Women in Tech: “My job is a perfect fit for my situation”
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 Viktoryia Verasava, TypeScript Developer at McMakler.
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 the tech scene to your attention. Today, we’d like you to meet Viktoryia Verasava, TypeScript Developer at McMakler.
Today’s Women in Tech: Viktoryia Verasava, TypeScript Developer at McMakler
Viktoryia Verasava is a TypeScript developer for the full-service real estate provider McMakler. She has been passionate about IT since her school days in Belarus, but first decided to pursue a career as an electrical engineer. Eventually, she rejoned the IT field through a retraining program.
What first got you interested in tech?
I guess that’s been the case since my early school years. Even then, I liked math classes the most. I started computer science in middle school and learned to program basic tasks in Pascal. That was when my parents bought me a PC and I started to improve my programming skills – both in school assignments and in my free time.
Before I graduated from school, I chose Computer Science as the subject for my final exam, because I felt most confident with computer science. Nevertheless, after graduating from high school, I chose electrical engineering, because the job prospects seemed more secure and solid at the time. Back then, the IT industry wasn’t as developed as today and there weren’t as many jobs as there are nowadays.
How did you attain your current position?
I finished my higher education at the University in Mogilev, Belarus, with a Master’s degree in Energetics and then worked for three years as an electrical engineer in the construction industry. The work was not very fulfilling. Since I was mainly involved in documentation, I could not really see the results of my work. I decided to change course to do what I was sure I would love.
[…] I found that it was programming that I loved the most.
At the time, EPAM, a global IT services company with Belarusian roots, was trying to find new employees in my hometown by offering programming courses. I applied, not only because I had the right professional and academic background, but also because I felt a bit lost.
Originally, my intention was to refresh my programming skills and gain experience in modern web development technologies. But when I finished the course, I realized that it was programming that I loved the most. That’s how I got my job at EPAM.
During my time there, I met many great people who helped me grow professionally, improve my skills as an engineer and as a person, and dive deeper into the IT world. After three years with EPAM, I started looking for new challenges in the startup scene and eventually joined McMakler.
Did you receive support from your family and friends?
My Computer Science teacher in particular comes to mind. She opened up the world of programming to me. I would call her my first mentor. At EPAM I had a great manager, Yury Tatarynovich. He did not only support me in being entrusted with my first project, but also boosted my confidence in my programming skills.
Could you name a few challenges (or obstacles) women in tech face?
To be honest, I never met anyone who tried to stop me. And even if that had been the case, I don’t think it would have worked on me. I have shown enough dedication for what I am doing. I’m in a situation now where my job is a perfect fit for me.
Also, I feel the need to give something back. So I often try to spark an interest in Computer Science and programming in other people and support those who ask me for help. I enjoy being a mentor, which is why, among other things, I got involved as a Rolling Scopes School Mentor in Belarus. This is a free programming school that also has community offerings. Anyone can learn programming skills here under the supervision of experienced programmers.
How does your typical work day look like?
Currently I work as a frontend engineer for McMakler. What I enjoy most is solving programming tasks, like implementing new features, fixing bugs and such. I’m also present at our regular team meetings, which are mostly structured as Scrum ceremonies.
Anyone can acquire programming skills here under the supervision of experienced programmers.
This is where we discuss new features: What we are introducing and why we are introducing something. In web development, teamwork is essential, therefore, communication skills are important, but definitely no less important than technical talent.
Do you have a favorite project?
I like to participate in hackathons. My last one was with my old colleagues from my previous job – we participated in the Engineering Jam in Minsk. Competitions like this are always really fun and a bit exciting. They provide good opportunities to meet cool people, learn new stuff and surround yourself with like-minded people.
Why aren’t there more women in tech?
The tech industry used to be perceived as quite complicated and boring. My guess is that this prejudice comes from people who have nothing to do with tech. But that’s changing now, partly because information about IT professions is easier to access.
Women are denied the qualification to pursue even ambitious goals.
I can’t contribute much to the hurdles. Neither in Belarus nor in Germany did I encounter any barriers – fortunately. At university and later at work, I was always treated with the same respect as my male colleagues. During my career, I have met numerous women in positions in development, quality assurance, business analytics, project management, and other business areas.
Could you name a few challenges (or obstacles) women in tech face?
I am very lucky that I have not encountered any clichés or stereotypical ideas in the IT industry. Meaning nothing comparable to the stereotype like “women are bad drivers”. What comes to my mind, however, is that it is disputed that women have the qualifications to pursue more ambitious goals.
In the end, this is a loss for Computer Science and the IT industry. Because young women who have to decide on a major in high school or choose a field of study at university often see programming as very complicated. The risk of failure is seen as higher than the chance of success.
Would our world be different with more women in the IT industry?
I believe that everyone should have the opportunity to do what they love. I don’t want to divide people who are employed in the tech industry by gender. Purely in terms of probabilities, strong and weak specialists should be equally represented among the sexes.
What advice (and tips) would you give to women who want a tech career?
Working in the IT industry is fun. There are a lot of interesting and smart people here – and a wide range of opportunities to develop yourself. But, as it is in many other industries, IT isn’t an equal fit for everyone.
If you’re curious about technology topics, it’s worth taking a look at online resources. Whether it is articles, books, continuing education, or programming courses, it’s easy to get started. The important thing is not to be afraid to invest time and get smart.
More Women in Tech:
- 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”
- Women in Tech: “Don’t let irrational advice keep you from tech!”