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software

Profiles

STEMinist Profile: Madhumalti Sharma, Founder and President, European Program Manager

Madhumalti Sharma

Founder and President, European Program Manager

Workshop4Me a.s.b.l, Montrium


What inspired you to pursue a career in STEM?
I always loved technology and computers. When I started in Standard 9 with GW Basic, I thought it was so cool to make a program do what I want and print such cool computer printed cards using a dot matrix printer – it’s funny but back in the day that was cool! I did my professional diploma in software technology and systems management at the same time as my Bachelor of Commerce in Accountancy Honors as I could do the course quite effortlessly and also ended up getting scholarships on the computer course based on my grades.

When I graduated with my Bachelor of Commerce and Software diploma at the same time, the software institute offered me to do another semester that included internship working on a real life software project at a company. It was an opportunity to earn back the amount i had spent on the 2 year program within the year. It sounded like a great thing to work on a real software project that a company will use. Also, the opportunity to repay my Dad for the course was enticing. That’s what got me into a software profession. I loved the 24 hours 7 days a week project to help a securities and stock brokerage company go from manual to computerization. After that I just kept going. It has been 21 years and it has been an exciting journey.

What is the coolest project you have worked on and why?
Lots of cool projects over the period of 21 years. Will mention three :

  1. Client satisfaction – It was wonderful to help a courier company bring the Track and trace feature on the package which was quite unique at the time. It was great to see all the courier companies quickly bring in that feature into their website soon after.
  2. Corporate Social responsibility – As part of IBM, it was great to work on the Computer Literacy project for under privileged youth in order to get them into jobs, bring more girls into technology through the Women in Technology K-12 program. This experience helped me to co-found and run a non-profit organization Workshop4Me.
  3. Managing a custom software development project to manage logistics for a life sciences company that was finding a unique cancer cure using blood transfusion. This project was very special since it showed me how lines of code and managing the project was directly impacting the lives of human beings.

Role models and heroes:
Have been fortunate to have several heroes and role models…they are not all necessarily known world over. My Dad who always encouraged me to do the best in what I choose to do. When I said I wanted to sit for the Chartered Accountancy exam because all my friends were doing it and I would just give it a shot and not necessarily put my best to it, he said, if I wanted to do something I should put my entire focus and effort on it, or else not go for it at all. I did my software course instead as I told him I was more interested in that. This focus helped me to succeed.

Several colleagues from work have been role models showing that it is possible to be a wife, daughter, mother and STEMinist at the same time. It is important to “see it and then be it.”

Why do you loving working in STEM?
It gives me an opportunity to create, build, share and see the fruits of labor within a short period of time. The problem solving in order to make something better is exciting. Workshop4Me, through which we inspire the pre-teens and teens to take up coding in order to move from being ‘consumer’ using technology to ‘creator’ using technology is fun. The joy on the faces of the 7-16 year olds when they make something happen using code is rewarding. Getting to see how stuff works and sharing it with others is heart warming.

Advice for future STEMinists?
Give it a shot! You might enjoy it more than you think. Try to learn something new as often as you can. Just because you have not done it before does not mean you cannot do it now. Be curious and do not be scared of opening up something to figure out how it works even if you will not be able to put it back together. Ask questions. Speak up. Don’t worry too much about what people will think or say ; just do your thing. Time is the most valuable resource you have. Decide wisely what you want to do with it. Do not follow anyone’s advice, do what feels right to you!

Favorite website or app:Google, Workshop4Me.org, MIT Technology Review, Fortune, Time, MIT Open courseware Nightsky, compass, Google maps

Twitter: @Workshop4Me

Site: Workshop4Me.org

Profiles

STEMinist Profile: Jennifer Davis, Vice President of Marketing and Product Strategy at Planar Systems

Jennifer Davis

Vice President of Marketing and Product Strategy at Planar Systems

Planar Systems


What inspired you to pursue a career in STEM?
I pursued a degree in the liberal arts, studying history with the intention of writing and teaching, when a mentor of mine challenged me. He said “before you go out to write history, why don’t you make some history first?” I got an internship in college at a software start-up and that started my career in high technology, which has led to me to positions at Intel and now Planar. I enjoy the pace of the business, the innovation that I am surrounded by, and the personal opportunities for growth.

What is the coolest project you have worked on and why?
It is hard to choose just one! One that comes to mind is working on the architectural video wall product that Planar launched a few years ago called Planar® Mosaic™. This was a new category of product that required coordination and influence around the globe: with suppliers, specifiers, and customers. To see the projects that people are now doing with this video product is very satisfying as they look like they walked out of my early strategy presentations when the idea was first pitched and green lighted. In this process, I was able to use my skills of visioning, influence, teamwork, and strategy and to see something brand new come to market.

Role models and heroes:
I have had the pleasure to work with many great leaders throughout my career and to be influenced by many professionals through their books, blogs, speeches, and podcasts. As a woman in technology, I admire what Meg Whitman, Sheryl Sandberg, and Marissa Mayer have done to pave the way for women in top roles. I have gotten great advice from my colleagues and managers over the years and am learning things each week from my own team and peers at Planar. And I remember one of my first managers, Roxanna, who taught those of us who worked in her retail store the power of servant leadership.

Why do you loving working in STEM?
I love innovation. I love doing things never before imagined. I like being on the cutting-edge of technology and helping to lead people to it’s true benefits. I like working on smart, capable teams who are empathetic advocates for our customers.

