By: Mira B, Sr Content Architect
I am a woman in Tech
I love coding. I started my adventure with programming a long time ago. Coding was a thing I wanted to do because I thought it would be awesome. I love the crisp elegance of the logic, and the thrill when suddenly all pieces of the puzzle are in the right spot and work together. I love solving problems and creating things that work.
After all these years I still love technology, now also because it constantly changes, evolves and never gets boring. It is a continuous joy of learning. Although skills from my early days no longer apply, they have helped me to advance and grow in ways I could never have imagined. Over and over again, technology presented new opportunities to grow and expand and it’s been a fascinating journey.
My experience is probably not that uncommon for many women in technology. We chose the tech path because we wanted it, not because we didn’t have any better idea or because it was an easy job that would pay the bills. It was a deliberate choice to pursue our passion, and as a result we are good at what we do.
I am an Architect
I am also Polish. I don’t want to be known as a Female Architect or a Polish Architect. I want to be known as a Good Architect. I don’t want my accomplishments to be attributed to my gender, the same way I don’t want them to be attributed to my ethnic background. My work should speak for itself and I shouldn’t have to talk to convince people that I’m good.
Except, outcomes of my work can’t explain themselves. Ideas in my head and my expertise can’t be shared without communication. One of the first lessons I learned was to not be afraid to use my voice and speak out with confidence, without second guessing everything I wanted to say.
Imagine being an introvert with an accent, and you’ll see a picture of what I had to overcome. There might be all kinds of other reasons why women don’t speak out, ranging from just shyness up to a fear of confrontation. Getting control of our fears and voicing our opinions means that we have strengths that can help us to deal with other challenges.
I grew within Cengage
I started my work at Cengage as a programmer. I was doing things I knew how to do when all of a sudden the new challenge of markup technologies emerged. I wasn’t afraid to lean into this uncharted territory. It was an excellent opportunity to learn something very new and very cool. But after a while the new wasn’t new anymore; technology evolved and Cengage evolved as well. It was time to leave my niche and face the new opportunities. It was time to grow beyond my comfort zone again.
Along with the technology change, the culture shifted as well, and that shift is probably more spectacular than the one in technology. Coders are no longer isolated from each other, working alone on a single piece of software and then throwing this piece over the proverbial wall. Problem solving is now a collaborative team effort and every member of the team can see a wider picture and the end-to-end implications of each decision.
Both these technical and cultural changes have made my journey in tech thrilling. However, the most exciting changes happen not when the outside world changes, but when somebody brings a creative viewpoint to the team and shows how it can change the status quo and make things better. The outcome of that can make our content better, can make our processes better or can make the lives of our customers better. Whatever it is – being part of such a team is extremely rewarding.
As women, we can change the world of Tech. Innovation and creativity thrives on diversity. We bring our individual perspectives and fresh ideas to the table. We bring unique solutions to old and new problems. We love problem solving and making the world better – and that’s what work in tech is all about.