Category Archives: tech

Woman in Tech of the Week: Christina Burger

Woman in Tech of the Week: Christina Burger

Name: Christina Burger

Designation: Senior Software Engineer

Company: Derivco

What do you do every day? I’m currently working in a team at Derivco that focuses on tools and frameworks that support our game development studios, so they can work as effectively as possible. I have a love-hate relationship with JavaScript and front-end web development. I also enjoy dabbling with other languages and experimenting with new technologies. The best part of my day is if I can either learn something new or teach someone else something new. We have a great working environment, where we work in cross functional teams with experts in different fields such as art, music and testing.

How did you get into the tech space? I started playing games with my brother when I was young and really enjoyed it. What interested me most was how the games were made, so I knew I wanted to become a game developer. My family encouraged me to pursue any career I wanted. During my studies, I often felt I would never become a “real developer”. However, as I started working my confidence grew, and I realised I have a passion for software engineering. Now I can’t imagine working in any other industry.

What was the best advice anyone ever gave you? You do you! There is no one else who can ever be you as well as you can, and you will never do well if you try to be someone else. Try to accept the little things that irritate you about yourself. Find something that you enjoy and do well, and then do that thing until you don’t enjoy it anymore. Remember to add a healthy dose of new things and new experiences. The person who cares most about your happiness and success is you. Don’t focus on what others are doing, and try to measure yourself against your own goals and dreams.

What advice would you given someone wanting to get into the tech sector? Stop trying to be perfect, and start being brave. Go out and apply for the job you really want, or ask someone to be your mentor, or sign up for a course. Remember that imposter syndrome is a real thing. When you assume everyone knows more than you do, you don’t realise that they probably assume the same about you.  Always be willing to learn and admit when you don’t know something. That’s the only way to get better at anything you do.

What motivates you to get out of bed everyday? Coffee! And working with colleagues who’ve turned into friends.  But also coffee.

Who do you want to be when you grow up? Is crazy cat lady not a good goal to aim for? My team has started calling me “Auntie Bob” in reference to “Uncle Bob”, so I suppose my professional idol is Robert C. Martin. But there are so many people I can learn from every day. I would be happy if I could continue working in software development and help build a diverse and inclusive community in technology.

Twitter: @pypmannetjies

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/christienkroeze/

How to increase women in tech

How to increase women in tech

Women are underrepresented not only in tech leadership and professional positions but also in most online forums. Here are six ways to raise awareness of opportunities in the tech sector and grow female engagement with online services, forums and tech jobs.

Education

Girls have frequently been steered away from STEM subjects and towards artistic, literary and administrative-type education. Increasing access to tech education early and throughout girls’ education, as well as encouraging them in that path, is a good first step. Outside the classroom, hackathons, boot camps, and workshops offer accessible, fun and social learning environments.

Visibility

Technology companies can market themselves directly to women as potential employees and customers. Women outnumber men on most social media, and are more highly engaged. Companies can raise the visibility of jobs or products on social media, even targeting content to women, either by design or through paid advertising targeting. Video maker software from Biteable can be used to create attractive and appealing multimedia content and take advantage of the algorithmic benefit of video on social channels such as Facebook.

Rewards

Tech sector jobs tend to offer better compensation, benefits and perks than other professional roles. Highlight the rewards when targeting job ads to women, and review your compensation, benefits and perks for gender equality. Consider whether benefits or perks are unevenly distributed by gender and adjust if necessary. Women, like men, trade their skills for rewards that meet their needs or appeal to them. Find the right reward, and you’ll increase the female to male employee ratio.

Flexibility

Not all women are mothers or caregivers, or will ever experience those demands on their time, but there is a statistical preference for flexibility at work in both hours and location. This fits with a wider employee preference for flexibility and more reasonable work hours with less overtime. Nevertheless, offering remote work, less than full-time hours, the ability to work a flexible schedule, and making it clear that constant overtime is neither required nor expected can make tech jobs more attractive to women, as well as to men.

Network

Relationships and mentorship help women find jobs in the tech sector and grow in their careers. Progress is being made, with formal incubators, professional speed dating, boot camps, clubs and academies with built-in chances to connect, and professional organisations to foster support among women professionals in tech. Companies can get involved by sponsoring these organisations, and by encouraging and supporting staff to get involved in networking and mentorship opportunities.

Purpose

Reframe your business in terms of what problems you solve, who you help, and what your mission is. Women, and a growing contingent of men, are motivated by work that will be appealing, challenging and meaningful. Identify your core values and purpose, and use storytelling in advertising, job postings and social media to communicate these. Video is an ideal format for capturing an inspiring story and making an emotional argument.

