We interviewed Stephanie Mifsud, Software Engineer at Hotjar on her experience and thoughts on women in tech.
1. What does your job role involve?
I’m a software engineer, I write code, mostly for web applications which ingest some kind of data and display it in a way which gives value to the user.
2. What made you choose a career in technology?
I always liked to know how things worked under the hood, so computers were very interesting to me growing up.
3. Did you study an IT or technology related subject at A-Level or University?
4. Did you get any work experience in IT or technology before this role?
Yes, I started off by teaching lower end IT courses while I studied during my University years, then I got an internship as a developer in a local company.
5. Do you think there is a lack of females in the IT and tech sector?
6. Do you find there is a stereotype that a career in IT or technology is just for men?
Growing up I never felt this. No one suggested that I was doing something which should be done by men. At university there were similar fields like engineering where the female count was also considerably lower than the male.
7. What would entice women to study technology related courses?
I think women historically tend to choose careers whereby the skills are directly translatable/compatible to family life – teaching, nursing, admin.
Understanding the role that technology plays in our life should make the study of technology more attractive. Many technology applications today have extensive and visible impact in improving people’s lives and day to day experiences, this alone makes it a desirable area to study in.
8. Are there barriers when it comes to women getting into tech?
I was lucky to have had early role models. My first computing teacher in school had worked as a programmer before going into teaching, so for me it seemed doable to aim for that myself.
I think the barriers are the same for any male dominated environment, a female needs to ‘prove’ her worth – that she can do the job as well as her male counterparts. I’ve seen this changing for the better along the years, especially in international companies where there is awareness, but it’s definitely not the case everywhere.
9. How could we encourage more women to start a career in tech?
We need to start from children: give them exposure to different fields early through play. If they imagine it, they can achieve it. This also applies to other roles and genders, not just technology.
10. What advice would you give young women today at the start of their career?
Be like a sponge to continually absorb the rapid changes in technology, however you can never be on top of everything, so you cannot tie your success to the feeling that you know enough.
Always try to find the root cause of a problem or requirement. Strive to understand why you are taking a particular approach. Understand the building blocks of the system and don’t maintain parts which are not necessary.
Find people who are better than you and learn from them. If it is not clear what your next career step is, find a mentor from the field you are interested in, to guide you.