Browsing Tag

open source


Is Impostor Syndrome keeping women out of open technology and culture?

The result is women, in addition to being undermined by others, internalize their criticism and undermine ourselves. We choose easier tasks that we believe are more suited to our skills; we apply for lower level jobs than our confident peers; we don’t give speak at conferences; we don’t step up as role models, mentors and teachers because we feel we have nothing to give to others. And who can blame us? We’re just responding to feedback from people we respect. Even those of us who know about our own Impostor Syndrome have to spend extra energy fighting with it when it comes time to share our work with others. Others see us underrating our own work and take it as confirmation of their Impostor Syndrome. We are not islands.

[ via Ada Initiative ]


STEMinist Profile: Katie Miller, Software Engineer, Red Hat

Katie Miller

Katie Miller

Software Engineer

Red Hat

What inspired you to pursue a career in STEM?
My oldest brother, 12 years my senior, introduced me to programming in QBasic when I was a kid and sparked an interest in computers and coding that continued throughout my school years. Although I went on to do a journalism degree and spend seven years working in the news media, I never lost that passion for technology. Eventually my job at the local newspaper morphed into a website editing role and I went back to university to study for a Master of IT degree specialising in software engineering. I love the challenges that come with being a software developer and now I couldn’t imagine doing anyt‌hing else.

What is the coolest project you have worked on and why?
At work, I think every project I have the chance to work on is pretty cool in that being an open source company, the code is shared with the whole world and anyone can use or improve it. Outside work, there was a memorable project I was part of at my local hackerspace where we wired up an Arduino to control the property’s roller door and created an Android app that members could use to gain entry. When a member entered the correct code into the mobile app, it would automatically open the door and send a tweet and push notifications to other members so they would know someone was at the space. It was cool because it gave us the chance to play with both hardware and software while building something really practical.

Role models/heroes:
All the pioneering, high-flying female computer scientists of the past and present, such as Ada Lovelace, Grace Hopper and Marissa Mayer.

Why do you love working in STEM?
I love working in STEM because technology is constantly changing and that means there are always new challenges, new things to learn and new inventions to play with.

Advice for future STEMinists?
Be tenacious. Sometimes it might be difficult being in the minority but don’t let anything shake your confidence. Make the most of the opportunities available; be sure to check if you’re eligible for any relevant women’s programs or scholarships. Take inspiration and encouragement from the technical women that have gone before you and remember you are paving the way for the women to follow, so do them proud. Dream big.

Favorite website/app:
There are too many amazing apps and websites for me to declare a favourite but I do love Stack Overflow; it’s a brilliant resource for developers and a great example of online collaboration.

Twitter: @codemiller



STEMinist Profile: Selena Deckelmann, Founder & COO, Prime Radiant

Selena Deckelmann

Selena Decklemann

Founder & COO
Prime Radiant, first product is Checkmarkable

What inspired you to pursue a career in STEM?
My parents often pushed me toward the sciences, helping me get into advanced classes and advocating for me when a guidance counselor in 8th grade told me that if I didn’t want to be a mathematician I shouldn’t bother taking advanced math classes.

I am so grateful to my Mom for having words with principals, teachers and academic counselors about my classes. I was a “kid that didn’t play well with others” at a young age – which I’m sure was hard for my mom, and more than a little annoying for my teachers. Without her advocating for me, I’m sure I would have ended up in a lot of trouble AND in boring classes.

Another great thing my Mom did was get me playing the violin (I’d wanted to play cello, but they ran out!) in the fourth grade. Orchestra was as close to a team sport as I was going to get until I figured out I could run cross country late in high school. She probably regretted all that music stuff when I tried to start a degree in music performance! But, in the end, I settled on computer science.

What is the coolest project you have worked on and why?
The coolest project I’ve worked on is PostgreSQL, an open source database. I’ve been invited to every continent, except Anarctica, to speak about databases and open source.

In January, I went to Ballarat, Australia to talk about learning from failure in software development! And while there, I went jogging among hundreds of butterflies and a little pack of kangaroos.

Now, I’m starting a new company. This is only a few months old, and it’s exciting and terrifying. But it feels a lot like my work on open source – where the goal is to take over the world with our awesome ideas.

Role models and heroes:
Dr. Leah Beuchley – for her focus on what’s human, beautiful and functional about Arduino
Matthew Garrett – for his appreciation of the people in free software, and his sense of humor
Karen Sandler – for her passion, dedication to freedom and careful, clear thinking
Richard Stallman – for his pursuit of freedom
Tom Lane – for his love of Postgres
Marina Tsvetaeva – for her wit, sarcasm and love of language
Sylvia Plath – for her expressive sadness and poetry
Scott Deckelmann – my husband, for his love of teaching

Advice for future STEMinists?
Find your people! When I got a job in the Computing Center, I knew I’d found the place for me. It was rarely work – even when dealing with angry customers or unsolvable problems. I always had coworkers to commiserate with, and new, fascinating puzzles to solve. Free and open source software was the second place where I found a home. It’s hard to express how much I feel at home with the people I know in FOSS communities – they’re family.

Favorite website or app: PostgreSQL

Twitter: @selenamarie