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The biggest Angular Conference in CEE celebrates International Women's Day


Women are an important part of our conference community. Every year NG Poland supports diversity by organizing free NG Girls workshops for women who want to start their career in tech. The magazine includes interviews with passionate women who love to share their knowledge by speaking at conferences and creating technical content. It’s our way of saying thanks to all of the fantastic women who do amazing work for this community


Why you should join our NG Poland & JS Poland community? Learn from the Best Every year we are happy to host the best experts in the flied of Angular, TypeScript, RxJS, Redux, etc. Their presentations will let you expand your current knowledge, get practical tips and learn new trends.

Rekindle Your Enthusiasm The most important benefit of participating at ngPoland 2020 is the enthusiasm you will get infected with. The confidence, desire to develop, and can-do attitude will definitely bring your professional career to the next level.


Have Fun This event will change your perception of IT forever. Your brains will be filled with new information, you’ll feel the excitement of people sharing your passion and most importantly our MC’s will guarantee an experience you’ll never forget!


TABLE OF CONTENTS

WOMEN IN TECH Sabiha Shaik

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Jennifer Wadella

10

Kapunahele Wong

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Dominika Zając

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Dayana Jabif

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Emma Twersky

20

Adriana Maguea

22

Katarzyna Płocka

24

Amanda Sopkin

26

Author

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TABLE OF CONTENTS

INTERVIEWS

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Garann Means

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Melissa Houghton

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Sherry List

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Nishu Goel

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INTERVIEW Sabiha Shaik Gold Microsoft Learn Student Ambassador I'm Sabiha, a recent CS Graduate from Birla Institute of Technology and Science Pilani, Dubai and a Gold Microsoft Learn Student Ambassador. I currently work as a Digital Graduate Intern at Chalhoub Group, UAE. I also enjoy working on android applications on the side! Throughout my undergraduate years, I have conducted over 15+ technical events, participated in many startup events with my student led startup and have spoken at technological events such as Microsoft Build to an audience of many different ages. I'm deeply passionate about tech for social good and diversity in STEM.

sabiha_shaik_

How did you start the journey in Tech? I've always been very curious about technology. When we brought home our first computer, I used to be fascinated by the games and the way everything worked. Early years in high school, I had the chance to opt for an information technology class where I was introduced to creating websites. This sparked my interest even further and led me to explore various fields within tech such as AI, game development, and mobile application development. Through all the fields in tech, I kept coming back to mobile app development, more specifically, android. It was the ability to create something that could reach millions of people worldwide was amazing. While desktop apps and games might require people to have access to more higher-end devices, an android app could be accessed on some of the lowest spec devices.

Why do you love programming? The accessibility, ability to create to solve for problems and the challenge is why I love programming.

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INTERVIEW

Sabiha Shaik

Do you have a role model (woman) who inspired you the most to be passionate about technology? I did not have a role model growing up in technology mainly because I wasn't aware of many such individuals. Lately, I've been inspired by some of the women building amazing technology in YCombinator Cohorts!

What do you think about getting involved with diversity-focused communities? The change a supportive community can bring to the way you think and approach challenges is massive. One community that I had the privilege to be a part of and lead was the Association of Computing Machinery Women and Microsoft Learn Student Ambassadors at my university. I believe you should always do two things at any given point in your life, have a mentor and be a mentor to someone else. Being a part of the community gives you the ability to do both while creating lifelong friendships who will make a lasting difference.

What is your advice for young women who want to start a career path in Tech? Believe in yourself. While tech is a fairly large field and sometimes you might not feel like you belong here, if its something you truly enjoy, stick with it. The road ahead might not be as easy for you as others but have a clear goal and try your best to get to it. Additionally, never feel hesitant to reach out to others to ask for help and always ask for feedback.

What are the best ways for you to develop your skills and to keep yourself updated with technology trends? To keep yourself informed on current trends, follow relevant blogs and communities. To develop your skills, reach out to mentors in the field, attend meetups, work through materials online and teach! Teaching is one of the best ways to solidify your newly gained knowledge. You can teach in person or even write blogs and release video content.

What do you do in your free time? I love to cook and play games! I think cooking is very much like programming in a way, you follow a set of steps, be creative and you get an end result that you can enjoy!

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INTERVIEW Jennifer Wadella Director of Angular Development at Bitovi, Founder of Kansas City Women in Technology

I'm a JavaScript developer, non-profit founder, tech speaker, and community organizer. likeOMGitsFEDAY

How did you start the journey in Tech? I got into coding in high school the same way many other women of my generation did - styling our Xanga and Myspace pages, playing NeoPets, and building websites on Geocities. I went to college for graphic design and taught myself how to code when I graduated, and soon after found the joy of JavaScript + being a front-end developer.

