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Profile: Elaine Skapetis, front end developer at Adobe

Women in Tech: “Networking and exchanging ideas with other women is a real benefit”

Jan Bernecke
women in tech

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 Elaine Skapetis, front end developer at Adobe.

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 Elaine Skapetis, front end developer at Adobe.

Today’s Woman in Tech: Elaine Skapetis, front end developer at Adobe

Compared to many of my colleagues, I discovered computer technology for myself relatively late. I was never a big women in techgamer in my childhood and I didn’t spend much time in front of the computer when I was young. I only had my first own PC when I was 18, but I have always been curious. The technology behind it and how the internet and websites work have fascinated me from the beginning. And it was exactly this curiosity that drove me to dive deeper and deeper into the world of computer science and finally to learn the profession of a front-end developer. From today’s perspective, this was the best decision of my life. I have found my absolute dream job! Especially at a company like Adobe: In our international team, I get the opportunity to work with and learn from the best people from a wide variety of fields every day. I am very grateful to be able to work at Adobe.

Which different career paths have you taken?

Before I discovered my dream job as a developer, I tried out various exciting jobs in the fields of technology and innovation. Originally I come from Brazil, where I first completed an apprenticeship in mechanical engineering. Then I came to Germany to become an IT specialist. After a stopover at an automotive supplier in Mexico, I founded the IT company Factor Sigma Software Solutions in Greece. Only then did I move to Switzerland, where I joined the Adobe.com team.

Do you have any role models?

My father was certainly a great personal role model. As a power electronics engineer, he often took me along and showed me some exciting projects. This time had a great influence on me. Today my colleagues at Adobe are my greatest role models. It’s really fascinating how much know-how and innovative spirit from a wide variety of fields come together here in just one place.

Have obstacles ever been deliberately put in the way of your career?

Of course there are always moments in your career and in Front End Engineering when obstacles block the direct path to success. That is completely normal. In such situations it is important to keep a cool head, to continue on your path and never give up. I myself have always believed in myself and have only grown further in the face of such challenges.

A day in Elaine’s life

My world is the Adobe cosmos. Everything the user sees online at Adobe is part of my work as a front-end developer. Of course, I can’t do this mammoth task alone: I work with around 100 fellow developers worldwide to create the web experience on Adobe.com. To coordinate this collaboration, a typical workday at Adobe usually starts with a meeting or status call. Here we discuss the latest adjustments, updates, and new components of the Adobe website. So a lot of planning and architecture is required before we get down to the actual programming. Around a quarter of the working week is usually spent on this. In individual projects, we work together with colleagues from all over the world, which can sometimes have an impact on working hours due to the different time zones. As a developer, it is important to remain flexible at all times.

Why are there so few women in the tech industry?

In my opinion, there is still not enough information about the work and the related jobs in the tech industry. Many women don’t even realize what kind of work you can do here without being a full-time developer. Furthermore, the search for female IT staff is started much too late. Most companies say that they are not able to find qualified women for vacant IT positions. I believe, however, that they should help young women and girls to learn more about IT at an early age. This is the only way women will increasingly integrate the IT option into their careers – and companies will invest directly in future female developers.

What stereotypes have you encountered with regard to “Women in Tech” and what problems arise from them?

The clichéd image of IT work is dominated by people who sit in front of the computer all day. However, they forget one central point that makes working in the IT industry so special to me: as developers, we have the greatest possible flexibility in terms of working hours and workplace. As a rule, we have all the freedom we need to reconcile our job with family life. This is an important advantage that many women want today.

At the same time, the IT industry is often considered to be remote and lacking in communication. This is also not true: We developers do not work alone, just for ourselves, but in teams. Here you have to communicate continuously and present your projects and ideas to be successful.

Would our world be different if more women worked in STEM?

More women in the workplace is above all a driving force of the economy and GDP growth. McKinsey noted that increasing gender equality could boost global GDP by up to $12 trillion by 2025. At the same time, however, we are also talking about better product quality, since half of the technology users are women. Another important aspect is that most victims of cyberbullying today are women or young girls. More women in IT would therefore be helpful in creating effective policies and implementing targeted protection measures.

What does the future look like – will the diversity debate soon be history?

To this day, the topic of diversity has not been able to establish itself everywhere in people’s minds. In my home country Brazil, for example, women still have to fight pretty hard for their place in the tech industry. In Europe and the USA, we have fortunately already taken a big step forward. Here, companies are looking less and less at the sexes and more at the results. And that’s exactly what it has to be about in the end. In general, I believe that women and men can only achieve the best possible results together. Diversity can therefore become a real competitive advantage. From this perspective alone, diversity should be a matter of course in companies.

What advice (and tips) would you give to women who want a tech career?

Self-confidence and trust in oneself and one’s own expertise are not only decisive skills that women in the tech industry should have. They also have to communicate these qualities appropriately in order to assert themselves. No woman has ever made a career here with restraint or false modesty. And of course: Together we are strong! Networking and exchanging ideas with other women is a real benefit that you should definitely take advantage of. Generally speaking, in this dynamic industry there must be a willingness to constantly develop. For a developer, standstill means falling behind. At best, lay down a foundation in university and training. But learning goes on and on. Because in the tech industry there are no long-standing routines as in other areas. And that’s exactly what I love so much about my job as a developer: There’s nothing I like better than being able to discover and do something new again and again!

More Women in Tech:

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Author
Jan Bernecke
Jan Bernecke has been an online editor at S&S Media since 2019. The rugby-playing literary scholar previously worked in the field of online marketing.

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