Boolean – Linlin Li, Student

We interviewed Linlin Li, a Student at Boolean on her thoughts and experiences on women in tech.

1. What are you currently doing for work or study?

I currently study Software Engineering full-time at Boolean and before that I was working as a Network Design Engineer.

2. What made you choose a career in technology?

As an engineering graduate, I have always been interested in technology. I am always curious about how technologies can be applied to re-envision our future. I was particularly interested in artificial intelligence and cloud computing therefore I chose to start my career at Inspur, a leading server company in China where I experienced cutting-edge technologies and worked under various sectors from product design to code and customer interfacing.

3. Did you study an IT or technology related subject at A-Level or University?

I studied several IT modules throughout secondary school and college then I pursued a bachelor’s degree in Thermal Engineering and then a master’s degree in Energy Engineering with Industrial Management. Overall I really enjoyed the technical modules.

4. Did you have any work experience in IT or technology before your current experience?

Yes, I worked in the IT Industry mainly, mainly around hardware for more than 2.5 years as a product assistant. I really enjoyed assessing the needs of the clients and resolving problems by providing ideal solutions for both parties. While working for a server company, I contributed to the AI Computing conference in 2019, where we demonstrated new servers which specialized in image recognition. I also worked in the telecommunication industry. I worked with product managers and clients closely to provide operation and business assistance and ensure good service standards.

5. Do you think there is a lack of females in the IT and tech sector?

Throughout my time working in the technology industry, I have had a few female colleagues but many, many more male colleagues. However, I also have many female friends in Software Engineering roles working for top IT companies, so I think the situation is at least improving!

6. Do you find there is a stereotype that a career in IT or technology is just for men?

From the outside, yes, I think there is a stereotype that IT is a man’s expertise. As a woman in the IT sector, however, I have never personally experienced or witnessed any discrimination based on gender. I am even seeing more and more women fulfilling high-level roles. My favourite example being Lisa Su, the CEO of AMD.

7. What would entice women to study technology related courses?

In general, the technology industry is considered as one of the most evolving and interesting areas to start a career in and STEM courses expose participants to real practice and intriguing theories. Right now, we are embracing industry 4.0. therefore, we can always have exposure to the most cutting-edge technologies, such as AI, the internet of things, blockchain and cloud computing, 5G, etc. Additionally, there is a growing demand for skilled workers in the technology industry and we can shape the world with our skills. Therefore, I think technology is always a great topic to study and build a career around.

8. Are there barriers when it comes to women getting into tech?

While many women may feel discouraged from pursuing a career in tech due to a lack of female role models in the past, I don’t think there are any actual barriers truly preventing them from doing it these days. There are even many opportunities that help women learn the necessary tech skills for free so that they can get a great head start!

9. How could we encourage more women to start a career in tech?

I think encouragement should start early on in a woman’s life. Schools should emphasize to their female students that they are equally as capable of working in the tech industry as boys. Many schools have started teaching programming in their IT classes and I think this is a great step in the right direction as it gives both boys and girls a chance to give it a try and see if they enjoy it.

10. What advice would you give young women today at the start of their career?

I would certainly recommend young women should not be stopped by any misconceptions due to unfamiliarity with what they want to do. They can always ask their seniors for career and study advice instead of underestimating themselves. There aren’t many things stopping us, the only 2 things stopping us are fear and lack of self-esteem.