Women in Tech: “If you are curious or enjoy puzzles, you are in good hands in the tech industry”
Women are underrepresented in the tech sector —myth or reality? Three years ago, we 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 Sabine Bär, Software Architect and Lead Dev.
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?
Three years ago, we 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 Sabine Bär, Software Architect and Lead Dev.
Today’s Woman in Tech: Sabine Bär, Software Architect and Lead Dev
Sabine Bär has been working for more than 6 years at MASSIVE ART Web Services as a software architect. Even during her school days, she invested a lot of free time in web development and was already having a lot of fun with it back then. After graduating from high school, she decided to study Computer Science/Software Engineering at the University of Applied Sciences Vorarlberg, where she graduated with a Master of Science degree after five years.
While the focus during her studies was still on other areas such as simulation, she turned back to web development after graduation and applied for a job with her current employer – MASSIVE ART WebServices GmbH – directly after graduation. There she contributes significantly to the success of innovative web projects. She has almost as much enthusiasm for music – both passively and actively at the concert hall.
When did you become interested in technology?
In the middle of my way to my exams at a secondary school with a focus on economics, I suddenly had to decide on a more in-depth subject. There was an information leaflet at the time which said the subject of information technology was a good choice for anyone who enjoyed mathematics.
I was 100% sure of that. Back then – at the age of 16 – my contact with computers was below average and limited to e-mail and chats. So I was not particularly enthusiastic about technology as a child, nor were there any remarkable key moments. Nevertheless, this little information sheet proved correct.
But there are always women who don’t let anything get in the way of their passion, such as Amelia Earhart or Margarete Steiff.
Do you have any role models?
In my environment, it was always completely natural that my decision to pursue a technical profession was not the statistical standard. But in any case, it was nothing strange or negative. And that is actually the greatest support you can get. That is why I have never had the feeling that I needed any kind of help or support.
There are women whose stories I find very inspiring, but not necessarily only from the technical side. But there are always women who don’t let anything get in the way of their passion, such as Amelia Earhart or Margarete Steiff.
A day in Sabine’s life
At MASSIVE ART WebServices, I work as a developer in a Scrum team in web and app development. A large part of my work consists of development: The technical spectrum ranges from PHP to Java and from web applications to native apps. The work is also very diverse in terms of content: classic information and communication platforms are represented as well as e-commerce projects or tools for customer retention.
I start my day relatively early and then enjoy the time before 9:00, before the hustle and bustle really starts. That’s when all the development teams meet for the Daily Stand-Up Meeting, where they discuss what’s up for the day and who does what. I spend the rest of the day with development, planning of upcoming tasks, arrangements, and code reviews. Due to the variety of technologies we use and the mix of industries our customers operate in, the day is usually colourful and varied – this variety is exactly what I like best about my job.
What challenges do women in the tech industry face?
Personally, I have had few bad experiences with regard to my choice of career so far and have rarely felt disadvantaged to be a woman. Sure, sometimes there are one or two stupid sayings. You just can’t take it too seriously.
Sometimes it is expected that I, as “the woman in the team”, am clearly the tidiest or the one with the most beautiful handwriting – which is not true. In general, women are often placed in the same category. For example, if I am traveling with a male colleague, it is automatically assumed that he is the technical contact and not me. This happens unconsciously and is simply deeply rooted in our society, which is why I would certainly never feel offended by it. On the contrary – this is what I feel probably already happened.
Why aren’t there more women in the tech industry?
I think one problem might be that most people don’t even know that they might like it. I wasn’t aware of that either until I ended up in this field by chance. Maybe people are not driven in this direction by their personal environment, because someone doesn’t even think of it as a professional field for women.
However, I think it is a great pity that the proportion of women in technology is still not higher in 2020. I’m often the only woman at university or at further training courses. Although I enjoy working with men, I would still like a bit more female support.
Would our world be different if more women worked in STEM?
But as in almost every profession, a great diversity – men, women, young, old, different personal backgrounds and the like – is extremely enriching.
I wouldn’t say that there should be more women in particular. But as in almost every profession, a great diversity – men, women, young, old, different personal backgrounds and the like – is extremely enriching. In my experience, men get to work faster, women prefer to think a bit longer. Of course, this has advantages for both, and that is why – as with many other characteristics – a good mix is the best solution.
What does the future look like – will the diversity debate soon be history?
I don’t think so. Particularly in terms of pay, we are still far from fair. Even though I don’t necessarily feel disadvantaged, I believe that there are enough women who have to fight to be treated equally as men.
What advice (and tips) would you give to women who want a tech career?
The shyness that many people have about the tech industry is completely unfounded. It’s a profession like any other: You can learn it without being hyperintelligent. It is also varied and you never stop learning. If you are curious or enjoy puzzles, you are in good hands in the tech industry.
More Women in Tech:
- Women in Tech: “Dare to be seen, say things out loud. Just do it.”
- Women in Tech: “Join meetups and other women tech groups”
- Women in Tech: “Degrees can matter but they aren’t required”
- Women in Tech: “The IT sector requires a lot of energy and will”
- Women in Tech: “I got to be a self-taught, self-managed, problem solver”