Why do you love programming? The problem-solving involved in coding definitely activates the endorphins in my brain, but also the ability to create something from virtually nothing that has the chance to really impact and help people.

Do you have a role model (woman) who inspired you the most to be passionate about technology? Unfortunately, no. I never had a role model who looked like me, I very much had to carve my own path into tech. I'm not a fan of the tech community's tendency to hero-worship and put people on pedestals - it's very polarizing. Instead, I draw inspiration every day from new devs breaking into the tech industry and fearlessly sharing their learning journeys, or people running communities and events to help bring people together to share knowledge and passion.

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INTERVIEW

Jennifer Wadella

How are your experiences as a woman in tech? My experience hasn't always been great, early in my career, before I built Kansas City Women in Technology, I definitely felt alone. And even today, while I'm a part of great communities and have no doubt in my skillset, I still get told "you don't look nerdy enough to be here" by conference attendees who don't yet realize I'm a speaker at the conference, or assumed to be a "UX designer" by new hires at my company, even though I'm a Director of Angular Development, or being ignored by a client during a meeting in which I am the Subject Matter Expert. I think the TONE has gotten better over the years, people and tech companies are at least willing to listen and try and correct actions based on feedback, but we still have ways to go.

What do you think about getting involved with diversity-focused communities? Having run a women in tech organization for 7+ years, I think it's very important to provide safe spaces for women to learn, but additionally to give women already in tech a place to feel a sense of community. Women are often isolated in the workplace lacking peers that they can closely relate to, and WiT communities provide that as well as a positive way to reinforce their skills. I will say as Women in Tech group organizers, we have to do a better job on inclusion, and continue pushing the narrative that diversity is more than just white women. Black women and people of color are still severely underrepresented and face struggles breaking into tech due to systems largely built on white supremacy, and to build the truly diverse and inclusive tech community we all want, we need to prioritize breaking down barriers for non-white techies. If anyone is interested in running women in tech events, I have a work in progress blog series: https://jenniferwadella.com/blog/community-organizing-series-1-running-events

What is your advice for young women who want to start a career path in Tech? I would advise young women to find a community to be a part of. When you're a minority in an environment, you find yourself second-guessing yourself a lot, and having a community that can relate to your experiences is good to sound ideas off of, and get advice in dealing with difficult situations from.

What are the best ways for you to develop your skills and to keep yourself updated with technology trends? Twitter is huge, who you follow really impacts your awareness of things - be it the latest Angular news or having a better understanding of the experiences of people who don't look like you. I also think one of the best things you can do is when you're struggling to learn something, write a blog once you've figured it out - even if it's small. By thinking about how to explain the issue, you deepen and cement your own understanding, and as a bonus, you may help someone else struggling to understand the same concept!

What do you do in your free time? I love to garden, brew kombucha, play video games, cook, eat food cooked for me by my partner, and watch trashy stuff like The Bachelor franchise while drinking champagne with my friends. I also love(and miss) travelling all over the world to speak at tech conferences.

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INTERVIEW Kapunahele Wong Angular Docs Team Technical Writer

I work on the Angular documentation team. I got into Angular because I was studying it for a job I had a Capital One as a front end developer. I went to a couple of conferences that were so welcoming and I met so many friendly people. At my first Angular conference, I saw Deborah Kurata give a talk and just seeing her made me feel that it was OK for me to be there too.

kapunahele

Later, when I met Angular team members and said I wanted to help but that I knew very little (I knew HTML, Sass, and a tiny bit of JavaScript), they encouraged me wholeheartedly. It was through their kindness, patience, and guidance that I learned my way around the repo. I didn't even know how to submit a PR when I started. I guessed and Googled my way through submitting the first one. Sometimes I broke the build spectacularly, used the wrong vocabulary, or messed up my PRs -- right there, for the whole world to see! Because of this, I especially like to help people contribute to the repo. How did you start the journey in Tech? I was a computer science major for a year, but I switched to comparative grammar of the Romance languages. Still, of all of my classes in college two of my three favorite courses were from that year. A short while later, I decided I wanted to understand how to "fix computers" (it was the 90s!) so I bought a book on hardware. A day later, I met an acquaintance who had been in one of my Italian classes and told him about my new interest. It turned out that he was a network engineer for the college so he said, "come work with me and I'll teach you!". So I did. When I graduated from college with my degree in languages, companies only wanted to hire me for technical work.

Why do you love programming? Because it is purely logical and never boring. I learn something new everyday and when something is broken, it piques my interest. I think this is a developer trait. The mind of development wants to know why it's not working and figure it out. The communicator in me wants to then write it down so that other people will have an advantage when they run into something similar.

