Women in tech: “Good products and good teams require empathy”
Women are underrepresented in the tech sector —myth or reality? Two 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 Meghan Jordan, Product Manager at Datadog.
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?
Two years ago, we launched a diversity series aimed at bringing the most inspirational and powerful women in tech to your attention. Today, we’d like you to meet Meghan Jordan, Product Manager at Datadog.
Our Woman in Tech today: Meghan Jordan, Product Manager at Datadog
Meghan Jordan holds a Master’s Degree in Computer Science and is a Product Manager at cloud service provider Datadog. She is responsible for the provider’s SLO / SLA products and also works in the event sector. Prior to joining Datadog, she worked in marketing and as an analyst at WeWork.
What first got you interested in tech?
I wasn’t always interested in working in tech. My undergraduate degree was in anthropology and I explored becoming a lawyer, working in healthcare as a nurse or public health administrator, and working in law enforcement.
I ended up going to grad school for computer science, because I was curious about advancing my education, and this direction ended up leading me on the path to my current career. That said, anthropology has proved relevant to my current work — a lot of the research strategies I learned in undergrad can be applied to user research in product management.
How did you end up in your career path?
In graduate school I pursued product management because I was more interested in user and product research than coding, but my first job was actually project management. I feel like my career really started once I accepted a role in product marketing at Datadog. We were a small team, still in startup mode with a lot of ground to cover, a lot of opportunities to learn, and try new things. After a couple of years in product marketing, I was able to move over to product management and now I’ve been a product manager for over a year.
A strong support group
My friends and family have always been supportive of my passions and my career.
As far as role models, I admire Aparna Sinha, who is Director of Product Management for Kubernetes and Anthos at Google Cloud. She has an impressive career and has expertise on a very technical product, which is something I strive for in my own career.
Did anyone ever try to stop you from advancing in your professional life?
I’ve been fortunate in my life to be surrounded by supportive people both professionally and personally.
A day in Meghan’s life
I currently work at Datadog as a product manager, with the teams that build Datadog Monitors and Service Level Objectives. On a typical day, I’m talking with customers, working with other product managers, and meeting with our engineering teams.
It’s always important to take time out of a busy day and think about what might come next.
Datadog Monitors and SLOs are really useful products, and I put a lot of value on hearing and learning from our customers. We build better products when we have open feedback from the teams that are using those products every day.
I also take time to think about the future of the products, and the best strategic direction to go in. It’s always important to take time out of a busy day and think about what might come next.
What are you most proud of in your career?
Right now we are building a product that customers love and that my team is excited to build. Taking ownership of the product as a team — this makes me proud.
Why aren’t there more women in tech?
I don’t think many women have the opportunity to be exposed to tech early in their lives, education, or career. My experience at Datadog has been nothing but positive and inclusive, but I wouldn’t have gotten to where I am if I hadn’t been exposed to computer science in college and graduate school. We need to bring these opportunities to students when they’re young and they’re open to learning new things.
Could you name a few challenges women in tech face?
There are a number of challenges in the industry but I’m very fortunate in that Datadog is an inclusive and supportive workplace.
Would our world be different if more women worked in STEM?
Things would definitely be different, and this isn’t just for women in tech, but more diversity in general and in many different industries. The more different perspectives you have the better products and outcomes will be.
As millennial women mature in their careers, we’ll be seeing more women in leadership positions in the tech industry.
For example, as a product manager, I can’t just talk to one customer, I need to talk to many customers with different backgrounds and experiences. Good products, and good teams, require empathy and the ability to understand where others are coming from. If there was more diversity in STEM, both the tech industry, and the products it produces, would be better overall.
The discussion about diversity is gaining momentum. How long will it take to see results from the current debate?
It’s hard to predict specifically when certain things will happen, but I think as time goes on, and as millennial women mature in their careers, we’ll be seeing more women in leadership positions in the tech industry.
What advice would you give to women who want a tech career?
First of all, don’t be afraid to work in tech. I’ve worked with a lot of different people from different companies and the folks I’ve worked with have all been supportive and inclusive.
Don’t be afraid to ask for what you want. If never made the jump to Product Management then I never would have accomplished so many of the things that I did.
And finally — don’t be afraid to ask for help. Surround yourself with supportive and kind people, and then ask for their advice and mentorship.
Don’t miss our Women in Tech profiles:
- Women in tech: “Don’t let someone steal your ideas, represent them yourself”
- Women in Tech: “Women have to prove themselves before they are taken seriously”
- Women in Tech: “We need pervasive role models to show that we’re not the exception”
- “More women in tech will diminish society’s clear distinction between male vs. female jobs”
- Women in tech: “A lack of ethics in tech and digital transformation”