The theme for International Women’s Day 2021 is “Choose to Challenge.” This especially resonates with our VECKTA team, as one of our core values is to always challenge limits, never accepting that something cannot be done solely because it hasn’t been done before.
Women are at the heart of the VECKTA team, driving innovation as we build the Energy Transition Marketplace. But women still face discrimination and obstacles in the tech industry. We spoke with some of our team about the issues women confront, as well as their advice for achieving success.
The relatively few women in leading roles in the industry can deter women from even considering jobs in tech, depriving women of great careers and cutting companies off from great talent. The underrepresentation of women in engineering can also create a sense of doubt, even in the most capable people.
Software engineer Mariana Cázares notes, “I have always questioned if I am the right fit, or if I’m smart enough. These questions arise for women in tech because there is rarely a female in leadership or senior positions. There are no women in my immediate network with a career like mine that I can look up to, since most women don’t grow up being encouraged to have a career in engineering.”
Front-end Developer Balay Aydemir agrees. “Because women have not historically been well-represented in tech, we have to break a lot of barriers and stereotypes to get ahead. Unfortunately when most people think of an “engineer,” they don’t immediately picture a woman. Although this can be intimidating or disheartening for some, I like to think of it as a challenge because I love proving people wrong.”
Women are also statistically much less likely to apply for a job unless they’re 100% qualified, compounding the issue. This can be tough to overcome, but, as Program Manager Sylvia Weiser encourages, “ Women should not be afraid to throw their hat in the ring for a role that has more requirements than their own experience.”
Always Learning, Always Growing
Challenging limits is a means, not an end. Mariana sees obstacles as opportunities to learn. “Be ready to be challenged and don’t be afraid to ask questions. Challenging your limits is what leads to growth. I try to challenge my limits by working on tasks that might not be in my comfort zone and asking for help if I get stuck.”
Balay echoes that need to continually learn and adapt. “Always be learning. I think that the most important skill to have as a software engineer is an unquenchable thirst for knowledge. Couple that with the right amount of grit/determination, and you have a recipe for success.”
Mentors can play a crucial role in the success of women in tech, providing valuable insight, knowledge, and guidance. Sylvia adds, “Do not be afraid to make mistakes, admit those mistakes, and learn from them—everyone is human.”
Watching Out For Others
Doing good work doesn’t always lead to well-deserved recognition. Women are often overlooked not because of underperforming, but because quiet excellence is not always noticed in some organizations.
As Sylvia observes, that’s where having someone in leadership advocating for you is invaluable. “Women get the job done, exceed goals and expectations, followed by the assumption that management, or decision makers are aware of successful outcomes. However, when it comes to retention, or promotions, women are often overlooked because they lack a sponsor watching out for them as they are humble in their own achievements.”
Advocating for your colleagues is an easy win-win for the company—elevating those big contributors who might go unnoticed empowers them and builds up the whole team.
Choose To Challenge
VECKTA is committed to equity and diversity, empowering our team to co-create the future of energy.
Balay embraces this personally and professionally. “Whether it’s in the gym trying to hit a new personal record or at work taking on a task or initiative that I have no prior experience with, I am always challenging my personal limits. Sure it can be scary sometimes, but if you’re not constantly trying to improve, then what really are you working towards?”
That’s challenging limits!