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INTERVIEW

Kapunahele Wong

How are your experiences as a woman in tech? I started working in tech in the 1990s. There were times when I was targeted because I was a woman, but it did not faze me, and it wasn't constant. I kept going, because what else could I do but continue being me? I had the benefit of working with good people most of the time. Early on, I attended a security conference in London where I was the only woman in attendance. The bathroom was empty and the sinks were dry. Around 2002, I left and I didn't come back until 2011. It was indeed better, but issues still existed, as they do today. I believe that the majority of people do want to support underrepresented groups, but that collectively, we are still learning how to do that.

Do you have a role model (woman) who inspired you the most to be passionate about technology? Jules Kremer inspires me because of her energy, decisiveness, and determination. As an indigenous woman, she has encouraged me in a way that speaks to my particular cultural circumstances. She's a powerhouse. Deborah Kurata was my first shining light in tech. She and I didn't meet when I first saw her, but later I did get the chance to work with her and she is even better in person. She's incredibly intelligent and kind in equal measure. She is a reason for me to attend a conference and her courses have helped me tremendously. Every time I meet or see another woman in tech, whether she be 15 and just starting out or 60 with the experience and wisdom of years on her side, I am inspired. When I see pictures of women who came long before all of us and were the very first women who worked in areas of space exploration or academia, I am inspired to continue. In the time that I was not working in tech, I went to graduate school (among other things) for textile conservation and costume history. One of the things that struck me in particular is the history of knitting. For centuries, our foremothers around the world, who knitted garments for their families had to understand the math of the fit where stitch count changes over the course of sleeves, necklines, heels, etc. They had to learn, what we would call today, complex algorithms that they could adjust from babies to large adults. Many of them would retain all of this information in their minds with no written reference. More often than not, they reached extraordinarily high skill levels at an early age. The majority of them were illiterate and never learned math in a school setting. They were pregnant time and time again, and high numbers of them died young in childbirth. Most of them had few options socially, politically, or in terms of education. It was an oral tradition of calculus against all odds. We all carry the power of these extraordinary women in our lineage, whether it be physical or otherwise, and can work with diligence to honor them.

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INTERVIEW What is your advice for young women who want to start their career in Tech? Reject imposter syndrome. It is a fundamental self-defeating concept. Even the smallest app is still an app. Everyone, even the most successful and intelligent leaders in this field, had to start at the very beginning. Yes, some people have more advantages than others, but never let that stop you. My grandmother told me 24 years ago when I first started sewing seriously, "Make a project then another and another. You will learn your way. The only way to get good is to keep going." When you're learning a new technique, build a small app that focuses just on that technique. When you break it, try to figure out how you broke it and how to fix it. Recode it a hundred times if you have to.

What is the best way for you to develop your skills and to keep yourself updated with technology trends? Because it is purely logical and never boring. I learn something new everyday and when something is broken, it piques my interest. I think this is a developer trait. The mind of development wants to know why it's not working and figure it out. The communicator in me wants to then write it down so that other people will have an advantage when they run into something similar.

What do you think about getting involved with diversity-focused communities? eg Women Techmakers, Angular Girls, Woman Who Code etc I love it! These communities are incredibly important.

What do you do in your free time? I sew and study the Hawaiian and ancient Hellenistic relationship with the sky.

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INTERVIEW Dominika Zając Software Engineer at Qualtrics

I’m a programmer - by education, profession, and passion. I graduated from Jagiellonian University and currently work as a Software Engineer at Qualtrics in Cracow, Poland. Apart from my work I conduct IT workshops and talks (especially for kids, students, and tech newbies) and recording podcasts for SFI IT Academic Festival in Cracow. Privately, I’m a big fan of singing and theatre domizajac

How did you start the journey in Tech? When I was in high school I heard about the Rails Girls workshop in my city. I didn’t want to go there (I thought that IT is interesting only for nerds) but my sister insisted on going together. After some hours of the workshop and creating my first simple webpage, I completely fell in love with programming. With a group of girls from the event, we started regular meetings where we were supporting each other in learning the basics of HTML and CSS and sharing knowledge. Later on, I was also learning JS and PHP on my own. When it came to choosing studies I was sure I want to study computer science. And I’m sure I made a great decision!

Why do you love programming? I strongly believe that programming is a great tool to make our life easier, simpler, and more interesting. Your code may support doctors in saving somebody’s life, automize boring and repetitive work, or just provide entertainment and joy for people. Also, I love that every day brings new challenges and opportunities - you cannot stop learning. It suits my curiosity.

Do you have a role model (woman) who inspired you the most to be passionate about technology? I haven’t got one person who inspired me the most. I have many women in my network who inspire me with their daily work, skills, motivation, hard work, and patience. Each of them has a completely different skillset and is my “idol” for a different reason so it’s impossible to choose only one person.

