Any other women out there struggling to stay technical in your career?

Carbon FNNR37
Nov 22, 2019 351 Comments

I've been struggling to do so due to factors like people not believing in me (having to prove people wrong just to burn out and still not getting projects), and just in general working at startups that just need to figure out jobs definitions.

Looking for any advice on how to successfully stay technical even if you're not given the projects, or what you did to stay in your role and change the dynamic!

Edit: Thanks everyone for the multitude of perspectives! I’m feeling more empowered. I’ve had only a short career so far but I’ve been burnt out so many times already and it’s hard not to feel like I should just give up.

Obviously based on the comments, this post would apply to anyone and the main question is still to get advice on if and when you recognize you’re stuck, woman, man, minority, rich, poor, etc.

I’m in hardware with a so I’ve also held myself back because job hunting is a process for my field and I really really wanted this place to work out.

Thanks everyone 🙏


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TOP 351 Comments
  • Zillow Group g6u7PY
    This has nothing to do with you being woman. We are all in the same struggle.
    Nov 22, 2019 29
    • New / Eng fckugys
      Actually @Zillow, you have no idea if her situation has to do with her being a woman or not. Your and others’ situations may be caused by different things. I’m sure she gets enough ‘splaining from people like you and is looking for actual advice.
      Nov 23, 2019
    • LinkedIn lipuy
      I would like to listen to more women’s perspectives about their experiences. I for one want to grow my awareness and be mindful when I encounter such situations.

      For me the problem is not that sexism exists, it is more around the acceptance by men that it does. So it will help spreading awareness through examples and experiences.
      Nov 24, 2019
  • Microsoft happy!
    I am woman in Tech, 15+ of experience, Principal IC role in MS.
    To your question how to stay technical (gender does not matter):
    - Have a goal of technology area your going deep in next 6-12 month. Every week have a goal of what you’re doing to reach the bigger goal: read book X, continue online course, contribute to open source project and etc.
    - Let your manager know of your area of interest is. If it a aligns at least a bit with what team does — do brounbag talks about what your have learned
    - Get mentor
    - Do not get drowned into the victim mindset (I am not getting X because of X: gender, race, age...). Work hard and be unstoppable.
    - If you manger is a jerk — leave.
    Nov 23, 2019 8
    • Microsoft bing0
      Thank you so much for this. It’s not just about gender, it’s really about the individual. Men and women face this same issue and we shouldn’t play the victim mindset because we would already see ourselves on the losing side. Put In your best and push through.
      Nov 24, 2019
    • Moody's Fkdw85
      I can't agree more on victim mindset part. But instead of gender or racial issue , I tend to have victim mindset because of Visa . Probably because of negative visa experiences that people post in Facebook, I developed this victim mindset. It eats up my mind way too much . But I am sure things will get better in sometime.
      Nov 24, 2019
  • Google rbtrnndsnw
    Hey, I so have 4 YOE and woman here. One thing that helps me tremendously is having friends around who embrace being a woman and create deep connections. I try to get out of my comfort zone and reach out to people, most of us women are so shy around forging new friendships so you gotta just be the one to do it. I love the book P*ssy-: a reclamation by Regina Thomasauer. I was literally laughing out loud reading this book when I found it in a bookstore. I regularly practice these tools with other women. This book helps give me tools to stay in my pleasure through the work day and process all kinds of emotions and to have fun no matter what.

    I have all kinds of bad days with the guys around at work, and some isolation feelings related to gender. But it becomes minuscule when my heart is alive and I’m connected with other women.

    I’d appreciate no trolls to this comment or trying to argue with my stance. Thanks.
    Nov 22, 2019 10
    • Clover Health 🤖beepboop
      Nov 23, 2019
    • Facebook cochococho
      You dont have to deal with trolls. You can just ignore them.
      Nov 23, 2019
  • Amazon WDKx08
    I am a woman, sr PMT, i did coding too earlier my career, got promotions many times in life, i think this mentality should stop at this point-When something is not working as expected why does it has to come to gender to blame-instead see what skills you could do adopt or change for bettet-stop blaming cause I am woman, thats a problem or culture woman are only creating- if you dont stop discriminating in your mind, how do u expect others to do it-also men go through lot BS too, i myself has seen same mistake if I do, my manager is polite or dont punish vs male collegues.. Stop this men-women bullshit...stop using feminism when convenient.
    Nov 23, 2019 8
    • Facebook ronniel
      I am not saying some people are sexist. 1 out of 10 is not that bad.

