Meet our Women in Tech and Data Science
It’s safe to say that, especially in the last few years, women have proved the impact they can have when they stand together ─ whether that’s in the entertainment industry, a business setting or in the tech world. We’re proud to have our own community of women in tech and data science to help us break the mould in an industry that has infamously been dominated by men. We asked a few of our engineers and data scientists about their experience and how they ended up at a tech company!
Life at trivago: What influenced you to pursue a career in tech?
Claudia Kraft: In my first years in school I developed an interest in math. During that time we sometimes played a logic game on our computers in school. I enjoyed that a lot and one day my dad asked me if I would like to try to develop such a game by myself. He worked as a software engineer and together we coded a super simple copy of that game that I used to play in school. Of course he did most of the stuff by himself, but he tried his best to explain as much as possible to me. It was not important for me that I couldn’t understand every line of the code or that I didn’t understand what was happening in the background ─ I just enjoyed experimenting with different kind of commands. “What happens if I change this number?“ I liked the possibility of just trying stuff out, without the risk of breaking anything. Driven by these experiences, I took computer science classes in school, enjoyed it and then decided to also study something in this area.
LAT: How have you experienced being a women in tech at trivago?
Laura Bennett: At trivago, I have the advantage of being able to work alongside so many other successful women working in tech. Seeing other women fight, grow and succeed within the industry has been an invaluable motivator and I’ve learned that I should be myself and trust my instincts and abilities. I’ve discovered that many of my more feminine characteristics are actually some of my greatest strengths, and of course, they feel much more natural to me, so I can focus more on the task at hand than what my body language might be saying.
Now I work in a mixed team of over 10 different nationalities, of both genders and of multiple generations. Every day I enjoy the diversity in thinking and the different perspectives, strengths and sensibilities my team members bring to provide a broader view to help us come up with fresh ideas and creative solutions to problems. Hiring more women, as well as people of different ages, ethnicities and cultural backgrounds, isn’t just the fair thing to do; it’s essential for a company’s success.
LAT: Did you always know that working in tech/data science was what you wanted to do? How did you decide to go into tech?
Divya Soni: When I was a kid, I thought of being everything except a tech person ─ this included being a fashion designer, teacher and doctor! But while studying computer-related subjects, my interest in computers grew and grew so much that I eventually ended up studying computer engineering. To get meaning out of data is what drove me to where I am. I have worked as ETL Engineer, Data Analyst and now a reporting engineer ─ all of which are quite data-oriented topics and something I love working on.
LAT: What do you think is the best part of being a woman in the tech industry?
Adriana Zencke: The best part is that we can learn new things all the time ─ the environment using cutting-edge technology is never boring. The freedom and opportunity to work flexible hours give us the power to follow our dreams career wise, while being also a mother. To be a woman in tech company is certainly a challenge, but we feel really welcome. Also, it is funny how people get surprised outside of tech when they find out that I am a Software Developer. I try to explain that each year we see more women in the area, and I am sure that someday there will be as many women as men in tech. Software development is not different to any other area, and the only thing that is required for someone to get in, is will.
LAT: Do you notice a lack of women in technology? If so, why do you think that’s the case and what do you think companies can do to change this?
Ivana Petrovic: It is very obvious that there is still a big misbalance in the female/male ratio in tech. It’s hard to say exactly why, because there are many individual cases. But I think in general it’s the problem of genderfication that usually starts early in most people’s lives ─ like expectations that parents have, intentionally or not, towards their children. For example, pink is for girls, blue is for boys, dolls vs. cars etc. At an adolescent age, that can affect a person’s choice in their career. Health, beauty, fashion vs. driving, physics, engineering etc. All of the jobs that are unfortunately still labelled as “female” or “male” oriented. I like to think that it’s getting better; that people are more aware of this problem. But it depends on the society very much, so we should keep talking about it.
Another thing that I noticed can influence a person is this picture in their minds of who are tech people, that you have to be this super smart person to be able to become a software engineer. So a lot of people don’t think they are good enough and because of this lack of confidence, they choose something else. This is another stereotype that we need to break. It’s up to us, the individuals, to spread the awareness, but also the tech companies out there who need to show that tech can be a very interesting choice of career, and that females have the same chance to succeed as men.