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INTERVIEW

Dominika Zając

How are your experiences as a woman in tech? Fortunately, I had only a few bad experiences as a woman in tech. I am lucky to be surrounded by people for who skills, motivation, and hard work are much more important than gender. Also, I see a lot of positive changes during the last years - we have many more women who study and work in IT, more female speakers at conferences, many companies have their women’s network clubs, etc. I wish we will have more women in senior-level positions but believe it will also change soon. Recently, I was surprised when 5-years old girl in kindergarten told me she wants to be a programmer - when I was her age I would never think about it!

What do you think about getting involved with diversity-focused communities? I started programming thanks to Rails Girls, so I am sure that work made by diversity-focused communities is important and valuable. I received a lot of support (especially at the very beginning of my IT journey) from organizations like Women in Technology or Geek Girls Carrots and awesome women I met during workshops or meetups organized by them. I was also a scholar of the “New technologies for women” program that gave me an opportunity to work with an experienced mentor and network with inspiring girls from the whole of Poland. Now, I’m trying to give back at least a small part of that huge support I received - it’s why I am conducting workshops during actions like Greenlight 4 girls, IT for SHE volunteering program, or ngGirls. If only one person will find her passion after that, it’s worth it.

What is your advice for young women who want to start a career path in Tech? Don’t be afraid of asking questions - it’s not a sin don’t know something. Everyone was a beginner someday and even the most experienced developers make mistakes and check the documentation to find something.

What are the best ways for you to develop your skills and to keep yourself updated with technology trends? I’m trying to surround myself with people who want to learn and develop their skills - when you are in a group like that everyone supports each other and motivation to try something new is stronger. Also, I’m watching trends on Twitter and participate in IT conferences - when I hear about something interesting I add it to the special “to-check list”. In my free time, I'm playing with items from that list and creating my side projects. Of course, most of them were just proof of concept and never finished but I learned a lot thanks to them, so can strongly recommend that method.

What do you do in your free time? When I have free time I love to meet with my friends and make some music together (I'm singing in our "band"). Also, I like reading books and going to the theatre.

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INTERVIEW Dayana Jabif Founder of @ionicthemes and @ng_templates My north star is living a free and happy life every day. Free from pressures, deadlines, bosses and schedules. I really enjoy what I do and how I do it. My partner and I worked hard and founded both AngularTemplates and IonicThemes. We create Angular and Ionic resources to help other developers build better apps faster. After years building dozens of Ionic and Angular Apps, we realized that there are certain aspects of every app that remain the same, regardless of its overall functionality or use. Several features are repetitive, and there’s no need to reinvent the wheel.

dayujabif

That's why we built some powerful starter templates to help developers build better apps faster. Our goal with these templates is that users can get at least 10x of the price in return by saving them development and design time. How did you start the journey in Tech? Since I was a girl, I always loved solving problems. Then, I did my degree in Software Engineering and I realized I could spend endless hours coding. So for me, it was always about doing what I enjoyed.

Why do you love programming? I love challenges and solving problems and programming has a lot of that. Also, I see technology as a way to live the life I want. Being able to code, allows me to create the life I want to live and to be in control of it. I think that programming gives us the opportunity to live from what we love. I don't say it's easy, but it's possible.

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Dayana Jabif

How are your experiences as a woman in tech? I am from Uruguay, a small and beautiful country in Latin America. Here, from what I see, there is a lot of support for women in tech. Having said that, as a society I believe we can do much more to encourage women to be confident in their skills to feel on par with their male counterparts.

Do you have a role model (woman) who inspired you the most to be passionate about technology? No. For me it never was about being a woman or not. I believe that as long as you really enjoy what you do, you will have the motivation to become good at it. It doesn't matter your gender.

What do you think about getting involved with diversity-focused communities? I would love to inspire other girls and women to start a tech career and to be confident about themselves. I tried meetups but I really don't like the one to many approaches. I think I have had much more impact in one on one conversations with other women.

What is your advice for young women who want to start a career path in Tech? Trust yourself. We are living in a world where anybody can become anything they want as long as they want to invest the amount of time that is needed. So, leave out the excuses and create the life you want to live in. Be patient and trust the process. Take baby steps, you won't become an overnight success. It's all about iteration.

What are the best ways for you to develop your skills and to keep yourself updated with technology trends? The resources I create for IonicThemes and AngularTemplates are tutorials, videos and starter apps. To create these resources I have to invest a lot of time researching and coding to keep updated. For me, writing tutorials and guides to help other developers motivates me to keep myself updated. Also, we update our Angular Starters regularly so I must keep up to date.

What do you do in your free time? I really enjoy training, cooking and hanging out in nature.

