The stereotypical male coder facade has been, slowly, fading away for some time now. And yet, despite this arduous climb, STEM is still heavily male-dominated. In fact, only 26% of computing-related jobs are held by women, and in most companies, the ratio of men to women in engineering is 5:1. Women in tech have overcome obstacles such as a lack of role models and isolation to be where they are. They have proven their mettle long before arriving at your company.
In commemoration of International Women in Engineering Day, we reached out to six female engineers at Procore to compile some of their experiences working in tech, and share advice and ideas for how we can shape a better future for those who are planning to pursue careers in STEM – science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
To the future female engineers of tomorrow—we welcome you to the Women in Technology (WIT) community. The journey ahead of you might often feel lonely. It will take courage and tenacity to aim high, but you are not doing this alone and we want to help inspire you to persevere in your professional endeavors.
Find resilience through rejection
“Landing your first full-time job will likely be one of the biggest obstacles you will face in your career. Don't be discouraged by the rejection you may experience upfront. Instead, learn from every interview and coding challenge. Persevere knowing this is your passion, this is something you’re really good at, and this is what you’re meant to do.” – Sam Holmes, Senior Software Engineer
Believe in your ability to succeed
“Your own personal growth is not a competition with others’ personal growth.” – Crystal Ophaso, Senior QA Engineer
“There will always be someone who knows more than you and there’s always more to learn. Don’t let that dull the progress you’ve made. The skills you bring to the table speak more than anything else.” – Kaitlin Jaffe, Senior Software Engineer
Don't be afraid to make mistakes and take risks
“Take on that ticket that intimidates you. Take on a leadership role (no matter how small). That's how you learn and grow.” – Sam Holmes, Senior Software Engineer
“It’s okay to fail sometimes or ask a “stupid” question.” – Crystal Ophaso, Senior QA Engineer
“Don’t equate not knowing an answer with feeling like you don’t belong. You are not inadequate. You are well equipped to do the job.” – Rachel Arkebauer, Senior Site Reliability Engineer
"No problem is unsolvable if you take the time to learn it.” – Michelle Mei Ling Waldorf, Software Engineering Manager
Build a strong support system
“Find supportive leadership and mentorship to help set you up for success. Having someone give you challenging, meaningful projects and then advocate for you and your work is invaluable.” – Rachel Arkebauer, Senior Site Reliability Engineer
“Find a friend who knows programming or a meetup to go to and just ask for help when you are stuck. Most people are happy to help out when asked.” – Kaitlin Jaffe, Senior Software Engineer
“Lean on your family for support, mentorship, and stability.” – Ripple Goyal, Principal Software Engineer, Data and Analytics
Embrace change without resistance
“Technology is changing more rapidly than ever and you need to adapt to change as easily as possible. So if a new tech stack looks promising, then just jump right in and try it out!” – Michelle Mei Ling Waldorf, Software Engineering Manager
“Ask for a raise. Ask for a promotion. Ask for a job transfer. All of those things can profoundly impact your life—the worst they can say is no.” – Crystal Ophaso, Senior QA Engineer
Give and be receptive to feedback
“Feedback will help challenge the way you think about and design code. It will propel your career forward insurmountably.” – Sam Holmes, Senior Software Engineer
“Know when to take a step back and listen to/learn from others. Being able to share experiences and perspectives is a powerful learning opportunity.” – Rachel Arkebauer, Senior Site Reliability Engineer
Be a Groundbreaker
“Forge your own path on what being a woman engineer looks like.” – Kaitlin Jaffe, Senior Software Engineer
“Don’t be intimidated by organizations and teams that heavily skew male. There's a notorious lack of diversity in tech. Use your position to have uncomfortable discussions and help pave the way for underrepresented groups.” – Rachel Arkebauer, Senior Site Reliability Engineer
“Open the doors of opportunity and set up others with a support system to keep them on the path to success. Talk to them through the periods of self-doubt and uncertainty so that they can enjoy the eventual success of becoming a professional Engineer. Make the time to assist coworkers so that their work shines and offer encouraging words so that they can gain or maintain a positive perspective on their work.” – Michelle Mei Ling Waldorf, Software Engineering Manager
“Help attract the younger generation by showing them the amazing possibilities technology brings. Start a dialog or safe space to break the ceiling and biases.” – Ripple Goyal, Principal Software Engineer, Data and Analytics
Lastly, never let gender play a role in making a decision in any aspect of your life
“There is no difference in how you work vs how your male colleagues work. You are able to perform just as efficiently as any of your male colleagues. Be confident in yourself and understand your worth. You can do anything and be anyone you want.” – Sam Holmes, Senior Software Engineer
“If you don't enjoy what you do, you will not be good at it. Choose what makes you happy and bring that creativity in your work whether it is in technology or something else.” – Ripple Goyal, Principal Software Engineer, Data and Analytics
We hope the advice and experience shared here will be helpful to all current and future female engineers, and welcome additional ideas and thoughts that can be added to this post in the Comments section.Please feel free to share.
Procore is currently expanding our Engineering teams, and we’d like to hear from you! See job openings here.