Take a peek into any developers’ meeting and you’ll probably see one or two women surrounded by a room full of men. What exactly is it that deters women from entering the tech sector? And how can we change this situation? In the context of our “Women in Tech” interviews, we asked six inspirational women just that. Kate Kujawa, Technical Architect at Emark, feels that the reason women are reluctant to enter the industry is that they think the job is only for men and they give up before they can even get started.
How did you discover your passion for tech?
Ever since I was a child I’ve loved looking at how processes depend on one another and discovering how things work. I was fascinated by maths, for example, and tried to find practical applications for it. Then, when I got my hands on a Commodore 64 for the first time, I knew that this was a way to use maths in the real world. During the next few years at high school I was taught the basics of programming and this for me was confirmation that tech was the right path.
Did you have a specific role model or mentor to motivate you along the way?
Not really. While I was studying and at work I had plenty of opportunities to meet amazing people who are both very engaged and have a great passion for tech. They have all motivated me to grow and acquire the knowledge I need.
We are producing these “Women in Tech” interviews because we believe more women should work in the industry. Can you tell us something about the balance between men and women in the tech industry? Is there a gender gap?
Yes there is. And I believe it’s because women think that this job is only for men and they give up on it before they can even get started. But, dear ladies, this is a job that you can do; and I’m the living proof. I’m sure that women can contribute substantially to the technology world. They only need to try. I think, I certainly hope so anyway, that telling stories like mine can motivate other women to give it a go.
Do you feel you are recognised for what you do on an equal footing with men? Can your voice be heard?
My goal is to always do the best I can, together with the whole team. Every person in the team has his or her own voice, responsibilities and unique experience. So, if you are asking me whether I feel heard as a woman, I’d have to say that I think the most important thing is personal skills, not gender. Maybe this is less common in other companies, but remember we’re at Emark.
Back to your career: what do you find exciting about your job as a Technical Architect?
The most exciting part of my current position is meeting lots of people from different areas of the industry and cooperating with them to solve our clients’ problems.
Have you ever made a mistake that you’d be willing to share with us?
My personal belief is that you don’t make mistakes as such; you gain experience through all that happens. If I could give one piece of advice it would be: don’t be afraid of making mistakes, learn from them and always concentrate on solving issues.
Have there been any difficult challenges you’ve had to overcome?
Yes, starting to use new technology, like becoming completely familiar with the world of Salesforce and understanding all its processes. Once I did that, I was able to use my experience from previous positions and technology.
What are the most important skills a woman should have if she wants to follow a career in tech?
In my opinion these are communication skills and detail orientation. And the best way to get better is to practise, practise and then practise some more!
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