Diversity talk: Many women suffer from the impostor syndrome
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 Fabiane Nardon, Chief Data Scientist at Tail.
Is tech a boys-only club? So it seems. But the light of smart and powerful women is finally shining bright. We root for excellence and justice and, above all, we want meritocracy to win. This is our way of giving women in tech a shout-out.
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 Fabiane Nardon, Chief Data Scientist at Tail.
Fabiane Nardon, Chief Data Scientist at Tail
Fabiane is a computer scientist who is passionate about creating software that will positively change the world we live in. She was the architect of the Brazilian Healthcare Information System, considered at the time the largest JavaEE application in the world and winner of the 2005 Duke’s Choice Award.
She led several communities, including the JavaTools Community at java.net, where 800+ open source projects were born. She is also a co-founder of SouJava, one of the largest Java User Groups in the world, with more than 40 thousand members.
She is a frequent speaker at conferences in Brazil and abroad, including JavaOne, OSCON, Jfokus, JustJava and more. She is the author of many technical articles and member of the program committee of several conferences as JavaOne, OSCON, TDC. She was chosen a Java Champion in 2006 as a recognition of her contribution to the Java ecosystem.
Currently, she works as Chief Scientist at Tail and in companies she co-founded, where she is helping to shape new disruptive Internet-based services. Fabiane can be followed on twitter @fabianenardon.
What got you interested in technology?
I actually don’t remember a time when I was not interested in technology. It started at very young age. I was always fascinated with the power of creating new things that technology gave me. I love solving problems and technology was the tool that allowed me to solve them.
I was born and raised in a small city in the South of Brazil and as you can imagine, the access to advanced schools and new technologies was very limited. Since this was pre-internet, I think that was my main obstacle. So, when I was old enough, I moved to a bigger city where the best schools were and had to build my career from there.
I received support from family and friends. I was the first one in my family to work with technology, but they were all very proud of it.
A day in Fabiane’s life
I work as Chief Data Scientist at Tail, a Data Science for advertisement company. My typical day involves creating algorithms to process billions of records per day, doing data engineer to optimize jobs, managing the development team, and studying a lot.
I’m proud of all the software I helped create. Each had its importance and solved important problems. For example, I was the main architect for the Health Information System for São Paulo, which was considered the largest JavaEE application in the world. That software organized the use of city resources in a way that we managed to double the number of tomographies the public health system was able to do. I’m also proud of the artificial intelligence algorithms we were able to create at Tail that were revolutionary in the Brazilian advertisement market.
I’m also very proud of the community engagement. I helped create users groups to share technology. I helped organize many technical conferences, as a way to disseminate technology to as many people as possible. I’ve done many talks at many conferences and I’m proud to be able to deliver good technical content that helps people to understand technology better.
Why aren’t there more women in tech?
I have no idea, to be honest. In fact, I only realized that there were more men than women in tech when I finished college and moved to São Paulo. My Computer Science class at college had 26 women and 24 men. In the following years, many women gave up and we ended up with more men, but still, there were many women. So, I don’t know why more women are not considering tech as a career. Wish I would know the answer!
It is true that with more diversity you have more innovation since you can benefit from different points of view. So, it may be the case that we would have implemented different ideas if more women were working in STEM.
I think the main challenge women working in tech face is when people assume you are not technically advanced because you are a woman. This is unfortunately common when people don’t know who you are. So, you have to prove yourself. Also, when going to conferences, it may be challenging to mix in if you are the only woman in the room. And there is the impostor syndrome that many women suffer from: the fear that someone someday will find out that you are not good enough, which is something that you rarely see in men.
Tips & tricks
- You should know that you are as capable as anyone else. Don’t let people tell that you can’t do something.
- Honestly, the immense majority of people I knew in this industry are great human beings. So, don’t be afraid and let’s innovate together.
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