It is appropriate to remember Ada Lovelace today – she was the world’s first computer programmer. There were others too…Ida Rhodes, Grace Hopper, Jean Jennings Bartik, Lois Haibt, Margaret Hamilton, Barbara Liskov. They were all pioneers in the field of computers and they were all women.
It is 200 years now since Ada Lovelace was born. Times have changed but has it changed for women, particularly in IT. We wanted to find out.
Some of our best software engineers are women and they stride the world of work and home more confidently than a decade ago. We spoke to a few of them to know their views about the IT industry, their family, and their work.
Bhavani, Quality Architect, is Certified Software Test Manager and Six Sigma Green Belt. She loves to read books in her free time.
Do you think being a woman limits your career growth? Do you have to work more to break the glass ceiling?
As a woman, I do not see a limit to my growth. But there are societal constraints. A McKinsey report noted that men are promoted based on potential, while women are promoted based on past accomplishments. I have to work twice as hard and smart as men to prove myself.
Sivaranjani, Associate Quality Architect, is an ISTQB Certified Foundation Level QA professional. Passionate about Illayaraja songs.
What are the challenges in getting back to work after motherhood? What do you think a company should do to bring women back to work?
It is a given that women having children have to take some time off work to raise them. Those who take a lengthier time to get back to work face more challenges. Those who return to work right away have to balance work and home. Their motherly instincts to reach home earlier clashes with delivery deadlines. Flexible work hours, work from home option and day care facility may ease this stress a bit.
Rani is a Magento Developer Plus certified Senior Software Engineer who loves coding and cooking in equal measure.
Was software development your first choice? Why did you opt for it?
My inspiration was my family. Many members from my family are software engineers, so software development was a natural choice. Working on challenging projects, attractive pay, and opportunities to work along with clients were additional incentives to choose this career path.
Amala is a Magento Developer Plus certified Senior Software Engineer who likes to play kho-kho and spending time with the family.
From your point of view, list a few tips for career success for women in software development.
The success needs of a woman are different from a man. As a woman, being self-confident is very important. Women have to take extra efforts to make her career successful. Family support and work-life balance are crucial. Getting out of the comfort zone, consistent and continuous learning is important to move up the ladder.
Lavanya is a Magento Developer Plus certified Associate Architect with DCKAP. She loves reading and listening to melodious music.
In software engineering as a career, what are the advantages and challenges?
Financial freedom, enviable skill set, flexible work hours and exposure through travel.
Limited time to spend time with family even during important occasions. Sedentary lifestyle and project delivery stress lead to health issues.
Priya is an Associate Architect with 8+ years of experience. An early adopter of new technologies, she is fond of two things – coding & fine food.
As a coder, do you think there is a gender bias in software community?
An open source code contribution article that I read recently states that “women made up a relatively small fraction of the coders. Women had made about 140,000 pull requests, compared with men’s nearly 3 million. But the women’s requests seemed to fare a little better. About 79 percent of their pull requests were approved, compared with about 75 percent of men’s pull requests.”
In my experience, I have worked with managers who assign work to women because they think women are more responsible. I have not experienced gender bias in the software community.
Jeya is a Magento Developer plus and Magento Front End Developer certified Software Engineer. She loves playing with her kid.
Is there a reason as to why we do not find too many women in hardware and networking? Why are women not opting for it?
Actually, I am a Red Hat Certified Engineer and was looking for a job based on my certification. Most of the job descriptions had “24X7” requirement. Recruiters were also biased towards male candidates and the reason was monitoring servers through the night, work at odd hours etc. I changed tracks and am in software development now. Most women don’t opt hardware/networking because they want to balance their family and professional life.
Iyswarya is a Software Engineer with 3+ years of experience. She loves to surf the net and to spend quality time with her baby girl.
In software development, you have to put in long hours, particularly during releases? How do you manage this?
It is true that releases are stressful. I plan my tasks and unit test it to avoid bugs. But in project releases, there are always last minute surprises.If for some reason, I have to stay back at work, my husband takes care of home and our baby. At times, my parents or my in-laws or a domestic help pitch in. It is important to have a supportive family to manage long hours during releases.
It was good to see positive vibes in their replies. But statements like ‘I have to work twice as hard and smart as men to prove myself ‘ indicates that the battle isn’t over yet.
If you notice closely, most replies have the word ‘family’ in it.
It is true that…
With one hand, women rock the cradle and with other, they rule the world.
Ladies – Rock and Rule!
Let us start a dialogue on how to make the IT world better for women software professionals. Post your thoughts below.