Life at Gojek
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Life at Gojek

To All The Girls Who’ve Coded Before

Vania Radmila Alfitri (Mila) — GOJEK’s Software Engineer

The first question to pop up in people’s mind when they meet a female software engineer probably is “what challenges do you face as a minority in a man’s world?” For me, this is sexist because no one would ask a man the same question. Ever.

When the words ‘female’ and ‘engineer’ put together equal challenges, it is the point of view needs to be straightened.

We’ve read a lot of articles about sexist comments thrown at female engineers in the Western tech industry. One of my favorite love-to-hate stories was about a female engineer who tried to fix her male co-worker’s code while he was on vacation. Instead of saying thank you, he became mad because he thought he is better than her.

At GOJEK you won’t come across these kinds of issues, because here, we always embrace our engineers, regardless of their gender.

I talked to one of our engineers, Vania Radmila Alfitri (Mila) and she couldn’t agree more. She says that GOJEK is very open to anyone who wants to excel and learn about software engineering. There are equal opportunities for everyone!

Having previously worked as QA Engineer, Mila now embarks on a new adventure as one of our iOS developers for GO-FOOD. She changed jobs because she wanted to challenge herself. She felt like she was stuck in her comfort zone as QA engineer, saying that she was the ‘go-to’ person in her division.

Even though at GO-JEK we have the flexibility to change departments, you can’t do it overnight. Mila needed to participate in two boot camps to learn the new programming language and paradigms used to develop the iOS app.

This means she needed to start from zero.

Was she afraid? Yes. It’s only human. But she always knew that the only way to beat the feeling of fear is to be brave and see obstacles as challenges.

Being a new iOS developer comes with a lot of pressure that can’t be taken lightly. Mila, who always wants to deliver her best work, sometimes pushes herself too hard when she can’t instantly solve an issue that occurs in her code.

“Every time I come across a code that I can’t figure out, I ask my colleagues to do a pair programming with me. Pairing can also lift my confidence and increases my skill in teamwork,” she explained when I asked her how she overcomes this issue.

One of her pairing buddies, Alfian Losari, told me that he enjoys working with Mila because she’s very passionate and open to trying and learning new things. Good communicating skills with other engineers is another one of Mila’s strengths, according to him.

“As an engineer, the willingness to learn is one of the biggest assets you can have because the technology industry always moves at a rapid pace.

At this point, I can see how resilient and dedicated Mila is towards her work, “everyone starts somewhere and learn in different phases, so just keep going,” she said fiercely.

To walk the talk, Mila is the first to arrive at the office every day so she can have some quiet time to go over the things she learned the day before. That way, she will always remember how to solve a problem should it come up again in the future.

Mila prefers focusing on how she can develop into a better engineer every day, instead of positioning herself as a minority in the field.

It’s a positive attitude that everyone should keep in mind because if we continue to believe that gender is a setback, we won’t help to increase the percentage of women pursuing careers in the industry.

Mila and the Generation Girl squad during the Winter Club 2018 (Source: Generation Girl)

When she’s not busy typing codes, fixing bugs or enhancing UI, Mila contributes to a non-profit organization called Generation Girl. The organization’s main goal is to introduce the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) field to the young generation of girls early on. Mila hopes that Generation Girl can help to shape future female leaders and encourage them to push the boundaries in a male-dominated field.

To all the girls who’ve coded before,

Always pursue your passion.

Whatever you want to do, it has to come from your heart.

Don’t do things for the sake of being cool

Because you won’t be bothered trying to pursue it.

Mila’s story has changed my personal perspective to never be afraid of being a minority in any kind of field. Everyone has an equal opportunity. Everything comes down to your attitude. Always sees obstacles as challenges that you’re going to solve eventually.

Do you have the same attitude as Mila when it comes to seeing challenges? Are you always hungry for a new #adventure?

Embark on an amazing journey with us where you can find a bunch of new things everyday, visit GOJEK’s Career Page to find out more.

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