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.
Juliana Mello – Head of Marketing
Although Juliana has been with VCC Live for 3 years, she originally wasn’t planning on taking a position within the IT sector: “I was involved in commercial marketing before and VCC Live just appeared in my search results. Although I found myself in this field by chance, I plan to stay in the IT industry.”
Juliana came to Hungary from Brazil. Although she had achieved significant professional success in sales and marketing in her native country, she also found a variety of professional opportunities at VCC Live: “A good idea can always be communicated to management. Usually, your projects will find support. There is a lot of space to voice new ideas, shape existing processes, and ask questions. This is very important to me as well.”
We also asked Juliana what it’s like to be in a leadership position on a daily basis: “I’ve been in leadership positions for a very long time. I think the most important thing is to be able to develop strong emotional intelligence in the context of getting to know yourself. This will help you overcome imposter syndrome, which is common among professional women. It is also important not to take things personally. For me, it’s a daily struggle. Good mentors, especially good mentor women, can help in this process.”
Although Juliana is accustomed to getting her decisions across on a daily basis, she has some good advice for those who are still working on establishing a leadership role: “Don’t be too hard on yourself if you don’t succeed.”
Based on her lived experience, Juliana sees IT as a largely male-dominated field. Therefore, she considers it very important to strive for diversity: “For an IT company that is based on innovation, it is crucial to be diverse also in staffing. This is relevant not just in terms of gender, but also in relation to different social and educational backgrounds.”
Finally, we asked Juliana what she would say to women with leadership ambitions: “Gender stereotypes will be with us for a while. It is important that women do not feel that they must constantly conform to stereotypical female roles. This can be extremely cumbersome. If you have a strong personality, be honest with yourself and feel free to accept this part of your identity.”
Olga Christensen – Process & Project Manager
Innovation is perhaps one of the main themes in the work of Olga, who works as a process and project manager at VCC Live. Olga works to keep the company’s business operations under constant review, making sure that the company runs at maximum efficiency. Having been with VCC Live for a year, Olga says that it is primarily the community that made her decide to remain with the company:
“Values are not only posted on the wall, you feel it in the everyday culture of the company. The atmosphere is collegial, you feel that people are not working against but for one another. There is a sense of mutual support, even if we don’t always agree.”
The fact that Olga works in the IT field as a process manager was not self-evident: “Originally, I was trained as a linguist, so this is absolutely not my field. It was an accident that I found myself in the IT sector.” The opportunity to work in IT process management came up as an option when Olga worked for a pharmaceutical company:
“Here, too, processes had to be optimized. For this, however, it was necessary to get to know the IT operations of a pharmaceutical company in 10 different locations. It was there that I realized, there is a close connection between business and IT, which was very interesting to me. From then on, I became engaged in how these two aspects can be interlinked. I tried to shape my career accordingly. VCC Live was especially interesting for me, as both IT, project, and process management are combined in a single role.”
Olga is particularly fond of communicating with developers as she feels they have a common language. “My linguistic background is surprisingly useful here. Linguistics is also a system, and anyone who likes to think in systems can communicate well in IT. Of course, I don’t always know the background code for certain systems, but developers are always open to questions.”
When we asked Olga how she sees the situation of women in IT, Olga shared her personal experience: “During my professional career, I often had to persuade male leaders to reform processes deeply embedded in their organization. After several such experiences, I realized that in these situations, I need to gain trust from a handicapped position. Often, a woman who is sometimes younger and has less experience is not taken seriously. In such cases, objectivity is the key. If you rely only on objective facts, it is likely that you will be able to establish consensus at the end of the day.”
Virág Barbély – Brand Designer
Virág, who has been working for VCC Live for over a year now, also aims to place herself in areas of innovation. Before coming to VCC Live, Virág worked as a graphic designer at an event management company, and previous to that, among many things, she worked for several advertising agencies. When searching for her current position, Virág found it important to settle in a field that she saw as having a sustainable future. Additionally, it was important to her to find a company that was international and open to global trends.
According to Virág, it was initially challenging to immerse herself in the field of IT, due to the often unique and complicated specifications of B2B Saas software:
“Initially, it was challenging to start working at VCC Live from a graphic design point of view. The job required a lot of research and studying on my part, due to the very specific nature of the software. Not all of us are naturally coded to understand complicated software infrastructures. That being said, it is exactly because of its complicated nature, that I find, working with the software exciting. VCC Live has been an amazing learning curve for me. I have been able to grow professionally in my field, and take on very interesting design challenges. Saas marketing design offers a lot of avenues into new projects and emerging fields, as it’s a space of constant innovation.”
When arriving at the company, Virág took over the website design, a complex project involving various departments, as well as external business partners. This project was representative of the professional growth she experiences at VCC Live. Successfully managing such a complex design task debunked her initial fears of working with B2B Saas software.
Besides professional growth, the additional factors keeping Virág at the company involve the culture of the company itself: “I see VCC Live as a very human- faced company. It takes the personal needs of its employees very seriously. Before coming to VCC Live, I was unfamiliar with this attitude. Despite the fact that it’s a Hungarian company, it is extremely internationally oriented, the operations of the company on par with international standards.”
Given the nature of her design tasks, Virág often finds herself at meetings, where she is the only woman in the room, surrounded by management and the company’s developers. However, she is not intimidated by this: “Actually, I always anticipate these meetings, I find them exciting. It’s very refreshing to be in a room with people who are different from you. You can learn a lot from each other.” She does not find it challenging to work in a male-dominated environment, and adds that: “Regardless of what kind of environment you find yourself in, you always have to work on establishing your presence.”
When asked, what kind of advice she would give to women aiming to settle in the field of IT, or business tech, Virág replied that: “You should definitely try yourself out in new fields. You might learn something that was originally not coded into you, and you will find yourself that much more of a person, in terms of skills, life experience, and understanding. It’s always an immense opportunity to get the chance to learn something new.”
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.