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For women in the ever-evolving world of IT, navigating a landscape dominated by men can present a unique set of challenges. However, as my own journey demonstrates, it’s also a world brimming with opportunities for those who are prepared to thrive, not just survive.

What ignited my spark for technology: A playground of discovery

My fascination with technology began at a very early age, way back in kindergarten to be specific. With my older brother and older male cousin leading the way, our house became a playground for exploration. I spent countless hours borrowing our shared computer. I remember getting so excited every time there were newly installed games through burned CDs so I could play with them after class and weekends. I also had so much fun diving into educational softwares with interactive games, tinkering with various programs, listening to discography of music artists, then surfing the internet when we first had access to dial-up which led me to an infinite world of possibilities and discoveries. This initial spark ignited a passion for learning and a desire to understand how things work.

Gender as a teammate, not a barrier ♂♀

Throughout my academic journey — from pursuing an IT degree to navigating the professional world — the presence of men was undeniable. Yet, I never viewed them as obstacles. Instead, I saw them as teammates and collaborators on a path towards our shared goals. Open communication and a focus on shared success fostered strong working relationships, allowing me to contribute and learn from diverse perspectives.

Exploring the possibilities of IT 🤔💭

While my initial dream was to become a web developer for a favorite magazine I grew up with, the IT world revealed itself to be vast and exciting. After college (which is around 11 years ago, by the way), I discovered a career in Software Quality Assurance. We never learned anything related to QA in university, so it was a challenge for me to learn the ropes on my own and with the minimal guidance of my seniors who were all men. They patiently walked me through the process and exposed me to the best practices which I still carry up to this day. I was then exposed to Project Management which allowed me to engage with a lot of male teammates and clients.

There were some hiccups here in there but they were not entirely related to the fact that I am a woman but more on the factors that caused stress to the whole team such as meeting deadlines and misunderstanding requirements or objectives. Then I got the role as the Head of Service Delivery which handles Operations. This change in my career broadened my view of the IT industry. I primarily focus on overall process improvements and I make sure to initiate discussions to consider different perspectives from different people — ranging from male to female, project team members to management and even clients — to make sure all things are covered and heard. Constant exposure fueled my desire for continuous learning, a key element to thriving in this dynamic field.

Leading the way: Collaboration and empowerment 🤝✨

My journey to leadership wasn’t about defying the odds or proving myself in a male-dominated field. It stemmed from fostering strong working relationships, consistently delivering high-quality work, and strategically planning for positive impact. Collaboration was fundamental — by supporting and empowering other women colleagues through constructive feedback and encouragement, we created a space for mutual growth.

Overcoming Gender Bias: Speak up and seek support 🤗💬

Despite the progress made, gender bias can still exist. If you encounter situations where your abilities are questioned or your contributions overlooked, don’t be afraid to speak up. Document instances of bias and seek support from trusted colleagues and HR. There is certainly strength in numbers, and together, you can advocate for a more inclusive work environment.

Thriving beyond gender: Let your skills help in shaping a brighter future for women in Tech 🚀👩🏻💻

My core belief is that focusing on your contributions, not your gender, is key to success. When I see an opportunity to make a positive impact, I pursue it with dedication. By honing your technical expertise, cultivating strong communication and problem-solving skills, and embracing lifelong learning, you become an invaluable asset, regardless of gender.

The tech industry is full of potential, and women are definitely a driving force behind innovation. While challenges remain, my journey is a testament that you can go places with perseverance, collaboration, and a commitment to lifelong learning.

Here’s what you can take away:

  • Embrace your passion: Let your curiosity and love for technology guide you. There is a place for you in this ever-evolving field.
  • Build strong relationships: View your colleagues, regardless of gender, as teammates on a shared journey.
  • Be your own advocate: Don’t be afraid to showcase your skills. There will be bumps along the road, but with support and a commitment to excellence, you can overcome them.
  • Thrive, not just survive: Further develop your technical skills and become a well-rounded professional. Your contributions will speak for themselves.

The future of tech is bright, and it’s a future where women play a leading role. Let’s continue to empower each other and shape a more inclusive industry for all.


Read the article on Medium.

Author Athena Annisa Chatto

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