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INTERVIEW Emma Twersky Developer Relations Engineer @ Google

I am a Developer Relations Engineer at Google on the Angular team, which means I get to spend my time advocating on behalf of the Angular ecosystem! twerske

How did you start the journey in Tech? I entered college determined I'd be a Mathematics major, which I did end up completing. In the process, I learned that the problem solving I really loved disappears in higher math. I took a few interdisciplinary Computer Science classes and realized I loved writing code more than writing mathematical proofs. From there, I completed a few summer CS research internships and ended up publishing in a persuasive design conference. I had a hard time convincing companies to take a chance hiring an engineer with no formal CS degree. At one of the conferences my research advisor helped me attend, I was able to connect with a recruiter who helped me find a new graduate engineer position and I've been in tech ever since!

Why do you love programming? I always loved problem-solving like logic puzzles or Sudoku, and programming is essentially the same thing! It's really satisfying to see the immediate reload of a visual change or for something to compile correctly when you finally solve a bug. More than that, I've really enjoyed the community, and so combining those two, I'm very thankful to have found Developer Relations.

Do you have a role model (woman) who inspired you the most to be passionate about technology? I was lucky to have several woman math and computer science teachers growing up who encouraged me to pursue STEM. My college's Chair of Computer Science, Janet Davis, is a huge role model as a woman in tech and her human-computer interactions class is what convinced me I wanted to be in tech.

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INTERVIEW

Emma Twersky

How are your experiences as a woman in tech? I'm thankful that I've worked at companies having discussions about diversity, supporting my attendance at events like Grace Hopper, and working at all points in the pipeline to encourage woman to enter tech. It will take time and continuous committed effort at all levels to make that happen. In all my roles, I have always been the only female engineer on my team, so I was excited to join Angular and have several woman in leadership positions as role models for the first time in my career.

What do you think about getting involved with diversity-focused communities? Definitely get involved!

What is your advice for young women who want to start a career path in Tech? It can feel intimidating to make the initial jump! There are so women-focused Slack channels, meetups and programs that do such a great job of building confidence and supporting their communities. I'd highly recommend reaching out and joining local communities - those channels have helped me through code bugs, advice on my career, and job negotiations!

What are the best ways for you to develop your skills and to keep yourself updated with technology trends? Learning how you best learn is a great place to start. I'm a very visual learner so I always look to tech Twitter for new code-labs, videos or Twitch streamers to continue learning!

What do you do in your free time? I'm a big fan of vegan cooking, my two cats named Rhubarb and Basil, and all things in the arts!

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INTERVIEW Adriana Maguea Frontend Developer, WTM Ambassador and Tech Communities Leader

Adriana is a frontend developer, lover of UX | UI and CSS, Women Techmaker Ambassador, leader of local communities such as Angular Medellín, GDG Medellín and the most important Angular conference in Latin America NG CONF CO. In her spare time, she loves to collaborate with external development communities by giving talks on technical and non-technical topics. Among her greatest passions are music, cars and the gym.

adrianamagdev

How did you start the journey in Tech? I started at least three years ago when by chance I visited an Angular meetup in the city of Medellín, I was amazed to learn about the tech communities and also meet these super powerful women who gave talks all over the world. From there I decided to embark on this path, studying it individually and contributing a lot to the communities and of course being part of these incredible women that I mentioned earlier.

Why do you love programming? Whenever I am asked this question, my answer will always be the same: My love for programming is divided into two parts: On the one hand, I find it incredible to be able to combine my creativity and my logic to make applications that thousands of people enjoy on the other side of the world. And on the other hand, I deeply love the culture of creating communities around knowledge. This is something that is not seen often in other types of professions.

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INTERVIEW

Adriana Maguea

How are your experiences as a woman in tech? As I am relatively new to the world of technology, I see very diverse participation, perhaps that is why I did not experience the rejection or non-participation of women or groups not represented in technology. The companies and communities with which I have had contact are usually open to ideas no matter where they come from, however, I think that due to the tension that exists around this issue, it is not always done for the right motivation. That is why I highlight and recognize the effort that thousands of people (groups not represented) have been making to have a strong voice in the technological world.

Do you have a role model (woman) who inspired you the most to be passionate about technology? Thanks to my constant contact with people belonging to the community, I am always meeting incredible women with great knowledge and who are willing to share it with all of us. My role model is Mandame C.J Walker (1867 - 1919) a woman who has nothing to do with technology but I admire her tenacity in fighting against all adversities to make herself the first African American millionaire in the United States.

What do you think about getting involved with diversity-focused communities? Each community and each person has their motivation to work for diversity. My personal connects a lot with Women Techmaker because it is really a community focused on diversity in all its senses, this includes women, men, LGBTIQ +, ethnic and all those people who feel the passion and have an interest in developing personally in the tech world and that until now they have not discovered how relevant and important their voice is to the community

What is your advice for young women who want to start a career path in Tech? My main advice is that if you want to start it is because you found a passion for it, there is nothing worse than working on something that you are not passionate about. After that, I consider that you should click and understand that the differences between men and women are not relevant in the world of technology, but rather our capabilities and our softs and technical skills.

