A couple of days ago I came across this article in AdevaIt discussing the presence of women in the tech field. I found some of the stats mentioned shocking. It states that women present only 25% of the jobs in the computing field, and from this percentage, only 5% hold leadership positions in the tech industry.
While reflecting on these numbers I realized that at Instabug we have amazing examples of women working really hard and making a huge impact at one of the growing startups in Egypt.
So I decided to go around the office and ask a couple of my female colleagues about their opinions and get their perspective of working in the tech industry.
Why do they choose to work in the tech industry?
I was curious to know some of the reasons behind choosing a career that the stats show isn’t particularly popular amongst women. So I asked Salma Nabeel our Quality Control Lead and Pakinam El-Banna one of our frontend developers.
Salma: “It all started with my love of Math! Yeah, you didn’t expect that, but I was so into solving a problem and then investing in how this would be done in a more innovative yet still efficient way. The tech industry is very interesting when it comes to how fast it is evolving to meet the users/customers’ needs but actually it shapes their needs at some point. It controls the world in a way, and you can see your impact directly. It’s a joy to me!”
Pakinam: who shifted her career to software development: “I did not come from a computer science background, I worked as a designer for a decade and studied nuclear physics. Although I loved both fields, at some point in my life I came across coding. At the time, it felt like an interesting thing to try out and it engaged my brain in all the right ways. I felt entertained and started contemplating the idea of a career shift although I had my own business running for years. One day I asked myself a few questions: “Is this a try out phase? Are you distracting yourself from something? If you were to spend the rest of your time passionately doing something, would that be it?” And I got my answers.”
How does it feel to be one of the ladies leading a team at Instabug?
Salma: “I feel proud! Extremely proud. Everyone is very talented and special, they always raise the bar and seek perfection. I honestly learn from them every single day. This is one of the great experiences and challenges that I have been through on so many levels.”
Maha Haidar our Customer Happiness lead: “Doing the job that I do is very challenging, I am resolving customers’ issues every day while trying to win their hearts. Meeting the market demands, customer needs and achieving your targets can be very challenging sometimes. But where’s the fun without a little challenge! I feel proud, unique and on top of all successful! Being a part of Instabug a rising star from Egypt that is conquering the market worldwide is just priceless!”
Yasmine Helmy our Growth Marketing lead, one of the very early joiners at Instabug: “Where do I begin? I remember my first day at Instabug 5 years ago when it was just a small team of developers (all males) along with the co-founders. Talk about intimidation being the only female in the company surrounded by super smart engineers. Contrary to my fears, the team was super supportive, always lending a helping hand, and it was quite amusing getting to challenge ourselves to figure out the things we have in common as opposed to being on the different ends of the spectrum in most aspects of life. It wasn’t long before more team members started joining and with every new person came with something new to learn from. What I like about the people at Instabug is that everyone has ownership irrespective of gender and age. We’re all here to make it happen!”
Nadeen Zohair one of our Growth Marketeers added: “It feels empowering to work in a company that strongly supports and believes in the potential of women in the tech field. Women are already on their way to conquer the tech field and I’m proud of their progress so far and glad to be part of the conquest. Since I handle mainly the business side of things and I’m not a heavy coder, one of the biggest challenges I personally tend to face is trying to change the engineers’ perception and show them that I actually don’t need an engineering degree to understand their language.”
There is still a long road ahead when it comes to diversity in the tech industry.
What can the tech sector as a whole do to embrace more women?
Yasmine: “To be completely honest, I didn’t even start at Instabug as a developer or an engineer. I came from a business background and I was far from being tech-savvy. The only thing that mattered then is that I was willing to roll up my sleeves and learn on the job. I think the quote “if there’s a will then there’s a way” applies in this case, the tech sector, and generally everywhere. Instabug being a tech company at its core has bet on many of its members with the belief that diversity will bring us forward, and I think if everyone adopted this mentality, embracing females would come naturally.”
Pakinam: “I think women in general and especially young women should embrace the tech field more. I believe that anyone who enjoys doing something should always do it, excel at it, and never be intimidated by being a minority of any sort. It’s a bit of a self-feeding loop where women are discouraged from the industry because of the few women in the industry. This false ‘Brogrammer’ culture actively discourages women from entering the field. There is a lot that can be done from all aspects of the industry, but women need to keep following their dreams and not be intimidated by stigma. After all, big companies hire and promote talents, not genders. People shouldn’t bother with a company that does otherwise.”
Ahmed Aboutaleb our VP of Engineering and a veteran member of the tech industry: “It is not a surprise that women excel in the tech industry and they have a very bright future in the domain. Attention to detail, emotional Intelligence and perfectionism are among the key values that females are adding to the teams they are working with. And the same value is visible here in Egypt as well.”
What are the misconceptions you've heard about women in the tech field?
Nadeen: “A few misconceptions I’ve heard floating around a lot and I find ridiculous are:
Women aren’t engineered for computer science, math, or coding as men are.
You need to have an engineering degree to work in a tech environment.
Tech jobs aren’t for social or extroverted women.
Young women aren’t usually interested in tech.
Women wouldn’t know how to overcome masculinity in the tech field.”
Reflecting on all the answers above, the need for closing the gap is increasing day by day. Businesses are benefiting from having more diverse and inclusive cultures that it’s becoming something crucial. For this Women’s International Day we wanted to share with you the thoughts of some of our Instabug’s inspiring women to shed a positive light on the future of the industry. It’s our role collectively to fight any stigmas, misconceptions, stereotypes or any kind of bias to push for more inclusion and ensuring a more equal world. Happy International Women’s Day for all the inspiring and aspiring ladies out there! #EachforEqual