Each International Women’s Day is a great opportunity to recognize women driving change and innovation in their communities and beyond. Today at Callstack we want to feature ten women in tech roles who we believe make waves in the React and React Native community 💙
As its proud co-creators, supporters and contributors, we are always happy to see it growing, especially when that means more women on board. Women are underrepresented in the industry - they take up fewer than 1 in 4 technical roles at each of the companies releasing such data.
It’s important to help women embrace technology. There is nothing better than learning from one another in a diverse environment.
We asked ten women who excel in tech careers to share why they turned to software engineering, what they like most about their job, how it is to speak at tech conferences, and what they would say to women thinking of working in the industry. Check what we found out!
Starting a <cyan>tech career<cyan>
There is an overwhelming amount of online guides offering advice on how to get into the tech industry. What is it like in practice though? Is this career path reserved for so-called analytical minds only? Should you have an aptitude for math and science at an early stage?
For Milica Aleksic, a Tech Lead at Badin Soft working on React and React Native apps, this was actually the case. A passion for math as well as strong focus on knowledge and education has always been in the family thanks to her mom, a woman in IT. No wonder Milica quickly became a tech-savvy kid and decided to follow in her mother’s footsteps. Her path hasn’t always been easy though.
“You often encounter people who tell you that you are not good enough, particularly if you are a woman. I was never afraid of failures or mistakes though - I’m still learning a lot from them, they’re part of the learning process,” she says. Today Milica wants to support women who code and inspire girls to become successful developers.
Pariss Chandler’s beginning was a completely different one. She jumped on the bandwagon because she realized that she couldn’t risk continuing to work as a wax specialist with laser hair removal on the rise.
“My job was literally being replaced with a machine. I knew that I had to gain a technological skill set in order to keep up with the direction that the world is going in, and software engineering happened to be the best opportunity for me. I became a React and React Native Developer,” explains Pariss.
Today she is the Founder & CEO of Black Tech Pipeline. She is also the creator of the hashtag, movement, and community #BlackTechTwitter.
How did it start for another well-known techmaker, Rachel Lee Nabors?
“I got into web development when I couldn't find an online community for teen girls making comics. So I built one with Drupal! Soon teenage girls from all over the world were joining in the discussion (as well as reading and buying my comics). We didn't have Facebook or Etsy back then - you had to build your own!” Rachel Lee recalls.
Altogether she has been building the web forward for over a decade, from web animations with MDN, Firefox and the W3C, to the Edge browser at Microsoft, to React at Meta.
Working as a <cyan>React and React Native<cyan> developer
Our Callstack developer, Małgorzata Mazurek, used to think software engineer’s work is boring - it was only after she got into tech herself when she realized it’s actually the opposite! Contrary to Chiamaka Nwolisa, a software engineer working and living in Berlin. She thought it was fascinating long before she began to work in the industry:
“I have always had a deep love for technology. I started making software programs at 16 years old and decided to make a career out of it because of how exciting and challenging I found it to be. I’m constantly learning, never bored, and have endless possibilities of problems that can be solved with technology,” she says.
Chiamaka currently works on building web applications using React and specializes in creating resilient UIs on the web and mobile. She loves the fluidity of her work:
“Because of React and its paradigm, I can switch between building web applications with React and building mobile applications with React Native. I also love the process of breaking down complex problems into manageable milestones that not only have technological advancements but also translate to business value for my company,” says Chiamaka.
Paulina Chmielewska, another Callstack developer, feels the job matches both her professional and personal interests: “Even though this job is highly technical, it often touches on my life passions. The best example is the development of applications related to sport activities, traveling or social life.”
What’s more, she believes her work never gets monotonous as there are plenty of tools and platforms to use, and there is always space to evolve. Olimpia Żurek, who also builds apps at Callstack, agrees: “You have the opportunity to learn something new every day. It's very exciting for me as I love to learn new things all the time.”
Apart from learning opportunities, working as a software developer gives much freedom in organizing one’s day. Aleksandra Desmurs-Linczewska, our developer and recent co-host of the podcast episode discussing React Native trends, admits:
“I love the independence I have. I am free to organize my day as I need: I can pick up my kids from school, have lunch with them or run my errands and then finish my work later in the day since my job is task-based.”
