Breaking the Bias Toward Women In Technology: International Women’s Day 2022

At Applause, we’re passionate about technology – our testers are dedicated to making sure software, websites and apps work right for everyone.

We think it should go without saying that “everyone” includes women. But in the world of tech, where Fortune reported women make up just about 25% of technology workers – and quit high tech jobs at more than twice the rate men do – women’s voices are often underrepresented in design and development.

This International Women’s Day, we’d like to celebrate some of the women that work in technology roles at Applause and in our uTest community. Meet a few of the women from around the world, learn about their career paths, and discover ways they’re excited to #breakthebias.

Jessica Ruesch, Sr. Solution Delivery Manager, Germany

Originally from the United States but now living in Berlin, Germany, Jessica joined Applause in April of 2016 as senior digital experience adviser, and then later was promoted to Senior SDM.

Q. Tell us a bit about your current occupation and the education or career path that led you there.

A. I am a solution delivery manager with Applause, which means I act as a strategic advisor for my large enterprise clients and help them to create flawless and intuitive digital user experiences for their customers. The path that brought me here was an indirect one as my educational background is actually in forensic psychology and neuroscience, so completely unrelated to QA or tech. After a myriad of different jobs and experiences, I came across Applause one day at a career fair and was intrigued by the concept of crowdtesting. Thus began my 5-year love affair with digital quality!

Q. Could you name a few challenges (or obstacles) women in the tech industry face?

A. The challenges faced by women in the tech industry do not differ greatly from those faced by women working in many other industries. I think most women have experienced at least one instance in their life where they felt left out or disvalued (e.g. being talked over in a meeting or having their opinions completely disregarded), simply because they were female. The biggest challenge that women face is this double standard of “likeability” and how it lends into assertiveness. For women, being assertive makes you unlikeable, but not being assertive won’t get you pay raises or promotions.

Q. What gets you excited about the future of women in the technology industry?

A. These are exciting times! It is great to see so many organizations and initiatives nowadays geared toward drawing more women into the industry and keeping them here. Finally, people are talking about women in tech and the value we bring, not just as consumers, but as employees and leaders too. I think women will continue to see better opportunities, better pay, and more chances for career progression in the years to come.

Q. How do you combat biases in the tech industry?

A. It is important to know your worth and what you bring to the table; have confidence and be comfortable with your skills. You should strive to be the best version of yourself, rather than someone else’s version of you. Learn how to say “no” and speak up when you witness bias. Making others aware of biased behavior (whether intentional or not) can be an uncomfortable experience, but an empowering one when you address these kinds of issues head-on.

Tammy Shipps, Full Stack Web Developer, United States
Tammy worked for Applause from 2013 through 2017, and rejoined the company in February 2020.

Q. Tell us a bit about your current occupation and the education or career path that led you there.

A. I am a senior full-stack web developer here at Applause, and I have 20 years of industry experience as of this year. In the beginning, I was a front-end developer with only some basic knowledge of anything else. However, I discovered that learning the back-end systems let me understand the front-end better, and from there, I just kept learning.

Q. Could you name a few challenges (or obstacles) women in the tech industry face?

A. I feel that there is still a stigma or stereotype around women in tech in general, and there's an expectation to look or act in a certain way. We find ourselves sometimes held to a different and invisible standard than our coworkers - and it can be very frustrating.

Q. What gets you excited about the future of women in the technology industry?

A. It's really great to see tech conferences and other industry spaces working towards the safety and inclusion of women. Information sharing is incredibly important, and I feel that by making these spaces safer, we are widening the availability of information, and protecting our STEM communities the way we should be.

Q. Do you anticipate any challenges for the next generation of women entering the tech industry?

A. The role of tech in world affairs is growing and changing every day, and this means a lot more change is coming, especially in the form of legislation. The next generation will be on the forefront of that change, and they will be the ones to guide it.

