Two weeks ago I had an occasion to talk to a very inspiring person – Karolina from Girls Gone Tech. If you haven’t heard about this blog or want to learn about girls in masculine areas of life just have a look at our interview!
AGirlAmongGeeks: Girls Gone Tech comes to my mind as a huge and devoted fighter for women rights. Tell me how it all started!
GirlsGoneTech: I am a journalist and at some point of my life I got tired of subjects I wrote about at work (like relationships, fashion etc). I felt like writing about courageous people, who know the meaning of a word ‘challenge’, who are not afraid to change their lives. In this way, we have articles about programming girls, women who run startups, female game devs and so on… We also write about girls’ situation in Polish schools and the differences in opportunities boys and girls get.
AGirlAmongGeeks: Are there any problems with finding characters for your articles? Women in technical areas are still a rarity…
GirlsGoneTech: Yes, but at the beginning my man helped me a lot! Seweryn is an IT recruiter so he knew where to look for interesting women in IT. Even now he still sends me pieces of information about IT women, when he finds one. Girl Gone Tech is created by 2-people team although I am the editor and Serweryn is rather a technical support. And I got to search for the girls to write about mainly in social media or on IT meetups that I attend.
AGirlAmongGeeks: Writing about ‘tech people’ can be, considering the jargon and the vast area, tough! The countless technologies, frameworks and so on … How do you prepare for each interview?
GirlsGoneTech: Every time I do a research. I want to be well prepared although I also learn a lot from my interviewee. After each conversation, I google a lot to know exactly what I’m writing about! Programmers’ blogs for beginners are really handy!
AGirlAmongGeeks: Does it mean you plan to be a programmer too, one day?
GirlsGoneTech: Well, maybe! I have already touched HTML and I think it’s quite similar to the normal, human logic. It’s just like giving orders to the machine! So I have to admit, frontend technologies attract me more and more! But right now, I’m in the middle of changing my job so I put programming aside for a moment.
AGirlAmongGeeks: So tell me, what is the worst part of programming for somebody from ‘outside’ the IT sandbox?
GirlsGoneTech: Well, the only thing that scares me a little bit is the pace of technology development! And the need for monitoring them, of course! It seems that an average programmer always has to learn and practice something new. If you don’t, you fall out of the business.
AGirlAmongGeeks: Who are the characters of your articles?
GirlsGoneTech: The brave women who don’t fear to drop everything and start something new. These are programmers (front and backend), game devs, startup owners…
AGirlAmongGeeks: What makes them so special?
GirlsGoneTech: All the girls are 100% independent. They have a plan for their future, they choose a specific career path and they follow it no matter what. And what’s crucial, they steer these paths the way that even their executives can’t control. They don’t hesitate if they need to drop everything, change job etc. What’s more – dropping everything and starting brand new life is quite usual in this group.
All of my characters admit that there was at least one meaningful moment of doubt and lots of unpleasant situations. One of the girls happened to cry at work, when the situation started to be tough and duties got to be unbearable for the workers. And accidentally it makes the executives realize that work is poorly organized and there’s a lot of improvements to be done.
AGirlAmongGeeks: It was probably uncomfortable situation – exhibiting the weak side, admitting that something is beyond her capabilities…
GirlsGoneTech: Yes, but you know, it’s what is the best in my characters – although the doubts appear, ‘my girls’ rise and continue to do what they planned. It looks as if absolutely nothing can change their goals. That’s a good approach in any profession and I don’t think this determination describes only ‘tech people’. Anyway, world would be full of happy people if we could just take them as an example!
AGirlAmongGeeks: Most of the people agree that all the ‘tech’ careers seem to be a great plan for life. How do you think, why is there still so few tech people?
GirlsGoneTech: This career path requires a lot of determination, I think it may be a problem. Tech people need to update their knowledge all the time, often devoting their free time and it may be a problem sometimes. Girls I write about, usually learn everything on their own. But I think that’s a future for most of the professions – if you want to be good in what you do, you have to be up to date. University knowledge and books you read some time ago quickly became stale.
AGirlAmongGeeks: What are the words that bests suits your characters?
GirlsGoneTech: Courage and consequence. And perfectionism. Passion also. They perfectly mix work with their hobby. When you talk to them you can almost smell their passion. Tech people don’t seem to have come straight out of the cellar, any more. They have a tech hobby but it doesn’t mean they somehow restrict other life areas!
AGirlAmongGeeks: What are the dark sides of tech people? What do tech women dislike in their lives?
GirlsGoneTech: Perfectionism is the burden here! For example, many girls on a maternity leave claim that they feel some kind of longing, a hunger. They want to focus on their baby and are aware how important phase of life it is but at the same time they keep in mind that they have to learn, have to be up-to-date, in business. I think that this sense is rooted in times when a tech girl was something unusual and when such a girl needed to be better than men. All the girls I talked to try to be the best, constantly challenge themselves… You know, ‘I learned this programing language so I start learning three other languages’.
AGirlAmongGeeks: How do your characters look like? Are they typical nerds?
GirlsGoneTech: Frankly, none of the girls and boys I talked to, looked like a typical nerd. I haven’t met yet a classic example of one, who could talk only about her/his work. Most of my characters have a lot of hobbies. Some of them are gadget lovers. I know a girl who spends her free time dancing tango. Other girl rides motorcycles. Many do the rock climbing. And I think that’s a key to success –avoiding being a classical ‘flannel shirt’, trying to be open to activities other than programming. Most of the girls FB accounts are inactive during the weekend because they do other things at that time!
AGirlAmongGeeks: And what about the discrimination?
GirlsGoneTech: I think the girls’ discrimination is slowly going away in IT world. That’s probably because of the fact that there is more and more IT girls every year. There is a lot of social actions that encourage girls to be more ‘tech’. So a girl in IT is nothing unusual, any more. What’s more, a girl in IT is something obvious! However, there can be always someone exceptionally stubborn who doesn’t realize that world has changed lately.
AGirlAmongGeeks: Like in any area of life! Thank you for the conversation!
GirlsGoneTech: Thank you!