Women in Tech: “Mixed teams unleash the greatest potential”
Four 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 Amelie Lang, Product Manager for web, MEW, and CMS at kicker.
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?
Four 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 Amelie Lang, Product Manager for web, MEW, and CMS at kicker.de.
Today’s Woman in Tech: Amelie Lang, Product Manager for web, MEW, and CMS at kicker
Amelie Lang is the WEB, MEW, and CMS Product Manager at the German sports media brand “kicker”. Due to her knowledge of technology, design and conceptual issues, she acts as a bridging point between technology, design and the editorial.
Her goal is to further tap into digital potentials with the five-person product management team and to efficiently implement new ideas and projects.
When did you become interested in technology?
I’ve been interested in tech since I was a kid, which was partly due to my tech-savvy father. Ever since I can remember, we’ve had computers, video cameras, and quickly tablets and smartphones in the household. You can add on top of that my two older brothers, both of whom I was able to look over their shoulders as they played their video games.
How did you end up in your career path?
It’s actually a bit of a classic story: I went straight to college after graduating from high school. And after completing my bachelor’s degree in “Media Engineering”, I was also able to successfully complete my master’s degree in “Media Technology and Media Production. Then, I started my professional career at the publishing company Olympia, more precisely the sports media brand kicker, as a freelancer in the layout team.
Now, after a short time there, I have risen to the position of product manager for kicker.de.
Above all, my self-motivation was decisive for my path.
What obstacles did you have to overcome?
There were hurdles, but no one put obstacles in my way. Even in the course of studies, the proportion of men and women was very balanced and we all supported each other. The teachers didn’t discriminate either; if there was ever a bad grade, it affected both men and women equally. In the same way, we were fully supported in our talents, which I still benefit from today.
In my current job, too, all doors were kept open for me: After a position in front-end development was initially planned for me, we agreed on an individual job profile. As a product manager, I can now apply my strengths in a focused way and grow with these challenges.
Did you have support from friends or family? What about your role models?
I don’t really have any role models in the IT industry. My self-motivation in particular was crucial to my path. I quickly became enthusiastic about IT, which made it easier for me to get started in particular.
I’m impressed by women who go their own way. My aunt, for example, ventured into self-employment and built up a successful business.
What position do you hold now, at which company? What exactly do you do there and what does your day-to-day work look like?
As product manager of kicker.de at the publishing company Olympia, my focus is on the strategy and conception of our browser-based kicker platforms for WEB and MEW. This includes the responsibility for the development and expansion of our services as well as the content management system. As a result, I am responsible for quality assurance, project management and success evaluation in order to design target-oriented measures.
Women in tech ensure better communication within teams.
Have you developed something? If so, please tell us about the project!
Some time ago, together with some fellow students, I developed a Java program based on the german TV show “1,2 oder 3? Using image detection, the players were able to position themselves in the room so that they were standing on one of the three answer-fields. Otherwise, I am currently more active in the organization and coordination of large projects. One of my latest challenges was the support and management of our new kicker app for the Austrian market.
Why aren’t there more women in tech? What’s your take on that?
There are certainly prejudices among some employers that men are better at the job, which is why they prefer to hire them. I notice that in my environment, too, interest in tech is lower among women. Here, more motivation should be sparked at a young age and talents should be promoted in a targeted manner, e.g. already at school.
What clichés or stereotypes have you already encountered in relation to “Women in Tech”? And what problems arise from them?
I got the feeling that far more clichés and stereotypes exist outside of the tech-bubble. My experience shows me that women are accepted and their impulses are taken very seriously. It is much more likely to be those from other fields to whom a “woman in tech” seems rather strange and who then often follow up with a surprised manner.
Personally, I feel very comfortable in the IT industry and I also see more and more women finding their way into programming. That was certainly different 20 years ago, but in my opinion, the industry is on the move.
My experience shows me that women are accepted and their impulses are taken very seriously.
Would our world be different if more women worked in STEM? What would be the (social, economic, and cultural) impact?
I am convinced that more women in the tech industry will also ensure better communication within teams. I don’t want to talk about a quota, but one woman among ten men is not the best solution.
Furthermore, there are also new perspectives. And women think differently, although not better or worse, but they recognize perspectives and take into account factors that men in the industry sometimes miss. I believe that mixed teams unleash the greatest potential and that new goals can be achieved together.
The discussion about diversity is gaining momentum. How long will it take to see results from the current debate?
In my opinion, the diversity debate itself will not come to an end in the near future. In fact, it is important that this topic continues to receive publicity and that diversity, whether in terms of gender or sexual orientation, also prevails in the developer industry.
Women need to be promoted significantly more so that motivation can also grow out of interest. If nothing changes in this regard, things will remain as they are now and IT will continue to manifest itself as a male domain.
What advice (and tips) would you give to women who want a tech career? What should they know about this industry?
I think it’s important to get rid of shyness and to be able to hold your own, regardless of whom you’re facing. But you also have to be aware that the IT industry is less communicative than other industries. That is why women should know exactly what they’re getting into.
Interested in some more Women in Tech? Here are some more examples!
- Women in Tech: Susanna Lawson, CEO and Co-founder of OneFile
- Women in Tech: Richa Dhandhania, Head of Analytics, Raisin DS
- Women in Tech: Miriam Bressan, Manager Solution Engineering, Global Accounts in CEMEA and SEMEA at VMware Tanzu
- Women in Tech: Abigail Ramlogan, Marketing product evangelist at NetBrain
- Women in Tech: Anna Stoilova, Co-founder & Chief Product Officer at TIKI