Why I became a software engineer
I have been working as a female software developer for over 30 years and have been fortunate to work for companies that prioritize equal gender representation in software development. During my first decade, I worked for a large space and defense company where gender balance was the norm. My current company, Brightspot, also values the contribution of women in software development. As a result, I can attest that women technologists can work successfully and seamlessly with their male counterparts. My experience is not theoretical, but practical, and it is evidence that companies can create a corporate culture where women thrive in technology.
Gender bias is a real phenomenon, and I have encountered it firsthand in conferences where I have counted only a handful of women in a room of hundreds of people. However, I believe that software development is an excellent career choice for anyone, regardless of gender, to transcend bias and thrive. Software code consists of ones and zeros, which do not recognize the gender, age or race of the person who created it. The demand for qualified developers continues to outstrip supply and companies cannot afford to let talented developers slip away.
During college, I discovered that programming was the only subject that could captivate me for hours without realizing time passing by. When I completed an assignment, there was no mystery as to whether it would receive a good grade; it either worked or it did not. I appreciate the objective nature of this measurement of success.
There are many reasons why I believe software development is an excellent career choice, particularly for women. Women who enter this field can expect equal opportunities, challenging work, and job security. The industry is constantly changing, which means there are always opportunities to learn and grow. Additionally, many companies offer flexible work arrangements, which can be especially helpful for women who want to balance work and family responsibilities. Ultimately, software development is a field where hard work, dedication and passion can lead to long-term success, regardless of gender. Here are five great reasons to further make the case:
1. It's a profession you can fit into your life
Software development is a profession that offers a high degree of flexibility, making it easy to fit into your life. With just a computer and the absence of operating heavy machinery, you can start coding, even without an internet connection. You have the option of working part-time, off-site and at unconventional hours. Whether you prefer working for a big or small company, or even owning your own business, software development offers a range of work options that can suit your needs.
If you're looking for ways to achieve work-life balance, especially with the added responsibility of children, software development offers clever solutions. The profession is well-suited to individuals looking to balance their personal and professional commitments. Software development allows you to have more control over your schedule, giving you the freedom to work at your own pace and around your personal life. Few careers offer the same level of flexibility as software development, making it an excellent career choice for individuals seeking a fulfilling career without compromising their personal life.
2. You can be as social as you want to be
I've heard the misconception that women are not interested in pursuing careers in software development because they are social creatures and the field is not social. While coding is often a solitary exercise, software development is a highly collaborative process that requires teams of people working together to create complex and comprehensive software. Additionally, having social skills can be an asset in selling your software or communicating with clients and stakeholders.
Despite the stereotype of software developers as introverts, you'll find that the industry is filled with interesting and funny people. While some individuals may be quiet, software development involves a range of social activities, including meetings, conversations, demonstrations, negotiations and even silly jokes and games. Happy hours and social events are also common, providing opportunities to connect with colleagues and build relationships.
Software development offers a unique balance of solo work and social interaction, allowing you to tailor your career to your social preferences. Whether you enjoy working in large teams or prefer a more individualistic approach, there are opportunities to collaborate and connect with others in the industry. So don't let the misconception that software development is a solitary pursuit discourage you from pursuing a career in this exciting and dynamic field.
3. You can be as creative as you want to be
Don't let anyone tell you that software development isn't a creative field. Some people argue that women are too artsy to be successful in this line of work, but the truth is that there's just as much art as there is science involved in programming. While it's true that there's creativity involved in designing user interfaces, there's also a great deal of artistry that goes into the code itself.
Anyone can write a program that performs a certain function, but the truly talented developers are the ones who can create software that's both functional and elegant. They're the ones who can make it easy to maintain and extend, and who can anticipate potential issues before they arise. Choosing what software to develop in the first place also requires a great deal of creativity. With so many options available, the possibilities for what you can create are virtually endless.
One of the things that I love most about software development is the feeling of satisfaction that comes from watching my creations come to life. Whether I'm building something simple or complex, there's always a sense of excitement that comes from seeing my code in action. And because software development is such a flexible field, I can tailor my career to the types of applications and development that interest me the most. It's like having a blank canvas, with endless possibilities for what I can create.
4. You can be as successful as you want to be
You can achieve any level of success you desire in software development. As long as there is a need for humans to develop software—which is likely to evolve, not diminish with the advent of sophisticated AI tools—your skills and expertise will be in demand. Gender should not limit your ability to create innovative solutions using software. With the right knowledge and a strong work ethic, you can build a lucrative and fulfilling career in software development. Don't be afraid to think big and aim high—software development has the potential to impact the world in profound ways. If you have a passion for solving big problems, there is no better time to start than now.
5. Because you can
There's an immense sense of pride and accomplishment in doing something that (some) people think you can't. You get to prove their assumptions wrong, everyday, without arguments or protests. You just smile every time you answer the question "What do you do?"
More software development FAQs
What are the benefits of pursuing a career in software development?
What skills are required to become a successful software developer?
How can women prepare for a career in software development?
What is the percentage of men vs women working as software engineers?
What are some helpful resources for female software engineers starting a career in the space?
At Brightspot, we work hard to ensure all developers are empowered to own projects and grow professionally. From our established mentorship program for junior developers to regularly identifying new leaders from our existing team, our female employees receive the same opportunities as their male counterparts to progress forward within their careers. Hiring talented women is the norm for us. We focus on recruiting the best talent with no filter on gender, race or nationality.
If you’re interested in working as a developer for Brightspot, you can browse and apply for our open positions on Careers page here.