We interviewed Emina Cholich, Principal Developer at Auto Trader on her thoughts and experience on women in tech.
As a member of the Customer Tools tribe, I write code and troubleshoot incidents as well as provide technical leadership within the estate that serves Auto Trader’s commercial customers. I also help with the hiring process and coach early careers and other less senior developers.
I’m afraid mine is a predictable origin story – I loved maths in school and by recommendation of my maths teacher I joined a coding club. It became fairly obvious even to my muddled teenage mind that I enjoy programming and am not half bad at it. I followed with a Computer Science course at uni and have been having a rewarding career since.
I was lucky to graduate during the time of elevated need for software developers in the dot-com boom of the late 90s . While I did not get the benefits of a graduate programme like the ones available these days, I was afforded some great opportunities. I have been in various engineering roles for over 20 years now, each one providing me with rich experiences and interesting challenges.
Research unequivocally shows that improving diversity improves organisation’s results. What I believe is important is not to simply recruit more women in the IT sector to improve those stats but to demonstrate that women are presented with equal opportunities for professional growth and career advancement.
I think that up until few years back that was definitely the case. But I am very encouraged by the buzz as of late. The topic of gender-specific jobs went from something about which we in non-traditional roles grumbled to each other, to something discussed and challenged on an international scale.
Ensuring that girls are offered equal representation as they first encounter technology topics and that those topics are taught in a way that appeals to them.
I think that barriers exist for women getting into any of the STEM disciplines. Undoing this injustice to generations of girls and women will take a while and responsibility to do so lies with all of us – from parents and educators to STEM professionals of all genders.
Remind that any career is an option regardless of one’s gender – while traditionally female jobs are a perfectly valid choice, there is so much more out there, everyone should find their own path.
Raise awareness of how rewarding a career in IT can be and how it can provide for flexible work/life blends.
Ensure that this profession provides for equal treatment, pay and advancement opportunities for technologists of all genders.
Despite some level of job title standardization in the industry, every role is different. Look for one that’s your best match, including the company’s dedication to gender balance and equality and availability of positive role models.