Karina Freire, Test Team Lead, Brazil

Karina has been a member of the uTest community since October 2018. Karina has worked in over 1,800 test cycles and submitted over 1,000 bugs.

Q. Tell us a bit about your current occupation and the education or career path that led you there.

A. Nowadays, I am a full-time QA Tester. But my degree is in product design. I still do some projects in the area of design but I consider the QA area my career today. It is what I have been paying the most attention to in my studies and efforts today.

Q. Why did you decide to join uTest?

A. As soon as I left college, I went to work in a real estate company as a management assistant. Unfortunately, that job made me unhappy. So, I begin a hunt looking for new ways of working with something that I would like more. I have always been very curious, and I discovered uTest during my research. As a lover of technology, it was a dream come true, being able to work with great tech players and work with what I like.

Q. How do you combat biases in the tech industry?

A. It may seem cliché, but the greatest weapon against that is knowledge. From the moment that women begin to understand the bases that support these biases within the tech industry, it will bring more capacity and notion in how to deal with such situations. Also, showing those who insist on thinking that women cannot be in the tech industry, how capable we are.

Q. What gets you excited about the future of women in the technology field?

A. What excites me more about the future is knowing that we are building a new reality in which women leaders are a real possibility, and that will continue to grow. I am sure that it will bring a new perspective with a focus on innovation, inclusion, and diversity. A huge step to bring us a whole new and exciting future.

Q. Could you name a few challenges that women in tech face?

A. Unfortunately, we still live in a society (I mean for Brazil and the Americas in general) that normalizes women's double work: taking care of family and children and working formally… All this without much help from their spouses and sometimes without understanding from those with whom they work.

In the current worldwide situation with COVID-19, companies have had to implement the home-office and, mainly in the tech field, this has proved to be a reality for the future. This subject is a challenge that we need to talk about as a society to find out ways to help these women.

Recently, I read an article regarding the number of scientific researches published during the pandemic. There was a drastic decrease in publication by women as a result from the double-work shift and how this can negatively impact their career.

Q. What do you wish you had known when you started your career in tech?

A. That I can ask for help. There are wonderful apps that help me optimize my work and organization is everything. I think that these tips, for my past self, would be something that would help me a lot. Since I started this path alone, just me and the internet. Being self-taught is very good. But without help, the chance of getting lost is sadly high. I speak from experience, and tell anyone who’s reading this: don't be afraid to make a mistake and ask for help. Learning from your errors and connecting with those who know, or have been through them, is the best path to your self-grown tech career.

Archana Kumar, Test Engineer, United States

Archana has been a member of the uTest community since September 2017. She has worked in over 3,000 test cycles and submitted over 1,800 bugs.

Q. Tell us a bit about your current occupation and the education or career path that led you there and why you decided to join uTest?

A. I am a test engineer here at Applause. I have an engineering degree. I started as a software test analyst at my first job with a tech company in India for a brief period before I had to move to the U.S. after I got married in 2007. I had to take a long break from my family since then and one fine day, after 10 years, my brother asked me to check out and see if it interested me. And then came my addiction to uTest or should I say, the fuel to my thirst of getting back to work! The convenience of working at my own pace and choosing to work on the products that I love makes me extremely happy with what I do here at Applause. So, hearty thanks to my brother for getting me to check out uTest and to all the people I have worked with so far on uTest. It's been a wonderful learning experience!

Q. What excites you about the future of women in the tech industry?

A. The growth opportunities and the possibility of moving into different roles offered to women is exciting. I have personally seen and experienced the success of moving up the ladder in my tenure here. I am very excited and proud to be in a team that has great diversity with several women in top-level management!

Q. What do you wish you had known when you started your career in tech?

A. Staying updated to the constantly growing technology was the key.

Applause and uTest are always looking for talented women. Learn about opportunities with the world’s largest community of freelance software testers or open positions at Applause.

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Bailey Apple
Senior Manager of Community
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