We can grow the proportion of women in tech through a multidimensional approach that increases and improves access to education, networking and mentorship, and reframing career opportunities to meet the needs of a wider pool of candidates.

Author: Sophie Irons

Woman in Tech of the Week: Sam Beckbessinger

Woman in Tech of the Week: Sam Beckbessinger

Name: Sam Beckbessinger
Designation: Writer, Money Dork, Entrepreneur
Company: Phantom Design

What do you do every day?
I am trying to build a world where money isn’t a complex, opaque thing, but is something that we all understand and can use to fund our most audacious dreams. I wrote a book about this, called Manage Your Money Like a F*cking Grownup, and I run a company that helps to build apps and tools that make finances easier to deal with. We’ve built everything from smart credit cards to apps that show you where your money is going to cryptocurrency exchanges, and more.

How did you get into the tech space?
In my heart, I’m a writer, which means that I am fascinated by human beings and how we’re making the world. I started out writing about tech, and then realized that it would be more fun to also start making some tech products of my own.

What was the best advice anyone ever gave you?
The stuff that makes you weird is what gives you the power to change the world. Not everyone’s going to like your weirdness, and that’s fine.

What advice would you given someone wanting to get into the tech sector?
Tech is about building a new vision of what the future can look like. It’s far too important to leave to only one narrow type of person. Don’t assume you need to have studied computers at university or have been a gamer since you were 5 to have a successful tech career; you just need to pick a project you care about and start making something. We need people with a background in the humanities, in social science, in biology, in business, in ethics… in everything. We need you: come and join us!

What motivates you to get out of bed everyday?
My cat sitting on my face and demanding to be fed. But also, my work is really fun, so getting out of bed is easy.

Who do you want to be when you grow up?
No idea. Only boring people make long-term career plans.

Twitter: @beckbessinger
Website: http://likeafuckinggrownup.com/
Blog: https://medium.com/@greenhamsam
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/sambeckbessinger
FB: https://www.facebook.com/likeagrownup/

Do you know an inspirational women in tech? Please get in touch with Robyn (robyn@kato.global) to get her featured!

Do you want to sponsor Women in Tech ZA (our research, website and events around South Africa)? Please get in touch with Robyn (robyn@kato.global).

Do you want to advertise to the  Women in Tech ZA network? Please get in touch with Robyn (robyn@kato.global).

Bernelle Verster

Woman in Tech of the Week – Bernelle Verster

Name: Bernelle Verster
Designation: Water Maverick, Shit Stirrer
Company: indiebio
What do you do every day?
Writing, mostly. Sometimes growing things – bacteria, algae, plants, fungi, animals (like flies, worms). I am trying to learn how to play with hardware like Arduino and getting better at data driven visualization to help communicate my work.

I work in beneficiation of diffuse pollution through biology. This includes wastewater treatment, but I’m also moving into urban waterbodies like urban estuaries. I like interfaces, connecting the dots to fill in the gaps. So much of my time is spent translating between what, for example, engineers say and what ecologists say and try to find a way that both can be accommodated. Or, what the public perceives and try to communicate all the trade-offs and complexities. At the moment I am trying to see how to coordinate bottom-up, DIY type behavior with the efficiency and economy of scale that engineers prefer but that comes with environmental trade-offs.

How did you get into the tech space?
I wanted to become a vet, but then fell in love with biochemistry in first year of university and stuck with that. Then I realized the cost of biotech is way too high and needed to learn some tech and engineering to make the biology work better. I’ve sortof just stumbled along with things, there wasn’t ever much direction or specific support.

What was the best advice anyone ever gave you?
Do what you can with what you have; and you will always be someone’s dog (in other words, don’t expect to come out ‘on top’ and then all your issues are over. That just doesn’t happen). The advice I never listened to was ‘it’s time you stop dreaming and get a proper job’.

What advice would you given someone wanting to get into the tech sector? Dream. Big, small, doesn’t matter, but don’t lose sight of reality. Prototype, play, fail fast. Look at what is – the current reality, even if it is uncomfortable. Ask the tough questions, listen to what people say. You don’t have to believe them, but they are coming from somewhere, interrogate what they say. Don’t underestimate the value of incremental change.

What motivates you to get out of bed everyday?
Frustration. Having a big goal is nice, but really it’s the frustration of ‘if only this small thing can work better!’ Generally I wake up thinking, I’m going to go at it from this angle, maybe that works today. I think the real value I add to society isn’t through my big dreams and passions, but the little itches and irritations I try to smooth out along the way. Connecting people who can help scratch 😉

Who do you want to be when you grow up?
A whole person. Not a whitewashed darling on a pedestal.

Twitter handle @indiebio
Website: indiebio.co.za
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/indiebio/

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