talk: For tech, it’s less about a pipeline problem and more of a marketing problem
- Diversity talk: It’s important to receive support from tech communities
- Everyday superheroes: Women just need to see more of us — techie women
- Anyone who wants to learn and grow won’t continue in an industry that tells them they are stupid
- There is too much allowance for tolerating toxic people in tech
- Coding myths and how finding communities like Hear Me Code helps you learn best
- 3 strategies to try out if you want to support women in tech
- Young women carry less career gender bias and more media influence
- Women are often pigeonholed into “soft skill” roles and pushed away from engineering
- Diversity talk: Many women suffer from the impostor syndrome
- How to succeed in tech: Shutterstock’s Rashi Khurana gives her tips
- Diversity talk: Using lingo is making tech sound harder than it really is
- Diversity talk: “We can’t expect men to hand us equality on a silver platter”
- How to succeed in tech: Agnès Crepet gives her tips
- “Many people still need to be taught that diversity is more than just a trend”
- “Many companies lack the infrastructure & career growth opportunities to support female employees”
- “Diverse teams can help prevent unhealthy competition that occurs sometimes in male-dominated teams”
- How to succeed in tech: Testlio’s Kristel Kruustük shares her tips
- “As the tech field becomes cloud-based, the flexibility and remote work culture will grow”
- How to win the diversity battle: Tips from Atlassian’s Molly Hellerman
- Diversity talk: “Women should not be herded into a career to meet quotas”
- “The tech industry can move even faster by increasing the diversity of talent”
- Diversity talk: Even if your team is not very diverse, what matters is that they value you
- Diversity talk: Exec reveals her secret to success — Always be curious
- How to win the diversity battle: Tips from GitLab’s Barbie Brewer
- Diversity talk: Tips from Lisk’s Gina Contrino on how to succeed in tech
- “The combination of tech IQ and people EQ can set you apart in the tech world”
- “Mentorship, acceptance, and trust are really important in fostering gender diversity in the workplace”
- The tech industry is not solely responsible for pushing gender diversity
- “There isn’t enough clarity on what it means to work in tech and to be a woman in tech”
- Diversity talk: Exec reveals her secret to success — Become comfortable with change
- Diversity in the AI world & how imposter syndrome is vital!
- “Even if women decide to work as developers because they are passionate and qualified, they are sometimes treated like diversity hires”
- “We need fewer WiT luncheons and more women coding & deploying projects side by side with men”
- Diversity at MapR: “This goes beyond the gender inequalities in the workforce, we need their brains”