Gina Carey, an American independent filmmaker, and singer, once said: ‘A strong woman looks a challenge in the eye and gives it a wink’. With the above in mind, we decided to look at the challenges the IT girls face. In the era of growing feminist movements, the struggle for equal treatment, the gradual emergence of women in men-dominated professions, and finally growing into a real Wonderwomen, seems to be a new wave in the development of this future-oriented industry.
Following the example of the iconic character of Wonderwoman, equipped with such qualities as strength, independence, faith in one’s abilities, supported by solid educational foundations, we can put the first sketch of the silhouette of an IT woman. If we add the so-called ‘feminine hand’, or subtle and detail-oriented approach, we get a truly excellent example of who the IT girls are. The drive for making this choice may also be inspired by the extraordinary women biographies who have permanently etched into the history of the technology industry, and perceived as its founding mothers. Onboard we have Sister Marry Kenneth Keller, who was the first woman to be awarded a Ph.D. in computer science and assisted in creating the BASIC language. It is also impossible to miss the first gaming graphics designer – Carol Shaw, or Grace Murray Hopper, considered an IT pioneer. With the above in mind, we decided to ask Synergy Codes’ IT Wonderwomen why it is worth trying a hand in the IT industry and why they are proud of doing a job that has been dominated by men for years. Based on interviews that were conducted some time ago, here are the main points we worked on during the discussions.
Reason 1 – Because we are strong and independent thanks to IT
According to surveys conducted by Geek Girls Carrots in 2018, women in IT account for around 30% globally, while only 10% in Poland. It means nothing, but the assumption that it is still a niche industry for ladies. At the same time, it is said that 76% of them studied computer science as a major, which directed them to practice in IT. While interviewing Synergy Codes’ girls, the most often mentioned reason, why they decided to start in IT, was the feeling of achieving some kind of social prestige based on work in a niche profession with narrow specializations with a competitive salary. ‘I got the feeling that we may be called The Fellowship of the Ring – everyone is responsible for different things, but all together we are just one, well-oiled team’ – said Patrycja Krzeszowiec working as a Software Developer. In the opinion of many, it is a factor that determines the choice of profession in the future. Synergy Codes’ girls claim that the ability to implement new solutions, develop codes and test solutions, that in the long run improve the work of others, are factors causing them to progress in IT. The feeling of independence also is influenced by the opportunity to gain experience in various positions. At the end of the day, choosing the best suitable one provides a high level of satisfaction. ‘In the IT business, everyone can find the right place for themselves. It’s not only about programming, but also testing, project management or designing apps, as we do it here’ – admitted Magda Kustosz, IT headhunter in SC. The constantly changing face of technology and emerging innovations force employees to perform greater flexibility, and deepening knowledge without which IT would be impossible.
Reason 2 – Because we fight for equality and work-life balance
IT is perceived as the industry in which women are increasingly holding the water as specialists not only in coding, testing but also can confidently pursue their design passions in UI and UX. The trend is changing to the advantage of women employed as specialists (both junior and senior), engineers and programmers. Men appreciate the presence of women in teams. They are said to be great at performing typically strict tasks, soothing morals and improving communication. By maintaining this balance in both hard and soft competencies, the IT industry is growing as a leader of cohesion and work culture among employees. The presence of women in IT also is related to the implementation of new definitions of flexibility and work-life balance. Motivated by the desire to work on future projects, real development contribution and interest in specific IT areas, they are happy to combine the obligations arising from being a mother with a professional career. According to Geek Girls Carrots’ research, as many as 50% of women believe that combining these two aspects of life would be easy if they had to start working as IT specialists. Interestingly, among women working in the technology industry, there is a much smaller sense of discrimination in the workplace compared to other branches. Their confidence in professional life translates into a sense of confidence in everyday life and vice versa.
Reason 3 – Because we set new standards
The average age of women employed in IT sectors is 29, which means they belong to a
generation of people brought up in the era of the great technological boom in the 90s and 00s. Easy access to computers, IT education at schools, possibilities to test new products means the generation of 20-30-year-olds is equipped with appropriate competences and courage in taking the next steps in the IT world. The worldview changes that have taken place in society over the past few years have caused more girls to decide to work in an industry that is still dominated by men. Young women are increasingly choosing a profession according to their interests rather than family or society expectations. This is also influenced by actions supporting their activity in the IT industry. The girls from Synergy Codes admitted that they feel the great drive to introduce the new face of IT as they are free to set up new standards and work in the open-minded teams. ‘We set our company as an example of respect for female specialists, equipped with competences and knowledge necessary to perform our duties’ – added Kasia Biernat, who is a Team Leader and Fullstack Developer in Synergy Codes. Importantly, women also pay attention to the multidisciplinary experience (starting from fields of study, often not related to the industry in which they currently work). As a result, they are prepared to take up new challenges. Girls are open to learn and bring a ‘fresh breeze’ in the structures of many companies.
Reason 4 – Because it’s ok to fight against stereotypes
According to statistics presented by Sedlak & Sedlak for the IT industry 2018, women who are employed in IT structures, are estimated to be worse paid than their colleagues occupying the same positions in companies. This problem also occurs when women occupy high-level positions, e.g. as senior specialists or managers. Currently, however, many companies, including Synergy Codes, are calling for equal pay, especially if the person is employed in a given position is equipped with desired qualities and competences. ‘We are treated as equal partners. The trust put on us is also the reason we are eager to conduct our duties’ – said the Synergy Codes’ girls. Interestingly, the percentage of women engaged in responsible positions has increased in recent years. As it turns out, women improve their competences during necessary training sessions, post-graduate studies, or during project works. Consequently, they learn to do responsible work with full teammates or supervisor support. That’s why it can be safely concluded that thanks to the above-mentioned factors, women stand behind a significant change in the perception of themselves as specialists. Yet, they are happy to share knowledge, especially with those who are at the beginning of their IT career.
Reason 5 – Because we are change
Like Daenerys Targaryen, a ‘Game of Thrones’ character, women in IT are seen as mothers of dragons. Why? ‘We invent useful things, for people like us, we have a real impact on the quality of someone’s work, and by the way, we have great satisfaction caused by creating something beautiful, useful and working flawlessly’ – said Dominika Pacholec, one of the Synergy Codes’ Wonderwoman. The emphasis on creating new directions in the IT industry, implementing innovations, and building the position of an expert are tasks that women in IT companies meet every day. ‘I assume you need to be a geek to feel comfortable in this field. But at the same time, you just don’t know everything in every aspect. You need to take time to learn’– said Joanna Pawłowska, one of the Synergy’s Web Designers. And indeed, according to statistics, women relatively rarely give up their tasks and positions in favour of changing jobs. So this suggests growing a stronger position in the world where knowledge and flexibility go hand in hand. Interestingly, among the majority of women holding positions in the IT industry, they had previously dealt with it through relationships with partners employed in IT companies. Therefore, their natural transition to the industry and prior re-engineering is a natural course of things.
The IT world is increasingly taking on a woman’s face. And it doesn’t matter, compared to previous years, where you come from, what professional experience you have. If you have ambition, the ability to think analytically, and passion for IT, you’ll find your place. Interestingly, age also ceases to matter – if you only want to improve your qualifications and believe in the success of your goal – IT is for you. Be the change, be IT Wonderwoman.