What are the best ways for you to develop your skills and to keep yourself updated with technology trends? I think that the fact of belonging to different communities helps you to be always updated, as well as following people on Twitter who are always talking about the latest updates in the tech world, these same people usually have blogs/vlogs where they speak more widely about these issues.

What do you do in your free time? My life is very focused on the community, so in my free time, I am usually preparing and presenting talks. I am also very committed to organizing meetups and preparing new speakers in structuring their talks. However, there is always time to follow your favourite YouTubers, especially those who teach about makeup.

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INTERVIEW Katarzyna Płocka Software Developer

I'm software developer, mostly frontend, but I've done more than that. I love what I am doing and I love when I may share it with other people. I guess because of that I'm part of ngGirls core team :) Besides that I'm real people person and I'm bringing instant smile to faces of colleagues around.

pelagia1232

How did you start the journey in Tech? My carrier in IT started straight after my studies, my first job found me. I have Masters Degrees from Electronic Data Processing and thanks to that amazing people found me and offered me my first job in Natural Language Processing. After a year I've directed my career path into Frontend world and I'm here ever since.

Why do you love programming? I love programming because it proves me every day that my strict mind is able to be also creative and I can do things that are beautiful inside and out.

Do you have a role model (woman) who inspired you the most to be passionate about technology? I've never had a role model as such, but I have my inspiration from woman around me. My friend Paulina (we've met at work), Shmuela Jacobs, Alisa Duncan, Martina Kraus, my mom (who always says that I should do what I love to do and that I can handle everything) and many others... They mostly inspire me to remember that I'm only human and I'm amazing even if I have bad days, everyone has, they too and they managed to be awesome.

What are the best ways for you to develop your skills and to keep yourself updated with technology trends? I think that the best way to sometimes code for fun, go to meetups, conferences and read articles subscribe to topics you're interested in on one or two websites such as medium or dev.to.

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INTERVIEW

Katarzyna Płocka

How are your experiences as a woman in tech? I have whole spectrum of experiences that are related to my gender. In first company I was in heaven of equal treatment. There was plenty of women hired, but I must admit mostly because they've finished linguistic studies and were willing to learn how to code (and most of them after 2 weeks were able to code their own strategies!). What I liked the most during working there was the atmosphere, everyone was treated equally, everyone was judged by what she/he has done not who she/he is, we've helped each other constantly, we were sharing knowledge on daily basis. It was great place to work, I've even met my husband there ;) After I year I've decided to rebrand a bit (from NLP to frontend) and I was hired by a big company. Going from startup to corporation makes huge difference and additionaly I had bad luck when it comes to people there. The project that we were working on was filled with men constantly telling that women shouldn't earn as much as men cause they can always find husband who will earn more, that woman programist is like Guinea Pig etc. I couldn't stand the place so I quickly switched job to a place where I was 1 of 2 woman developers, but still treated equally. If you want to read more about my experiences you may read it here: https://pragmaticcoders.com/blog/women-intech/. Do I think companies support diversity? I think yes, but it doesn't change the fact, that in company which supports there will be people who does not and it may be a problem. I'm not sure if it has changed across the last years globally, but I'm sure it has changed locally - I'm always trying to make people around me aware that there are still problems and we need to fight against it.

What do you think about getting involved with diversity-focused communities? Getting involved with such communities is extremely uplifting and hard at the same time. When I was preparing my first workshops for women (extended version of ngGirls) and wasn't yet a member of the team I had so many questions "why you don't do it for men?", "do you really think that women have worst start in IT?". There was a lot of hate towards me and a lot of arguments in the kitchen, and all of that was related to the topic of why I want to do sth only for women. Explaining problems women have to people who don't realise that, is hard, but at the same time hearing how much our initiatives helped someone, even decide that programming isn't for her, seeing those smiles when you help them to learn something, stand for their rights at work etc. is worth every second of hate towards me. I think those communities should never stop doing what they're doing.

What is your advice for young women who want to start a career path in Tech? My advice would be: never give up if you feel you're in right place and remember that you'll meet different people in your career but you should always place yourself first and don't let anyone make you feel worse. Ask a lot of questions, the more the better - you will learn faster good practices and people will see that you want to learn. When someone will tell you that you should do sth in a specific way - ask why this way is better - it's also learning. If you feel that your solution is better - tell that. And be yourself, you are the best!

What do you do in your free time? In free time I'm watching tv series, I practice calisthenics and I talk a lot with my husband and friends :)

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INTERVIEW Amanda Sopkin Software Engineering Manager

I am a San Francisco transplant from Denver, Colorado. I love mountains and beaches. I am a software engineering manager for Autodesk, in a division focused on connecting businesses in the pre-construction industry. I have spoken on topics in software engineering at conferences like PyCon, SeaGL, and Codemotion. In my spare time I attend hackathons as a coach for Major League Hacking to help students have a great experience at the events they attend.

amandasopkin

How did you start the journey in Tech? I started programming in high school and took a leap of faith into a Computer Science major once I graduated. I always figured I could transfer if I wanted, but I loved it and never looked back!

