What Can I Do to Reach My Full Potential as a Female Software Engineer?
Based on my opinion as a female software engineer.
Hello, my name is Eminarti Sianturi and I am an Android Developer in a company named Kurio. My journey as a software engineer was begun from my first-year study of information and technology in an institution far from the big city. The reason why I choose to continue my study there is not because I’ve been familiar with technology, but because the campus is too beautiful, I think. It is so simple, isn’t it?
The most fundamental and basic thing in Software Engineering is to learn about programming. Programming is the process of solving a problem with algorithms and making a code from it into a programming language, so that it can be executed by the computer. Although many programming languages and many different types of computer exist, the first important step is the need to have the solution of a problem. Without an algorithm, there can be no program.
One of many things I love the most about programming is that it allows you to build things on your own.
When joining this field, there are so much opinions that state that this field is suitable and good for men and it will be difficult for a woman to evolve. I oppose it, but also slightly agree with that statement. Not because a female software engineer is not capable of doing the job in that field, but rather to the statement that says this field is better suited for men and makes small opportunities for women and can drop woman’s mental. This will affect how a woman will live and bet or give up and accept that opinion. If someone already accepts that and then resigns and gives up, she will feel unsuitable with this field. Whereas, if someone accepts that reality, but still feels comfortable and fights, then she will be able to live and compete in this field. From here, I choose the second opinion that accepts the reality, but makes it as a challenge in my life and study until this moment.
And now, what can I do to reach my full potential as a female software engineer?
1. Stay Curious
Basically, in order to reach the full potential, both men and women have the same thing in them that is having a big curiosity that can be a reason for us to learn. Curiosity will help us in shaping the mindset. In the world of information and technology, there are so much problem and thing that can make us curious. The world of information and technology is always evolving. Everyone that contributes will give new solutions and from a new solution, comes a new problem and so on, until the technology itself is more advanced and evolving. In here, we act to answer that problem. With curiosity, we will always think critically to answer that curious feeling. Added with the fact that every problem doesn’t always have a solution, but from every solution, the most helpful and efficient solutions is chosen. In here, we learn to be curious, so our answer can be the solution for that problem.
2. Do Research and Exercise
Having a high curiosity will make us more advanced and learning continuously. Learn not only with yourself, not only with one source and one problem. Good learning is when we learn in a problem and do plenty of exercises. When we find a new problem, task, or things, do a research as real action of learning. A research can be started by finding a topic in cyberspace, asking colleagues, discussion in a forum or with someone, and applying the results obtained into a settlement, for example into a program, application, et. Do the exercise! Do it persistently, solve the problem. We can follow some courses, whether it is onsite or online, free or paid. Every activity will give us an exercise and we can learn to answer it. Stay hungry, stay foolish.
3. Join Communities
Joining a community will give us a new scope to do research and discussion. Nowadays, there are many existing communities with a variety of community concern either within the country or abroad. Usually, joining a community is not difficult because basically, the community exists to share stories, experiences, and thoughts. In addition, as a woman, it will be very helpful when we join a community, both a general community and woman community. This will give us a new view and especially, when the community is a woman community, we can see how other people just like us struggle to survive and love this field. Not often, they also already have a lot of experience and a good career. It can give us the spirit to achieve our potential.
4. Updated Technology News
Rapid development of technology requires us to tune and stay updated from time to time. The news will help us to know how far the gap between us and the technology and give us the information about the technology that is being discussed by many people, technology that has now been abandoned, or technology that gets the latest update. For example, the development of smartphone, social media, and programming language. The more we update the news, the more we know the world that we’re working on.
5. Share and Discuss
After having a high curiosity, doing research and exercise, joining a community, and updating the news, then it is the time for us to share what we have with many people through writings, projects, photos, or speech about technologies. By sharing what we have, it will give us an evaluation how far we know and understand the technology, and the next step is to improve it. After sharing it, we will have responses for what we share, whether they are positive or negative, questions, opinions, disclaimers, etc. Of course, this is good, besides being a benchmark against something we share, but also telling us that when someone responds something we share, it means there are people who notice it and have the same interest with us. From every response, we can start to discuss to add our knowledge and the knowledge of people we know. The more we share, the more responses as well as many new things we can get.
6. Have a Healthy Life
Working in the field of information and technology is identical with unhealthy and messy life style. People also identify us with the identity that we often work late at night until morning, even often described as having no life. Indeed, that thing happens among people who work in that industry. I also have friends like them who work in that industry. But, it doesn’t mean we have to forget and not aware with that kind of life style. Moreover, as a woman, it is a plus point that we have compared with men. We have to live a healthy life style as soon as possible. It begins with regular dietary habit, sleeping habit, and setting the time to work and study. Healthy life style will give us time with better quality and better work. We will get a wasting achievement if we can enjoy it because of unhealthy body. Health to happy, happy to health.
7. Be Yourself. Be You.
This last point is not less important when we try to reach our full potential. Being ourselves is important because the potency and ability in every person is different. How we get our full potential from that characters depends on how we develop our abilities. Don’t focus on the life style or success of other people. How they achieve that can be used as a lesson for us and not as a benchmark for us to determine that their steps are the right steps.
Many people think that being a female developer means facing many discriminations from colleagues and other people, but it doesn’t happen to me. I have encouraging colleagues that give me good advices and guide me in my journey. Many people say that they respect me for doing what I love, especially in an industry dominated with men. So, don’t give up.
For every aspiring female developer out there, I give you this message: You can be whoever you want to be. Don’t let the world define you. If you really have the passion, be true to yourself, and remain committed to your beliefs, you will discover a capacity to create solution within you.