Did you know that though women make up almost half of the global workforce, they hold only 25% of jobs in the tech industry? At Nomadix, we are proud to have women in key roles throughout our company: leadership, engineering, development, marketing, sales, accounting and more. In celebration of International Women’s Day 2021, we decided to ask some of these brilliant women about what led them to a career in technology, what barriers they have encountered along the way and what advice they would offer to the next generation of women in tech.
What led you to a career in technology?
For Pam Goncalves, our Chief Marketing Officer, “It was about being in the right place at the right time with the right opportunities.” She grew up in Cupertino, California and was fortunate enough to be living and studying in the heart of Silicon Valley while going to college. “I started at Four Phase Systems when I was 18 and worked in the building that would become the future home of Apple’s Infinite Loop. I became addicted to working in high tech from day 1.”
Tammy Estes serves as our Chief Product Officer. She shares, “Even as a young child, science and technology always fascinated me. I was the kid mixing things together in the kitchen to see if I got a reaction, building radios from a kit, and saving my babysitting money to buy a Commodore64 hard drive to save the programs I was writing. It was a natural step for me to pursue a career that allowed me to continue working with technology.”
“I was very close to my dad and he was a bit of a nerd so I tended to tag along and take interest in his hobbies,” says Linda Kahangi, our Chief Information and Operations Officer. “As a result, I had my ham radio license at the age of nine and learned to use a soldering iron to help him build a Heathkit computer. When it was time to go to college, he challenged me to choose an engineering major and I did.”
For Aruna Rao, one of our Development Test Engineers who just celebrated 10 years at Nomadix, “My interest in math and science came from my high school classes, and also my fascination with computer networking, led me to choose my career in technology.”
Why is it important that more women join the tech industry in the near future?
“There is simply an overall talent shortage in tech. There are not enough men in tech to fill the gap, so if women don’t join, we’re all doomed. We have just found out what happens when there are not enough healthcare professionals in the workforce. Similarly, we need tech professionals to solve not only today’s problems but also the ones we don’t even know about yet.” – Pam
What positive changes have you seen in your industry throughout your career? What changes would you still like to see?
“When I graduated as a computer science major, the job description was really sitting behind a computer coding all day. It was very limiting and unappealing to those of us who were more extraverted and enjoyed interacting with people. Today, there are so many positions in the field that provide a bridge between the two and a much more well-rounded career experience – project / product management, web / user interface design, digital marketing, etc. I think the challenge remaining is making those choices and opportunities more visible to young women considering a career path in this area.” – Linda
What barriers have you faced, as a woman, in becoming successful in your field? How did you overcome them?
“My barrier, in the beginning, was that as an introverted person and the only woman in the Engineering team, it was sometimes difficult to express my opinion. What helped me overcome this barrier was Nomadix’s great working environment, my willingness to learn the technologies used in our products, and being involved in group technical discussions, where I listened and learned from skilled team members. This helped me voice my opinion and be a better team member.” – Aruna
“Society has some unspoken expectations around how women should communicate and voice opinions. In the fast paced world of technology it is critical to be comfortable in voicing your point of view – backed up with data! “ – Tammy
What does International Women’s Day and the 2021 theme #ChoosetoChallenge mean to you?
“If each of us chooses to challenge the status quo in one small way and make the effort to support the women who will follow in our footsteps, we will slowly but surely change the world for the better.” – Linda
What is one piece of advice you want to send out to young women thinking about their careers, no matter the field?
“If you love it, go for it, no matter what the career. Ignore all of the naysayers who say it can’t be done. What I’ve told women over the years is ‘N-O’ are just the first two letters of ‘Not yet’.” -Pam
“My advice is that if anyone of us has a different talent, we owe it to ourselves to make it shine, to make our contribution to something that we believe we could make the difference by bringing a piece of us, with passion, with energy, with kindness. We are not alone… there are a lot of us but each with our own path to pave. Don’t shy away from your opportunities.” – Ilaria Marinoni, Senior Vice President of Sales, EMEA, Angie Hospitality by Nomadix
“Don’t let anyone tell you what you should be good at. If you like to take apart motors – do it. If you like to write or paint – do that. Too often society begins to put subtle pressure on young girls ‘to do what girls do’. I was very fortunate to have a father, the first male influence in my life, that didn’t set boundaries on what interests and skills I should have.” – Tammy
“Be brave and don’t give up! Be willing to take on challenging assignments even if you are not sure you are ready. It’s okay to make mistakes and learn from them, but be resilient and keep pushing through. In the end you will be known as someone who can handle tough problems and increased responsibility. My first promotion to a leadership position was because I was willing to do a challenging integration job that no one else wanted.” – Linda
“I would advise young women thinking about their careers to be ready to work hard, be open to both learning and criticism, maintain a positive attitude, respect their team members, and be a team player by sharing their knowledge with others.” – Aruna
We owe a major thank you to these women and the many others that make an impact every day throughout our company. Here at Nomadix, we #ChoosetoChallenge the barriers for women joining the tech industry and welcome them with open arms. We’d love to have you join in the conversation–check out our social media challenge and share what advice you’d give to women pursuing a career in technology.