Why do you love programming? Being able to unwind puzzles or dig out a bug is very satisfying.

How are your experiences as a woman in tech? For me personally, I have been lucky to have female mentors and teammates who have supported my journey in tech and showed me what was possible from the beginning of my career. Although overall support for diversity has improved in tech, many companies are still not transparent about their diversity numbers and I have found that many software engineers don't believe this is a real problem.

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INTERVIEW

Amanda Sopkin

Do you have a role model (woman) who inspired you the most to be passionate about technology? One of my best role models is my good friend Dana Nikolaeva who has encouraged me to dream big and ask for what I want.

What do you think about getting involved with diversity-focused communities? These organizations do great work and their members are extremely dedicated to improving the diversity landscape of tech. I encourage people to get involved!

What is your advice for young women who want to start a career path in Tech? There are many different ways to charter a career in tech--don't get boxed in by one trajectory--your path can look like whatever you want

What are the best ways for you to develop your skills and to keep yourself updated with technology trends? The best way that I learn is through practice!

What do you do in your free time? I enjoy cooking and analyzing the social dynamics of reality television in my spare time. I am also involved in local politics, which is often a great way to help improve your community.

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INTERVIEW Garann Means JavaScript Developer Advocate

I've been a web developer for quite a long time, increasingly specialized in JavaScript. Once Node was released I rarely coded in other backend languages. For the past ten years I've done more speaking and writing, and these days it's the bulk of my work.

garannm

How did you start the journey in Tech? I got in trouble for loitering in the hallway of my high school. The principal who was scolding me decided I would immediately enroll in the class behind the nearest door, which was the IT class. I got a printout of HTML tags, put up a silly website, and started organizing volunteers for a GeoCities neighborhood not long after.

Why do you love programming? Creating something from nothing is always a good feeling, no matter the tools.

How are your experiences as a woman in tech? I dealt with a lot of totally normalized sexual harassment. My tip for women in tech is that the sexual harassment barrier to entry is much higher when the target isn't colocated with the harasser. Since I started working remotely it hasn't been a problem. I think IT companies will support diversity or anything else if you come to them with solutions that make them look good.

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INTERVIEW

Garann Means

Do you have a role model (woman) who inspired you the most to be passionate about technology? I've had several, but Divya Manian, who I used to host a podcast with, is an incredibly inspiring person to me. Not just technically, but in terms of ethics, design, and even music. She's the kind of technically brilliant and otherwise well-rounded individual who really pushes this industry to be better.

What do you think about getting involved with diversity-focused communities? I've participated in several and launched a couple, so I'm obviously a fan. Anything that gives underrepresented people a chance to find and support each other can make the difference between someone staying in the industry or giving up on it.

What is your advice for young women who want to start a career path in Tech? Focus on your work and don't let it take over your life.

What are the best ways for you to develop your skills and to keep yourself updated with technology trends? Blog posts, conference talks, and following people in the industry who use twitter as a technical content platform.

What do you do in your free time? I'm a single mom to a 1- and a 2-year-old. I kind of traded my free time for their sweet little faces.

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INTERVIEW Melissa Houghton Senior Consultant • Community Engager • Developer • Leader

I am a Senior Consultant at Telstra Purple, based in Melbourne, Australia. I am a developer who focuses on application development using Angular and .NET Core, but I have a wide variety of skills and am always open to learning new things. I see myself as an advocate for women in tech and have a passion for leadership, technology and giving back to the community. I frequent tech events, am an international conference speaker, and an organiser of DDD Melbourne conference and Melb․NET meetup.

meliss_houghton

How did you start the journey in Tech? When I was in University, I was studying Mathematics and was required to take an Introduction to Java class. We had an assignment to change an image to black and white using code. The visual presentation of the code coming to life made me fall in love with programming. After that, I changed my degree to be both Mathematics and Computer Science. The next summer, I had an internship as a developer and have continued in tech ever since, and have never looked back.

Why do you love programming? I love that programming encompasses my passions for helping others, learning, creativity, and problem-solving. It is always changing, and there is nothing quite like the feeling you get when a problem you are working on finally clicks, and you see your creation come to life. I also love the community surrounding it and the opportunities to be involved in conferences around the world.

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INTERVIEW

Melissa Houghton

How are your experiences as a woman in tech? I have been fortunate to work in places that support women in tech and have a community around me that supports us as well. When I was in University, there were very few women in my classes, and people I met often questioned why I was studying computer science. People told me that I did not look like a programmer. I am very happy to now see more women like myself across the tech industry, changing the ideas of what it means to look like a programmer.