      Btw the worst manager I have ever had was a woman who really hated men. Was not my opinion, other people thought the same (including women). After a year she lost her 20 people team and never lead people anymore.

      I never changed my opinion about this bad experience just because she was a woman. She , as a person, was bad. I have had women as manager after her. Never will change my opinion for her.
      Nov 23, 2019
    • EPAM Systems john woker
      Saw couple if examples when women hired only women even spent on it 2-3x time . Does it harrassment ? I guess so . This topic anyway is overhitted in the modern world
      Nov 23, 2019
  • Deloitte IVhsy625b
    ^^ I disagree with Zillow. "Having to prove people wrong just to burn out and still not getting projects"... I proved that I can code once and have been coding ever since. A lot of it probably has to do with OP's company environment but I doubt a guy would be facing exactly what she is facing at her company.
    Nov 22, 2019 7
    • Tesla / Eng shotgun1
      Coding is one thing, architectural knowledge and building efficient systems is a totally different thing. Developing architectural knowledge and experience is tougher because you learn a lot of this only by doing and failing a few times. Or by having proper guidance in an established company.

      In start-ups, due to high pressure to deliver quickly, the leadership might provide bigger chunks of work to people who already have this experience rather than learn through mistakes because they cannot afford to make mistakes that have already been made. Start-ups need to make newer mistakes not the same old ones.
      Also life isn't something where you prove once then you are golden for life. You are a professional, which means you constantly prove yourself at consistently top levels.

      There is always learning involved all the time, technical or non-technical skills. Find the gaps that the company needs and try to plug those gaps through your work. That's how you grow in your career.

      As mentioned earlier, ask questions, communicate, and arrive with a positive outlook every day to work and you will gradually see a difference over the next few months
      Nov 23, 2019
    • Coinbase g0569
      @Zillow, at Google, women with more experience are leveled lower than men, and then managers, probably out of guilt and because they are doing better then the men in the same level (because they have more experience), give them more cash comp. There were articles that came out about this when Google’s initial report was release, calling out how misleading it was. Getting more cash bonus short-term does not make up for the long-term loss of equity, career growth, management opportunities, etc. These women was probably losing millions of dollars over their lifetime relative to men at the same experience level, competence. The men I know who usually get it are the ones who have wives, mothers, and daughters in tech experiencing the same thing. It’s a shitty feeling to know that your family could be so much better off if there was equity in tech.

      @Zillow, you should recognize that your logic is flawed. OP is experiencing something you’ll never experience. When a black person gets targeted by police for just existing, there are always those white folks who’ll respond by saying, “oh, but white people get targeted by police too!!” as if they know what it’s like to be a black person. Dude, don’t do that.
      Nov 23, 2019
  • Microsoft Bubernetes
    Why do you need people to believe in you? This is why women get a bad reputation, believe in yourself and get it done because you want it, not because anyone else wants it or does or does not believe in you.

    Be assertive and don’t make someone else’s support or guidance determine where you go, decide for yourself, there are Diversity and Inclusion initiatives at every major tech company to support women in tech, if you are not getting this from your company maybe look elsewhere.

    I’m sorry but in 2019 in the world of tech, nobody is going to believe a respectable company is going to discourage women who legitimately want to be more technical from doing so because they are a woman, it is 100% opposite. Being a woman today is your advantage, so use it.
    Nov 23, 2019 12
    • New / Eng codequeen
      @wheelsmith about the networking part of what you said - it is true that all of my women friends are not developers and that I cannot talk to them about this part of my life. That does cause for less people to bounce ideas off of... however, I research and keep up on technology more than some of my male counterparts. That’s just simply because I’m so passionate about what I do and love learning as much as I can about it. So I don’t really think the networking aspect is the cause, I think it’s more of what I stated in my previous comment about not being what is considered a “safe” bet on what a software engineer looks like.

      I will say that it does kinda suck when you befriend your teammates and then find out they all met up after work without inviting you... because they’re all married men and feel inviting a woman out isn’t right. It doesn’t happen all the time, but a male on my team feels much more comfortable asking another male on the team to meet up for a beer than he does me for that reason. Which I get and understand... it’s just harder to have that outside of work relationship sometimes.
      Nov 26, 2019
    • New / Eng fckugys
      @Bubernetes Here is a history lesson for you. Your comment “there has not been women in tech historically” is 100% wrong:

      When I started working, half my team was women. It stayed that way until after the Dotcom Bust. Now is a good time for women to *enter* tech. It’s still not a level playing field for women who are already in it.
      Nov 27, 2019
  • Snapchat / Eng Romantico
    I'm a guy but had a female technical mentor who is a great engineer. I asked her what's her secret and she said that for her it was about deep technical knowledge. She has very deep technical knowledge about things that others don't dare to look at. She would know how common libraries are implemented and the assumptions about the architecture. And she keeps learning and, specially, experimenting. She's also very respected and so she hangs out with great engineers too.
    Nov 22, 2019 5
    • Tesla / Eng shotgun1
      This! From Roku is 1000% right. If you love your work, and go deep into it you will eventually shine. Sure the path initially might be hard but focus on the work in itself rather than distracting your mind with 'visibility' or oh my teammate hangs out with my manager for lunch and so they are good friends and that is why I'm being ignored etc.