Advice for future STEMinists?
First off, you can have a wonderful career in STEM if you apply yourself, persevere, and seek out feedback along the way. Don’t shy away from being a subject matter expert, with hands-on and in-depth experience in a particular area of study.

Favorite website or app:
I use Evernote. I use it on my desktop, phone, and on my smart watch. When a blog idea strikes me for atjenniferdavis.com or for the Planar blog, with the touch of a button I can jot down the note for future reference.

Twitter: @jenniferdavis

Site: atjenniferdavis.com

Blog

Will the Women in Tech Please Stand Up?

Unless you’ve been living under an internet-less rock for the last few months, you’ve probably noticed the huge increase in attention that the tech gender gap has gotten recently. The latest conclusion that the online community has reached is that women just don’t want to work in tech.

That statement seems a bit misleading. Saying that women don’t want to work in tech implies that there is something inherent in the technology itself that women just don’t like. There isn’t. We’re finally seeing more women choosing to enroll in STEM programs, so the interest is there. The myth that women aren’t as good at math and science as men are has long been debunked. So what exactly is keeping the ratio in technology so highly in men’s favor?

It’s true, there is the ever-present “boys’ club” mentality, and it hasn’t gone away. The “brogrammer” culture is unfortunately as strong as ever, meaning any woman who wants to try to balance a career with family life (or any sort of life outside of work and work parties) automatically has a lot on her plate. Add to that the fact that companies like Facebook and Apple seem to think that paying for a woman to freeze her eggs is more helpful for the female population than arranging for maternity leave and childcare, and you’ve got a doozy to deal with.

These are definitely problems, and ones that need to be solved. However, the best way to do that is to show these companies that women are active players in the technology arena and are here to stay. That brings us to the next problem facing ladies who are trying to get started in the industry: Where are the women who have already made it?

Where are the ladies who have hunkered down and shown the brogrammers that we can play ball? Who out there has found a tech job that allows them to have the work-life balance they need? How have women already in tech negotiated for higher salaries and better benefits?

These women exist, so where are they?

Jane Porter, from FastCompany, looked at why women seem to be leaving STEM jobs in droves and unsurprisingly honed in on a sense of isolation, biased evaluations, a lack of sponsors, and a lack of women mentors as some of the top reasons. All of these can be easily solved if the women who are already anchored in the world of technology look out for those just getting started.

For women to finally close the gender gap, we need not just sponsors and mentors, but true role models. So will the women in tech please stand up?

Are you a woman already making waves in STEM? We want to feature YOU on the STEMinist site! Stand up and help inspire future female leaders in STEM by sending us your information HERE. Keep up the amazing work!

Blog

STEMinist Profile: Martina Simicic, Software engineer

Martina Simicic

Software engineer

Inspire



What inspired you to pursue a career in STEM?
I was always good at math but when choosing college I decided to go for Business Informatics. I finished it and still wanted to be a project manager. While writing my masters thesis on agile project management I got an internship as a Scrum coach.

Since I was extremely bored, after a week I joined a team of developers that was trying out a new thing called Ruby on Rails. I never went back to project management. From that time on I was learning as much as I could, every single day! I am now teaching others and I am loving it!

What is the coolest project you have worked on and why?
There were a few but if I have to name it, http://schoooools.com/ (it has been a while since anyone has worked on it). It was a social network for teachers, parents and students to connect, create content, share and learn from each other. It had some really nice features!

And the current project: https://www.kanker.nl/. It’s a place where people with cancer can find information, connect with each other, share stories and experiences.

Role models and heroes:
I have to be honest, I am not very good at those. It would be maybe someone from the field that I worked with and that I admire a lot but those are all small-big people.

Why do you loving working in STEM?
I think working on something that people need and use can be very rewarding!

Advice for future STEMinists?
Are you doubting?

Favorite website or app:
http://stackoverflow.com/
http://www.quora.com/

Twitter: @pazinjanka

Site: martinasimicic.com

News

Coding for women: could I learn to program in a day?

Only 17% of the UK’s tech jobs are held by women, and in engineering, it’s even worse: just 8%, according to the ONS. Yet girls drop out of computer science well before they leave school. One study found that 83% of girls come out of school having learned no computer coding (compared with 67% of boys). Just 7% of all computer studies A-levels are taken by girls.

[ via The Guardian ]

News

How Mentoring May Be the Key to Solving Tech’s Women Problem

One of the difficulties with keeping women in technology is that there are few female mentors for them to look to. Why is that? Well, the numbers will tell you. Only eight percent of CIOs in the U.S. are women, according to the latest Harvey Nash survey. Without women to look to at the top, many women in STEM fields get discouraged and leave the workforce. However, one group is changing that.

[ via The Huffington Post ]

News

How The Meritocracy Myth Affects Women In Technology

If the people solving tech problems are mainly white, male and privileged, then what problems aren’t they solving? Should one of the most influential forces of the global economy be driven by only the perspectives of a certain slice of our population? How can individuals and institutions support more systemic change?

[ via NPR ]

News

Women 3.0, Taking On The Good Ol’ Boys in Tech With Style

Tech companies employ an average of 12.33 percent women engineers. The numbers for executives are even worse. As Reuters reported, “9 percent of U.S. Chief Information Officers (CIOs) are female, down from 11 percent last year, and 12 percent in 2010.” That same survey revealed that about one third of the organizations had no women at all in their IT departments.

[ via The Huffington Post ]