Do you have a role model (woman) who inspired you the most to be passionate about technology? Although she is not in tech, my mother inspired me to follow my passions and not listen to the status quo nor expectations of others. I thank her for teaching me that it is ok to be different. That knowledge allowed me to find my place in the world of tech!

What do you think about getting involved with diversity-focused communities? I love getting involved in diversity-focused communities! I have spoken at a Women Teckmakers event, volunteered at an AngularGirls workshop, and attended several Women Who Code events. Those communities help us to feel at home in the world of tech, network with other powerful women and encourage other organisations to become diversity-focused as well. I would highly encourage anyone in the tech world to attend those events to meet some wonderful, inspiring people.

What is your advice for young women who want to start a career path in Tech? My advice is to give it a go! There are many aspects to tech from design, development, cyber security, and more; there is a place where you can find your home. Attend events, meet people, do free training courses, learn about the different areas of tech. Be prepared to learn a lot, to struggle, and hopefully, to have a moment where it clicks. You will never know until you try.

What are the best ways for you to develop your skills and to keep yourself updated with technology trends? Blog posts, conference talks, and following people in the industry who use twitter as a technical content platform.

What do you do in your free time? I'm a single mom to a 1- and a 2-year-old. I kind of traded my free time for their sweet little faces.

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INTERVIEW Sherry List Azure Developer Engagement Lead

My name is Sherry List and I work as Azure developer Engagement Lead at Microsoft. My role is to be the point of contact between Microsoft & developers. I need to find out what developers want to learn about Azure and reflect it to our skilling plan. I also often travel to different countries to speak at mostly Front-end focused conferences. I started my first job as a web designer when I was 16 years old.

sherrrylst How did you start the journey in Tech? I was born and grew up in Iran. Back in the late 80s & early 90s, right after the revolution and 8 years of war, it was not so common for middle-class families to have computers at home and my parents were not so much into tech. But, we had friends and relatives who had computers. My parents noticed I was into playing games, so they together with my aunties bought me a PC as a birthday gift when I was 12. From the moment I got that computer, all I wanted to do was to be able to write my own game! So that birthday gift changed my whole life. I started to learn basic programming together with my brother, Farzad Aziminia, who is 3 years younger than me.

Why do you love programming? Because it's fun!

Do you have a role model (woman) who inspired you the most to be passionate about technology? My biggest role model and source of inspiration is the one and only Ana Cidre <3

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INTERVIEW

Sherry List

How are your experiences as a woman in tech? Funnily enough, it wasn't until I moved out of Iran that I heard of the phrase “Women in Tech”. Back in Iran, we had many female software engineers. I even worked at a company where we had more female software engineers than males. After I moved out of Iran, I often found myself to be the only female or one of a few female developers in teams. I had started to realize all the biases towards women in our industry. Luckily I only experienced it on a small scale. As I got to know more women in tech and hear their stories I realized how lucky and privileged I was through my journey. I certainly see the pattern is changing and we have more and more women joining the tech industry and stay here, but we are still so far from having the equal representation in the industry.

What do you think about getting involved with diversity-focused communities? It is important to create a safe space for women and in general underrepresented groups so they can feel the confidence to continue their journey. To all of you who are reading, please support these group as much you can.

What is your advice for young women who want to start a career path in Tech? Never give up your dream!

What are the best ways for you to develop your skills and to keep yourself updated with technology trends? I would say follow the content creators on Twitter. Also, attend to meetup and conferences.

What do you do in your free time? Spending my time with my loved ones & travelling!

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INTERVIEW Nishu Goel Building the web @The Dataworks Nishu Goel is a software engineer currently building the web at The DataWorks. She has experience building Angular and React applications and is in extreme love with web components. She is a Google Developer Expert for Angular and Web Technologies and a Microsoft MVP in Developer Technologies. She writes code labs, blog posts and shares her learnings at events, conferences. She is the author of the book “Step-by-step Angular Routing”.

dcoustawilson How did you start the journey in Tech? I studied Computer Science to pursue Bachelors. That's where my journey in tech started. Participating in the various hackathons, code for good competitions, got me more involved and interested in tech and providing solutions for problems.

Why do you love programming? Well, Who doesn't love the liberty to be able to provide self-made solutions to problems (if the code works! ;) )

How are your experiences as a woman in tech? I strongly believe that we have become more welcoming and diverse over the last few years and that it is really motivating most of the times and though it should be standard, it makes me feel very proud to be a woman who codes.

What do you think about getting involved with diversity-focused communities? I definitely love the outcome of it, as every time I do a session with diversity-focused communities, I am sure at leat 5% of the audience did get inspired and would have decided to take a step further and do something challenging and interesting

What is your advice for young women who want to start a career path in Tech? My mentor, DJ, used to say this and it cant be less true: Stay Hungry, Stay foolish

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