On the 13th of June, Ministry of Testing Athens held a meet up with six speakers talking about their experiences of being a woman in testing. Any extra questions will be going here.
Fotini: QA women can definitely lead but what happens after that ? Where can an extra equally exciting goal take you ? Let’s consider that you have already succeeded in achieving the top QA position at the industry and company of your choice. What is next? QA consultancy to other companies? Something else ?
To all: How do you find out if a company is a good place for women? Is there any questions on interview or some data online?
Herrera: From your experience do typically women succeed in a company when indeed there is a mixture of both sexes or have you found women succeed also in more old-fashioned companies where it is just like a military camp with almost all employees being men ? What have you observed ? Is it easy to explain why ?
Question to all: There is a kind of stereotype (or so I thought), that women in tech have to be more formal and to work harder than their male colleagues to be taken seriously. Unfortunately, I have now the impression that this stereotype is often true. What is your impression?
to any: Let’s consider that you are a woman and that you combine the smart, the beautiful and the successful. Why would you choose the IT industry specifically instead of working in other industries such as accounting, or sales or any other ?
To all: Do you have any tips for cover letters? I always feel mine are either too formal or too informal. I’ve been told so many times that it’s about the company not about yourself, so not using “I”. But how do you present and sell yourself without using “I”?..
Gwen: Extra kudos for managing to succeed on a traditionally boy’s playground! So your life moved from boring to exciting ? You got to enjoy travelling more ? In general what kind of impact did the transition, from the previous industries to the IT industry had in your life overall ?
To be honest one of the QA leader I had in the past was a woman, and she made me suffer, but I must also confess that it was definitely a learning experience. She taught me that 1) analytics matter, 2) to never assume anything and always test, 3) the human factor in QA and 4) that you don’t need to start with an engineering background to be a QA lead. So the question is: Could you provide more bullet points like the above that you have derived over the years ?
To any: Have you ever had such a high level of empathy that it has made your life at work hard? If so, how did you overcome it?
We all have to set the career campus to what makes us happy! We have to find the elements which makes us feeling passionate about to lead the way. And these elements can be at any role. QA consultancy, Scrum Master, Product Owener, Test Coach as Ileana mentioned! There are so many possibilities! Sky is the limit!
That is the case often, for example throughout my career, many people have asked me why is it I take notes in such a colourful way or with drawings in a meeting. They said it was a bit unprofessional, distracting and maybe there was a better way to do it. It took me a while to understand that sometimes this comes from envy, or people rejecting something that’s different. So I decided to prove my process and people saw why it was important to the process itself and to me and why it was not a professional/unprofessional thing.
So yes, sometimes we have to work harder to be taken seriously. On the bright side, I think this prepares us to have better founded answers and not be taken by surprise. Is it a bit exhausting sometimes? Yes. Is it worth it? Yes.
In my case, I found my passion in the IT industry . I studied business and accounting 2 years after high school but it just didn’t feel like MY thing.
I’ve observed women succeed in both scenarios thought each scenario carries it’s own difficulties. I believe everyone can participate in changing the mindset.
In my company there is a majority of men (25% of employees are women), but many women are growing and showing that we can take the lead on projects and more women are getting hired as well! . Fortunately the old-fashion mindset is changing.
Keypoints I’ve been following:
- Clean communication is key
- Seeking for clearance is important , don’t be afraid to ask. Better now than never.
- Keep everything socumented, you may need it someday
- Engineeting background is not a requirement to be a QA Lead (My personal example), but continuous learning is a MUST.
I blogged about my participation in women in testing meetup
You can also find the recording by MOT, let me know if you have any remaining question.