LAT: What advice would you give to a woman considering a career in the tech industry? What do you wish you had known?
Irina Lipovaya: I would advise women who chose a career in the tech industry to be confident in themselves. There is a bias that the tech industry is for men only. It can cause women to be afraid to speak up (“What if I say something stupid?”) or to have a lack of self-confidence. But the thing is, everybody can say something wrong and it doesn’t depend on a gender. You don’t make any mistakes if you don’t do anything. And if you’re not confident and don’t believe in yourself, you most probably don’t achieve any results. To feel that you need some support is fine. Just look for people who will inspire and motivate you!
LAT: What are some of the biggest challenges that women who want to venture in the world of technology face today?
Maren Iani: The world of technology moves quick and new technologies emerge constantly. This means you have the opportunity to constantly learn and broaden your horizon. This is not always easy, but it’s also what I love about working in tech. I learn something new almost every day. Well, yes, this should be the same for men though. I do not see any women-specific challenges other than removing the perception that technology is something “male” in everybody’s mind. If women want to work in the world of tech, they should trust in themselves and go for it. There is no reason not to do so!
LAT: What’s the most exciting part of working for a tech company?
Adriana Aymerich: The most exciting part of working in a tech company is not only one thing, but the combination of having challenges that make you grow and learn everyday. At trivago we are empowered to make decisions and choose your path, your tech stack, and to experiment and create with different teams and technologies.
LAT: How do you think trivago compares to other similar companies that you’ve either worked for or you’re aware of in terms of empowering women in tech?
Jessica King: In my career as a UI/UX Developer, I’ve honestly never had the pleasure of working alongside too many female developers. trivago is the first organisation I’ve been able to work with not just a few, but many gifted women in our tech department. That alone, for me at least, has made trivago a very special place. Aside from the diversity I enjoy in this company, I feel empowered and respected in my position as a developer. I’ve had, and continue to have, the opportunity to organise and participate in our Women in Tech initiatives, something that I truly feel has a very important role in the inclusive environment and culture trivago has cultivated.
LAT: What’s your favourite Women in Tech/Data Science event, platform or network that you’re part of or have been part of. Why?
Varsha Lalwani: If I only have to pick one, I would say DataKind was one of my favorite Data Science communities that I have been a part of as a core team volunteer for their Bangalore chapter when I was still in India. It was a platform to connect NGOs and non-profit social organizations with skilled data scientists who would volunteer their time trying to make world a better place by solving social problems with data. It was this diverse and inclusive set of highly motivated individuals who would easily spend their whole weekend to work on things that mattered that made it one of the most memorable and humbling experiences for me.
If I could cheat and mention a few more events or communities, I would pick Google’s Women Techmakers community which is pretty active on their slack workspaces for women in different stages of their tech or tech leadership career. I would also like to mention communities like Women in Big Data which are gaining popularity and momentum in various locations all across the globe ─ Düsseldorf being one of them ─ and I learn something new in each of their meetups!
Although I haven’t been to any of their events yet, I do follow AnitaB.org and their Grace Hopper Celebration conferences whenever possible and it never ceases to leave me motivated and hungry to achieve more when I listen to all these accomplished women share their success stories on such a huge platform.
LAT: Who are your role models for women in tech? Who are some leaders in the tech industry who you watch or appreciate?
Nicole Mckee: One of my biggest role models is someone I had the pleasure of working with in a previous company, Ailis Mone. Ailis co-founded EstHer, a blockchain-based app which enables pocket-to-pocket charitable giving to help the poorest people in Belfast. She accomplished this whilst working full time in a consultancy firm ─ and she is still doing both! Ailis and Carol Rossborough (CEO of EstHer) were able to utilise a relatively new technology to do something super important ─ make an amazing impact on some of the most vulnerable people in our society. It was a complete joy to work with such a positive and driven person, and I have no doubt that EstHer will continue to grow and Ailis will continue being awesome.
Thanks for sharing your insights and experiences! This was just a handful of our strong and empowering women in tech at trivago ─ shout-out to all the rest of you who are constantly challenging the status quo and making an impact through your everyday work and contributions!