Sunday, July 9, 2017

this.woman in tech

I remember when the first Apple PC entered into my workplace. I really don't remember which model it was, but there it sat on Julie's desk in all it's glory. "When are you going to use it, Julie?", I asked. "I'm too busy to play with that thing." she replied. She didn't mind that I tinkered with it, but she soon was forced to begin using it - and I slowly relinquished the metal piece of beauty.

A few years later, I finally received a computer of my own in the workplace.  The IBM PC was set up for me and I couldn't be happier. It was so easy, bending the software into my bidding. The excitement was unsurpassed when I received my first IBM 386 with actual hard drives.

I've been through almost 30 years in tech. From the personal computers, to networks, to building amazing software.

The tech world has changed so much in the last 30 years. I'm not sure what happened to the women over the years - I can't say for sure. I do remember a time when other women joined me on the technical teams I played a part in. Now they are few.

I do chuckle when I walk into a big box store with my husband, looking for a new hardware gadget, and have the young men walk up and address my husband about our technical needs. He just points his finger at me. "She's the one you need to address", he'll say. How I love seeing the confusion in their eyes. Women don't do tech, right?

One thing is for sure - the tech world is a man's world. I do hope not for long. Things move fast, and you have to keep up. It's not for the faint of heart. It's a constant battle to stay ahead of the new evolving technology.

I've spent so long being overlooked, the single female at conferences, tech meetups, companies - it almost doesn't faze me. Almost. I have to admit - it still stings when they reach across you to talk tech to the men on opposite sides of me.

I've always loved the challenge - both with tech and the men in it. Some men have been very supportive and some have not. One thing is for sure - I had to work twice as hard for less money and respect, but I became fierce. I'm thankful to those who made me second guess my competence - I only stepped up my game.

Now, this.woman, with no college degree and almost 30 years of technical fierceness has recently become Director of Software Development for a small start up company. The potential is huge and the challenge has been accepted.

I love mentoring young software developers. I love creating cutting edge software and networks. I love that my fight has not been for nothing. I love there is more fight in me even now as a woman of grandchildren.

I am a maker. I love my life.

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