Women in Tech: How I got here and how to survive being in a male-dominated workforce

Women in Tech: How I got here and how to survive being in a male-dominated workforce

I was a speaker at my (all girls) high school Career Day. Here's my slides if you want to share them with any other young women.

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Danielle Leong

March 27, 2014
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Transcript

  1. 1.

    WOMEN IN TECH How to get there and what to

    expect Wednesday, March 26, 14
  2. 2.

    HI, I’M DANIELLE I’m a front end web developer. Wednesday,

    March 26, 14 Hi, I’m Danielle Leong. I’m a front end web developer living in San Francisco.
  3. 3.

    We’re a telephone API. We make phones work. With code.

    Wednesday, March 26, 14 I currently work at Twilio, which is a software and cloud-based communications API platform in downtown San Francisco. If you’ve ever gotten a text reminder from your dentist or called your bank and used the phone tree to talk to a specific department - that could be powered by Twilio.
  4. 4.

    Wednesday, March 26, 14 Here’s a recent example of a

    project I worked on. I built this page using HTML, SCSS which renders into CSS, jQuery, Javascript, and PHP. It also pulls in a JSON file from the Jobscore API to dynamically populate the jobs listings at the bottom of the page.
  5. 5.

    Wednesday, March 26, 14 Here’s a recent example of a

    project I worked on. I built this page using HTML, SCSS which renders into CSS, jQuery, Javascript, and PHP. It also pulls in a JSON file from the Jobscore API to dynamically populate the jobs listings at the bottom of the page.
  6. 6.

    HOW IT HAPPENED Wednesday, March 26, 14 I graduated from

    Mercy B in 2005 and went to UC Irvine where I studied Sociology and Business Management. I graduated in 2009 and started working as an online copywriter. I eventually decided this wasn’t for me and tried my hand at some data analysis before discovering I don’t like spreadsheets. I also did some SEM as well, until one day a client of ours asked for a website. Since I had taken computer science classes in high school, I volunteered. I eventually managed a team of 5 web designers and copywriters who maintained 80 websites. When I got laid off, I decided to take that time to learn how to really code. I studied every day for 2 months and eventually landed a job at Twilio as the company’s first female engineer.
  7. 7.

    CAN ANYONE DO THIS? Wednesday, March 26, 14 So can

    anyone just change careers and learn how to code? Well, yes and no. If you’re a hard- working individual who is smart and motivated, you can do anything. I was fortunate that I found the right job listing at the right job who was willing to take a chance on me as a new engineer. I am still learning every day and wish that I had taken more computer science classes in college. I have heard both good and bad things about coding bootcamps - they tend to be more focused on projects and not integrating into an established code base.
  8. 8.

    HOW TO SURVIVE in a male-dominated field Wednesday, March 26,

    14 For the next part of this talk, I’m going to tell you some things that I wish someone had told me when I first started working in a male-dominated field.
  9. 9.

    Fake it til you make it 1. BEWARE OF IMPOSTOR

    SYNDROME Wednesday, March 26, 14 First of all, beware of impostor syndrome. Impostor syndrome is where you constantly feel like a fraud. You believe that you got your job on sheer luck and one day everyone is going to find out that you’re not as smart or capable as they believe you are. Here’s a secret: everybody feels like this. It took me a year and a half to finally feel comfortable with my technical skills and I still battle impostor syndrome on a regular basis. The best advice here is to fake it til you make it. Just know that everyone feels like this and if you pretend like you belong, one day you will.
  10. 10.

    2. NEGOTIATE meritocracy is a lie. Wednesday, March 26, 14

    Salary negotiation is not something that is commonly talked about. What no one tells you is that when you’re offered a position, you are expected to negotiate, so the offer is typically lower than what they are expecting to eventually pay you. Do your research before accepting the offer. Companies like Glassdoor make it very easy to see what a person with your relative skillset in your city is making. Use that and negotiate your salary to what you think it should be. Meritocracy is a lie. You will not get paid based on your hard work. You will get paid on what you ask for and what you’re valued for. If you negotiate, it should be based on your worth as a human being in your relative skillset. Negotiation is also not based on greed. It is telling people that you value yourself as a hard worker. Just pretend like you’re negotiating on behalf of your friend. Is she a hard worker? Then why would she be shortchanged on what she deserves to earn?
  11. 11.

    3. KNOW YOUR BOUNDARIES Never compromise what’s important. Ever. Wednesday,

    March 26, 14 Never ever compromise on your values and rights as a human being. [Story about Kevin] You will encounter sexism in the workforce. It’s sad but true. Unfortunately, guys still think that they have a right over you because you’re female. DO NOT LET THEM. Stand up for what is right, or get out of there. Don’t ever devalue yourself as a human being for the sake of a job.
  12. 12.

    4. MAKE LADY FRIENDS Don’t hate. Appreciate. Wednesday, March 26,

    14 Make friends and allies, not enemies. Make female mentors. Mentor other women. Don’t compete with one another simply because you’re female, but make allies with one another because you need to.
  13. 13.

    5. KNOW THE CULTURE Wednesday, March 26, 14 Know what

    you’re getting into. Research the companies you’re applying to. Do the founders have children? Do they have good morales. Do they treat their employees as valuable assets? Are there many women in management? Ask the female interviewers what it’s like to work there. If you get a bad feeling, then don’t work there.
  14. 14.

    SUMMARY •Beware of impostor syndrome. •Negotiate. For your self-worth and

    for others. •Know your boundaries. Never compromise. •Make lady friends. They’re important. •Know the culture. Wednesday, March 26, 14