      The great thing about work that people seem to miss is that if you deliver results then they HAVE to take notice. If your work delivers $$$ or achieves an org goal then that in itself is a win and it will show up
      Nov 23, 2019
    • Marin Software xOCX31
      Im woke. Women do have to work twice as hard
      Nov 23, 2019
  • Amazon pfchangs
    It's all about talent at the end of the day. It really has nothing to do with gender in the way you are describing. I am not saying there are no differences at work from the perspective of each gender, but I have seen both genders excel when there was talent. And I have also seen people use their gender, race, socio-economic background, parents, etc. to put blame on why they haven't been successful.
    Nov 23, 2019 7
    • Amazon pfchangs
      @Jess, did you ignore the rest of my point just to make an obvious statistical observation?
      Nov 26, 2019
    • Docker / Eng nyancat321
      @pfchangs I’m with you on this point. I’ve seen too many diversity hires (hired not based on talents, or lack of, but based on minority status), and they keep blaming the environment instead of identifying their own struggles, calling it “burnt out status”. My response would be “🙄”. Just like you’ve pointed out: we each have our own struggle. Deal with it!!! So sick of hearing women complaining about work place inequality. How about we: work first, then talk about our differences? BTW, I am a woman in tech. Also, sick of seeing/hearing all those women in tech bs talk.
      Nov 27, 2019
  • Micro Focus

    Micro Focus

    HPE, Suntrust, Citrix Systems, IBM, DELTA, Unisys
    As a female in a technical role for over 30 years, I have become increasingly frustrated with IT in general and just want out. I have had all of the things you bring up happen over the years and now I'm looking for a totally different career path. I would say to stay current on technology and volunteer for additional and challenging tasks, always be on the lookout for your next role as NO ONE will look out for you but you. Find what you love doing the most and if not there, find a way to get there. I think I enjoyed my first role out of school better than most any I've had, but technology changed and I had to as well or gotten left behind. I'm not doing what I love and I regret it every day...don't be me...and, btw, women have to work twice as hard for half the recognition, it's a failing we need to work on reversing and hopefully you and your generation will be able to do so! Good luck!
    Nov 22, 2019 3
    • Broadridge / Eng sartorius
      Totally agree with this!
      Nov 22, 2019
    • Carbon FNNR37
      Thank you for sharing your story!! I know I won't give up just yet. And much agreed with rbtrnndsnw. I know it's still much easier now for me thanks to all of you who didn't give up before
      Nov 22, 2019
  • Microsoft / IT gabrielite
    As a black guy in tech, I’m appalled but not surprised by the fact that most guys commenting here have no clue where this question is coming from. It takes some serious empathy and self awareness to be able to relate with the experience of being a woman in tech and I encourage folks to pause, take a deep breathe and genuinely seek to understand.

    That said this is what I’d do if I were in your shoes:
    From what you’ve said about your opinions not taken seriously it sounds like the folks you work with have a low level of gender consciousness. Come up with a case and report this to your HR department. That said it’s up to you to pick a battle of whether you want to burn yourself out proving that you’re capable or if you trust your abilities but feel undervalued, start looking at other teams/companies immediately, making sure to ask specific questions that let you evaluate how they perceive your abilities in relation to your gender. Life is too short to be stuck with narrow minded people. Goodluck!!
    Nov 23, 2019 1
    • New rExy27
      As a black guy in tech, I advice you to move on from a bad situation and look for a better team with a better fit. Somewhere with people who either don’t make race/gender a issue or can be bluntly truthful about any race/gender issues.

      The manager I had who seemed to look down on black people in general (culturally) also gave me the most opportunity to move up eventually making me the team lead.

      So i guess the advice is try to find a place where you either don’t have these issues or where people are responsive to you calling them out.

      It really sucks to have to question your identity when doing work. It makes it hard to figure out if your work or your identity is the issue. You only have control over one.

      I encourage you to focus on the things you can control.
      Nov 23, 2019


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