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Friday, 8 November 2013

Just another girl, in a tech filled world..... #ggdcpt #GEEKgirls

In walks the ambitious dev-dame.

Wondering if I was in for another lame social gathering in geek land, where man wore no shoes, spoke fluently in C# or Java ... blurted a burp here and there, with mumbles from beneath mouths curtained by majestic beards..I always kinda imagined that if this were an anime, the length of the beards would be a direct indication to the expertise & power of code the Programmer possessed & their lack of shoes would indicate that sometimes they could code using not only their hands, but toes too. These were the intimidating Alpha Males of the dev world...

SO up until now, the above was the only exposure or perception I had of the dev world. Feeling boarder line feminist activist / ambitious coder.... I was determined to either create or find a community of women in this world of devs or technology at least.

Feeling like a loner in a co-working dev space, this was how I discovered or was introduced to the unlikely world of technology.

Initially I studied Journalism & Media Studies, graduated ... used my communication skills to persuade people into buying shit and became an Online Sales Coordinator for a popular software company. Still feeling unfulfilled in my job, the search continued and the hunger increased... I enjoyed writing and the fantasy of journalism, but, there was always a but.

Uncertain about where I would place myself in all of this, was a battle of chemical warfare in my mind.

Fashion journalist? Nah, the dramatic fuss about a garment would annoy me. Investigative Journalism? Sure, but the hours required would not match my current obligations (family). Radio Journalist? Definitely, I have lots to talk about daily, but to be honest that is a "gotta-know-someone" or gotta win a competition and then lose to an air headed, sexy-voiced individual who hasn't studied at all. Mmm options? Copy Writer? Boring. PR? urgh (with an "R" yes, it's gotta "rah" when you say it), need I say more. 

Intuitively I knew it's what I enjoyed most at the time, but I was so blinded to the world of options. Programming would never have crossed my mind, in my cultural upbringing that was a job for an over-intelligent, video gaming dude. There were no women role models to look up to in this industry.

Throughout my life I always took leadership roles, class captain, team leader, captain of every single kind of sports team you can imagine. Ideas & initiative surfaced since I was kid... one of my very first ventures was at the age of 7 years old making birthday cards and selling them to my gran (a kind of sympathy purchase from her side, but still I made some bucks). And then a  rebellious teenager I was, gave my mom the kinds of grey hair that a a young 30-something mom should not have endured... BUT I was a risk taker indeed.

Never in fear to try something new (good or bad), tested the limits. A born creative with writing as a passion.

Why oh why did nobody asses all of this and say well Lisa you know... Entrepreneurship would suite you and maybe utilize those writing skills, passion and creativity to create. Computer Science could take you there? I would not have believed you for a second. 

So anyhow, almost a year ago I was offered a job as an Accounts & Media Manager for a (semi) Startup company and was kind of perturbed by the idea, but also intrigued by the small team and strange people (male devs, no shoes, long beards...refer to above).

Anyway, I jumped in with fears of instability, despondent about the lack of benefits I previously received and unsure if this company was going anywhere, risk-taker kicked in and I was in.

This happened to be the best decision I ever made. The startup culture in tech, is definitely my calling. I thrive off the excitement of not knowing what tomorrow may hold, new developments and being and feeling part of team where you matter. You contribute and feel the success of the business, it becomes a family effort and not a singular one.

Previously, my monthly individual success in my job, determined my salary (the story of commission based jobs, urgh) and all that I focused on or gave a rats ass about was how much I achieved or who I had to sweet talk into a huge sale to make that comm for myself.

Startup culture changes all of that, here you focus on pushing hard for the success of the business. You take the knocks that come and you hold on because you want it to succeed. You live and breathe the project of growing the business. Everyone who works for a Startup is an Entrepreneur. 

So this is what brought me to discovering my ambitions for coding. 

Watching the devs do what they do and also because in a Startup your cross roles many times with your counterparts, I gained a keen interest in figuring out how they do what they do. The Startup began to feel like one of my kids. Then I decided that I needed to increase my value by understanding the architecture of the system (SaaS).

With some further research I discovered that the combination of everything that I have learnt up until now + my own personal attributes + my extensive passion for technology & creativity, the calling came and I knew where I was headed.

Fuelled up in search for and passionate about creating awareness for this culture and industry, I wanted other  girls to know about the opportunities in the digital sphere and to speak with women who are in the roles I aspire to be in. As a result I ended up with a sponsored ticket to the Girls Geek Dinner.

You know when you feel like you found your BFF? That moment when you see yourself in another person, they get you, they do what you do, you get the jokes & the outsiders looking in at you two are annoyed by your synchronization and favourite songs.

Well that's how I felt finding GDD, definite potential for a new BFF.

A whole community of women who can talk tech, fashion, business, kids and some more tech?? I am home :)

The Ambitious Hackeress?
What an awesome experience, networking with like-minded women. Meeting the first female-coder I know (she was un-bearded, had shoes on...hot heels btw). This gave a thorough kick-in-the-ass to the predominantly "male" stereotype of technology.

I left feeling pretty inspired by these women, knowing that it is possible to play these roles in this industry (and rock heels). I also believe that women will bring a new perspective into programing, perhaps creative edge or a detailed eye... maybe just the nurturing touch that will make a difference (and of course the right shoes).

I'll definitely be attending GGD in future & continue my ambitions for entrepreneurship, programming & technology.

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