International Women’s Day: Break The Bias

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To celebrate this year’s International Women’s Day theme #BreakTheBias, we spoke to several women from across the company who work in predominantly male-dominated roles. Below, Denise, Sarah and Jasleen share their insights about their roles, experiences and advice for women in their industries.

 

Encouraging more women to work in Development - Denise Lashlley, Senior Front-end Developer

My role at VIOOH is as a Senior Front-end Developer. This involves the development of web applications, which is where you take a design and make it into a fully functional web application. The front end is what users see from the interface, navigation and the general user experience. 

Throughout my career, I have rarely or perhaps never had other female colleagues in my team. Being the only female has meant there have been times where I have felt I’ve needed to prove myself by showing how well I work to be taken seriously. And there have even been times I have been assumed to be the Web Designer as opposed to the Web Developer due to my gender. 

I have been fortunate that these unconscious biases didn’t hold me back but I would like to help change the assumption that Developers are mainly male and encourage other women to explore the option of working in Development. My advice for people looking into these types of roles is to not be put off with the long list of requirements and if you don’t have all of the required skills and you’re willing to upskill, still apply; often you can learn on the job.

Additionally, if you are starting out - try to do online courses, small freelance projects, create a portfolio to get some hands-on experience and develop your skills further. Creating a Github account is also useful to demonstrate coding ability and to stand out from other candidates.

 

Trust you can make an impact - Sarah Jewitt, Technical Support Engineer

I started off my career working in business administration and then transitioned into technical support. My current role at VIOOH where am a Technical Support Engineer involves coordinating and implementing upcoming changes and providing training on, for example,reporting tools, migrations projects and critical incident processes.

As a woman who has worked in mainly male-dominated roles, one of the things I have had to overcome is when people have sought a male colleague's input over my own. This was something I found difficult at the start of my career and to overcome this, I ensured that I put myself forward on these occasions to show that I am just as capable.

My advice to anyone working in a role where they are the minority or where they feel they’re not being heard - is to trust that you make an impact, as everyone brings a new perspective and approach to the table which will make a team work better as a whole. And then my advice to those who are the majority in a work setting (or in any setting), is to take a step back and see if there is anyone in the team who might be being overlooked or feel like their voice isn't being heard, and support them by actively engaging them in the project or conversation.

 

Don’t hesitate to take the leap - Jasleen Kaur, Senior Product Business Analyst

I have worked in the programmatic ad tech space for the past eight years now. I decided to move from Commercial Account Management to Product Management - which was one of the best decisions I have made throughout my career, I love it! In my current role, I am responsible for delivering the demand-side product strategy and roadmap in co-operation with the development teams. 

I have been lucky to work with supportive colleagues throughout my career, especially at VIOOH who offer the opportunity to do hybrid working. As a working mum, this helps me in so many ways, such as being able to navigate my work alongside my family. 

As many of you know, tech and product teams tend to have fewer women in them across the industry but I would love to see more women in Product roles. If you’re looking to move into a Product focused role - my main advice is don’t hesitate on taking the leap and you do not have to have a technical background to work in Product. My advice to those who already work in Product, or newly starting out, is it’s important to show authenticity when working with various stakeholders and it's key to be empathetic and passionate about the products you build. Lastly, it’s a fast-paced environment to work in, therefore you need to learn to manage your time well and to not feel bad when you need to say ‘no’.