For Rachel Lee this independence is also a great asset:
“I can work anywhere, travel everywhere, and when someone I love is in trouble, I can intervene. My career gives me the agency and power not just to live the life I want, but to shape the world around me.”
<cyan>Inspiring<cyan> and teaching others
One thing is to learn to do a tech job yourself, and another is to guide others through the process. Kadi Kraman, Principal Engineer at Formidable who builds mobile apps with React Native, TypeScript and GraphQL, says:
“I just really love building things - being able to ship an app or a website with beautiful UI/UX, something that people want, need, use and love is the ultimate reward. The other side of course is being able to teach and mentor others. I've been fortunate to have been able to create courses for online platforms like Frontend Masters and Egghead. Being able to help others learn is incredibly rewarding.”
Rachel Lee adds:
“I love how there's always something to learn and someone to learn from. I love the lifelong friendships I've made. And I love the many lives I've touched teaching and building.”
Why women thinking of working in tech shouldn’t think twice
"If you're thinking of starting a career in tech - be it as Project Manager, Designer, Engineer, Tester - give it a go and join us! You are welcome here, and not because of your gender, but because of your knowledge, skills, life experience and passion.”
“Women currently take up very little space in tech as compared to their male counterparts. This is why I encourage more women to come on board. Take up more space. Take the leap.
Find what you are currently good at and find an equivalent in tech. The tech industry is not only comprised of coders. They are also product managers, designers, copy/UX writers, communication experts, lawyers, marketing specialists and so much more!”
“Tech jobs are some of the most solid jobs you can get into. Lots of opportunity, excellent pay and benefits. You're able to take care of the people you love and lead an independent life. If you love solving puzzles, building things, or generally nerding out, this could be the right field for you. Give it a try and see where it takes you!”
Rachel Lee Nabors
“If you like computers you can surely find the programming language or the role that will suit you. You can learn online or at bootcamps, you can start off as a junior with virtually no experience. There's absolutely nothing in tech that makes it more suitable for men.”
There are a number of organizations that inspire and teach women to code such as Women Who Code, Girls Who Code, Hackbright Academy, Mother Coders or Girl Develop It. If you are a woman thinking of starting a tech career and learning coding skills, they’ve got you covered!
Speaking at tech conferences
Presenting at a conference can be a challenge even if you are very well-versed in the topic and have a lot to say. For Rachel Lee, “speaking is like an ice breaker: if I go on stage to give a talk, people will come up to me to talk about those things I'm interested in. I'm normally very shy, so this helps bring me out of my shell!”
At Callstack we hold React Native EU - a community-driven conference that focuses exclusively on React Native. How was it to speak at RNEU? Milica recalls: "I felt some stage fright, but as soon as I started talking, it went away. My colleagues were also supportive and encouraging, and I was pleased that everyone afterward expressed positive impressions of my talk." For Aleksandra, “Speaking at RNEU was a total blast because I could pre-record my talk, cut out anything I didn't like.”
This year we organize the sixth edition, and we encourage women developers to submit their talks too. On average 14% of speaker applications come from women; we believe there are way more amazing women speakers out there who would like to make a presentation. Call for Papers is not open yet but keep an eye on our website and channels not to miss any updates. Let us know who you’d like to hear at React Native EU 2022!
Growing with <cyan>Callstack<cyan>
We embrace diversity to keep the workplace healthy and happy. It’s one of our core values to bring different voices and multiple perspectives to the table. We are always looking for React Native developers, especially among underrepresented groups. In total, only 9% of all applications for tech roles are sent by women. Why not increase this number? It’s amazing to work in a diverse environment!
“To be truly creative and solve complex problems, you need to be surrounded by people with different backgrounds. A diverse team naturally creates a healthy, productive atmosphere in which everyone can add their own experience to the teamwork and thrive. At Callstack we want to continue developing our inclusive culture. We encourage candidates of all backgrounds to apply and be creative with us," says Anna Lankauf, Callstack Co-Founder & CEO.
At Callstack we care about developer self-development and growth - we have a dedicated R&D program and budget for our software engineers that let them realize their innovative ideas. Want to check it out yourself? Join our Callstack team!