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Yes, I am a developer, and yes, I am a woman.

marinaserranomontes profile image marina serrano montes ・4 min read

I decided to be a Software Engineer. I had never had a clear vocation for computer systems, and it was not a meditated decision. I remember the look on my parent’s faces that day. They only said to me that I could try and if I didn't like that I could switch to a different degree the next year.

I always recall my first day of class; there were 45 boys and 4 girls. Of course, It was not my expected first day at the University. But soon, I felt I would turn my career into my profession and especially, into my passion.

It was 2008, when after uncountable exams, coding practices and a great experience in The Higher Technical School of Information Technology and Telecommunications Engineering of the University of Granada and a mobility year in The Swiss Federal Institute of Technology of Lausanne, I graduated.
I was energized and ready to make my mark in the field I had spent the last 5 years studying, but I didn’t know what an engineer was doing in a tech company in their day by day. So, I contacted some known tech companies in my area, asking about an internship opportunity.

I have spent most of my professional career in Telefónica R&D. During my time in Telefónica, I worked on different projects focused on e-health and real-time communications platforms, where I learnt and increased my fluency at coding in different and new programming languages and frameworks which are born every day.

I joined TokBox in 2013, and each day, I am amazed I am here. At the beginning, I got involved in the OpenTok Android SDK development, and then, I started to be part of some architecture discussions, designing and building solutions tools on top of the platform, etc.
There were offices in the US, Europe and Australia, and coworkers from more than 20 nationalities! I think the cultural exchange is an identity key of the company.

This diversity in the workplace created an environment in which people in the company had interesting work and enjoyed their coworkers. It was an incredible experience. TokBox was acquired by Vonage and in January 2019, I decided to move to Nexmo, the Vonage API platform, and continue working as an application lead developer in the Platform Experience team working on the Video API Platform.

Also, I had the opportunity to see how the entrepreneurial startup world was working, and it woke up my entrepreneurial spirit to start new tech projects in parallel. I believe that with effort, enthusiasm, and passion, you can have success in all the adventures you want to be involved in.

But the thing I noticed immediately was the gender gap. The same I had observed in the Spanish tech community, it was happening in the US, in other European countries and in the rest of the world.
The international voices predict the technology professionals will experience the highest growth in job numbers until 2030, and the tech industry is the most promising, global, fastest developing market for the best paid, creative and interesting jobs. But only a fraction of girls and women are likely to pursue degrees that enable them to fulfill these news jobs.

So I decided to move to action. In 2015, I co-founded Girls In Tech Spain, a non-profit organization that works to put an end to gender inequality in high-tech industries and startups.
The main goals of GITSpain are diversity, empowerment and education. We create a community where women can learn, network, make friends and do business; inspiring to innovate and build the future and developing professional, technical and entrepreneurial skills.

From that day, the GITSpain team has been growing. We are a team of people with great creativity and enthusiasm working with the community, organising and collaborating on different activities like 2-5 day bootcamps teaching coding, design, and leadership skills, hackathons, workshops for kids, mentorship programs, and much more!

We need to break the pattern and get more girls interested in tech. We need to fight the gender stereotypes in and through education. Women in tech have to be role models presented to new talent, and we need to show the human factor as a success key of tech projects.

I feel I am one more piece in the team. I love my profession, and I like to share my story, being part of this community that enhances diversity in STEM and with it, the great advantages it brings. Being a woman should not be another challenge in the world of technology.

I have learned that you need to surround yourself with the best. I believe that to progress and grow, it is important to be close and learn from those who are some or many steps ahead of us. But in addition, it is essential to be in continuous learning, developing the soft skills that are in demand. I would like to highlight we should have the ability to consult and communicate, show ideas without fear and be willing to receive feedback with a constructive attitude, being pragmatic, since there is always something that can be improved.

Already in the first steps of my professional career, I was clear that to be victorious in any aspect of life, it is necessary: preparation, focus and dedication. Set up a roadmap and daily goals. Working with optimism and acceptance of failure.

Lead as a woman, being yourself, creating new systems, new ways of thinking and new innovations that break the mold.

Diversity in the workplace should not be just an inclusion fad. It is a talent issue. An equal environment in the workplace isn't a benefit only for women, but for everyone in the company.

Women need to take part in the tech revolution, and tech needs more women. Let’s make it happen!

Discussion (2)

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ridhwana profile image
Ridhwana Khan

This is so inspirational. Thank you for sharing - I love how you took charge and moved into action and now you're actively working to close the gender gap.

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jsgurugit profile image
jsguru

Yeah, marina you are a woman but you are a stronger person than man.

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