Women in Tech Series 1: Women at VCC Live Share Their Paths in Making Tech More Diverse

December 08, 2020

Despite the wide range of careers and professional opportunities available in the IT sector, there are still surprisingly few women choosing this field. Researching the problem, cloud-contact software provider, VCC Live’s marketing team asked the company’s female staff to share their experiences in this area. We hoped to gain insight into their professional advancement and map the opportunities that the IT sector has to offer.

Anikó Illés – Software Sales Manager

Anikó decided to pursue a career in IT, after having tried herself out in several other industries. According to Anikó, she wanted to work in a field that was future-proof and innovative.

“In my previous job, I came across the concept of digital transformation and understood that this process fundamentally changes the way companies operate, and will continue to do so. This implies changes not just in organizational structures, but also changes in the way that we think about work and, more broadly, our daily lives. I definitely wanted to connect with the world that is shaping our future so much. VCC Live was one of the first cloud-based tech providers in the region, achieving significant international success in a specialized area. I see VCC as a prosperous company with global growth potential that has the competence to measure up to similar international players in both its corporate culture and in the opportunities it has to offer. In addition, I found a supportive, partnership-building, human-faced organization here.”

In terms of professional development, it is important for Anikó to think not only vertically but also horizontally. In this respect, VCC Live measures up to these standards, as it is a moving organization where there is a constant opportunity for professional development. As a sales manager, Anikó had the opportunity to hone her communication with foreign clients, get introduced to countless industries, and learn about diverse sales methods.

We also asked Anikó how she sees her presence in this field, and we received the answer that she does not perceive discrimination against women on a personal level. However, she thinks there may be differences at higher levels.

“There are still many negative stereotypes surrounding female leaders in Hungary.” In Anikó’s view, men are better accepted in this role. “There should be more female role models, especially in technology”, she added.

In addition to her role at VCC Live, Anikó is one of the founding members of ShareIT-Lab, a  non-profit organization, which aims to help women start their careers, change careers and succeed in the field of digital technology.

“While women’s activity in higher education and the labor market is growing in the economy, if we look at digital jobs, we see that the proportion of women is still low and has not seemed to move for years.”

Anikó sees more and more women consciously looking for a place professionally, for whom IT can be a particularly attractive area, both in terms of higher wages, flexible working hours, home office, or career opportunities. “Career change in the IT field is often linked to life events where the need to be more secure in the labor market comes to the fore. For example, when someone wants a secure background due to their age, children, the current pandemic situation, or simply looking for more opportunities.”

Horváth Magda – Key Account Manager

Flexibility was especially important for Magda, who has recently become a mother after 5 years at the VCC Live team. “It’s great to have a direct, family relationship with my supervisor and bosses. They knew I wanted to start a family at one point and that wasn’t a problem. My maternity leave wasn’t too long and I definitely wanted to come back to work, at least part time.

In addition to working part-time at home, Magda gravitated towards IT for several reasons. Although she studied economics in Warsaw, Magda found working in IT an exciting challenge. “I think I chose this area because I’ve always found women who don’t do typical female work very inspiring. I think it takes a lot of courage for a woman to survive in this male world. I also liked the idea of always finding myself facing challenges and exceeding the expectations of others and myself. ”

Magda chose the VCC Live team because she knew she had the opportunity for professional development and challenges. “At first, I was in a customer support position because usually everyone starts from there. However, due to my studies and interests, I communicated to the company in the beginning that I would like this not to be my last position. I knew the development opportunities within the company and I understood that I had the opportunity to be named key account manager. It took a few months for me to be promoted. If I would want to, I can also move on to other levels, such as product ownership or UX-oriented positions.”

Functioning as a woman in areas that are generally male-dominated, Magda faced several challenges. “I was relatively young when I joined the company. This, combined with being a woman, didn’t really help. At first, it wasn’t easy to assert my point of view. But it didn’t really last long at VCC. Although not everyone liked my honesty and comments in the beginning, after a while I earned trust. In such cases, the key word is patience.”

When we talked about how it feels to communicate with developers and negotiate technical topics with no formal technical training, Magda made an interesting remark: “Regardless of gender, we just have to be precise in order to understand each other. Sometimes I feel like I’m a translator from English to English. From Business to IT.”

Niki Simon – Deputy Head of Customer Care

Similar to Magda, communication is very important to Niki. As Head of Customer Care, Niki needs to see through all the details and methods of customer communication. Niki has been with VCC Live for 8 years, although she has previously been in the communications field as a contact center supervisor. Niki’s long-term commitment to the company can be attributed to opportunities for professional development that the company has to offer and the company’s familiarity and flexibility.

“Overall, the team is very good. I felt that the company provided a high degree of security. It was also very important for me to be able to discuss anything with the company. If I say I need two weeks off from tomorrow, I know I’m going to get those two weeks. Obviously there are frameworks and rules, but if you communicate your problems, they are sure to be heard.”

Talking about professional support, Niki also discussed, “If I wanted to take a course related to my field, I could start tomorrow.”

Niki was also asked how it feels to manage a whole team of men as a woman. “Regardless of gender, I think the problem behind most conflicts is that we don’t always know what the main direction or consensus is with regards to a project.  It’s important to constantly discuss and update each other and plan again if necessary.”

Of course, it is not new to see women in leadership or professional positions. However, this is often still challenging, be it in the context of socialization, motherhood, or day-to-day communication. As with everything, perhaps the keywords are patience and perseverance, or the discovery of a supportive community, like VCC Live.

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