What Does It Mean To Be A Woman In STEM: 6 Lessons From The Women In Octahedroid

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Learn more about what it means to be a woman in STEM with the Octahedroid team as they share their stories, lessons learned along the way, and advice for other women in the field or those aspiring to be part of it.

Women in the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) are a crucial part of the global workforce, driving economic and societal growth over recent decades after overcoming centuries of restrictive norms and laws. According to the United Nations Development Programme, these contributions have been significant in shaping more resilient and inclusive economies.

However, based on current trends, the economic gender gap is projected to close in approximately 131 years, as per Women in Tech statistics. This indicates that, while progress has been made, much more effort is required to accelerate the pace of change and ensure a more significant impact.

We reached out to the women at Octahedroid to share their insights on what it means to be a woman in STEM and what others aspiring to join the industry can learn from their experiences in 2024.

Their stories and lessons go beyond career transitions; they're about redefining possibilities and breaking through barriers, both external and internal. They show the multifaceted challenges faced, the invaluable lessons learned, and the work we still have to do to make this world a better place.

To Be a Woman in STEM Means Courage: Rosa's Journey 

Rosa's transition from a biologist with dreams of scientific research to a career in tech shows all the courage needed to pivot during challenging times. For Rosa, the initial allure of a stable career in biology was marred by the harsh realities, high stress, and precarious financial stability reliant on elusive scholarships:

Gathering my courage, I decided to change course. I chose not to pursue a master's degree and instead enrolled in a programming bootcamp called Laboratoria. - Rosa López, Front-End Developer

Rosa chose to embrace change, stepping into the unknown world of programming through a bootcamp where she learned to code from scratch and met an incredible community of women who inspired her. Thanks to this life-changing experience, she was able to land her first job in tech and transform her financial situation. However, her journey was still not smooth sailing. Rosa had to overcome burnout and even being laid off during the COVID pandemic.

Luckily, Octahedroid found Rosa in time for her to join the team as a Front-End Developer, where she has found a support network that has helped her improve and continue to thrive professionally in tech.

Her advice? Be bold in the face of career shifts. The transition might be daunting, but the rewards of following a more fulfilling path outweigh the initial discomfort. Rosa emphasizes the importance of hands-on learning through bootcamps and the power of building a supportive community that can propel one forward in the tech world.
 

Rosa Lopez quote

To Be a Woman in STEM Means Commitment: Sam’s Journey

For Sam, the journey into tech was a blend of her scientific background and her newfound love for coding. Similar to Rosa's, Sam's story begins with a foundation in another science: biology. 

It was during the pandemic that she found the gateway to her career in development, showcasing the unpredictability of life and the opportunities that arise from adversity. 

Inspired by success stories of people who changed careers, I decided to dive into the world of programming, starting with basic courses and exploring progressively. 
- Sam Correa, Front-End Developer

Sam's initial struggles with the fear of being wrong and the overwhelming pressure of needing to know everything were surmounted by the realization that continuous learning is the cornerstone of success in the tech industry.

However, the mentorship and guidance she has provided to over 100 students transitioning into the tech world have made her realize that the key is not to learn everything, but to accept that it is okay not to have all the answers and to be willing to address and overcome the challenges that arise along the way.

Her transition to a Front-End Developer was not just about learning new languages but about integrating her analytical skills from biology to solve complex tech problems and make them easy to understand for others. Sam's journey highlights the importance of mentorship and the never-ending pursuit of knowledge in an ever-changing field.

The lesson Sam shares is about the importance of truly immersing in learning, as a student and mentor to others. Tech's ever-changing nature requires an ongoing commitment to education, and imparting knowledge to others can solidify one's own understanding and skills, and help more opportunities open up for women in STEM.

Sam Correa quote

To Be a Woman in STEM Means Reinvention: Betsy’s Journey

Betsy's journey from a passionate designer working with giants like The Walt Disney Company to reinventing herself as a Product Designer during the pandemic highlights the power of adaptability and continuous learning. With a rich background in design, she faced challenges during the pandemic, which threatened the stability of her career. 

The uncertainty of the time was strong, and I felt that my next step was to face new challenges outside my comfort zone to continue growing, expand my profile, and continue adding value according to new trends. - Betsy Amparan, Product Designer

Her decision to expand her skill set into UX/UI and web development amidst a crisis proves the importance of staying relevant and adaptable in the face of industry changes. She decided to enroll in academic programs that would give her the theoretical and practical skills she needed for the transition, opting to study for a Master's degree in Multimedia Design with a Focus on Web and Mobile Applications.

Betsy's challenges in keeping up with a rapidly evolving field highlight a common sentiment in tech: nobody ever feels fully prepared in an environment of continuous change. Yet Betsy's approach of constant learning, curiosity, and experimentation has served her as a guiding principle for overcoming these hurdles.

Her story shows the power of combining design and technology and offers insights into the value of interdisciplinary skills.

Betsy's advice to others is to embrace lifelong learning, stay adaptable, and celebrate all victories no matter how small. The rapid pace of technology requires a mindset of continuous skill development, the willingness to step out of one's comfort zone, and, of course, having fun.

 

Betsy Amparan quote

To Be a Woman in STEM Means Joy: Leslie’s Journey

Graduating from BUAP University with a specialization in Systems Engineering and Industrial Information Technology, Leslie's passion for understanding how technology works and its endless innovation shaped her academic and career choices.

Her journey was sparked by an exceptional teacher whose enthusiasm for the technological world inspired Leslie to go deeper into programming and explore new tools. Leslie's first professional programming project involved developing an inventory application for a coffee company, a challenge that allowed her to showcase her skills and learn from her experiences.

Throughout her life, Leslie faced significant challenges, including a profound lack of self-confidence. This internal struggle led her to second-guess her abilities, but with determination and perseverance, she overcame these doubts, opening herself up to new challenges.

For a long time, I doubted my abilities and skills... However, I managed to overcome this internal barrier and threw myself into new challenges. - Leslie Mendoza, QA Engineer

At Octahedroid, she has found a space for professional growth, new ideas, and contributing to the development of cutting-edge technologies. Leslie's current role at Octahedroid has introduced her to a vibrant and dynamic environment where learning and enthusiasm go hand in hand. What excites her most about her job is the new challenges, each day presenting an opportunity to tackle different problems and devise creative solutions.

Her lesson to share is about overcoming self-doubt. Believe in your potential and embrace the challenges that come with new opportunities. Every problem solved and project completed is a step toward mastering the tech landscape.

Leslie Mendoza quote

To Be a Woman in STEM Means Perseverance: Michelle’s Journey

With a solid background in Industrial Information Systems and Technology Engineering, Michelle was eager for a role where she could truly apply her tech knowledge. However, her journey wasn't straightforward; previous jobs often boxed her into administrative tasks, far from the tech-centric role she desired.

Then came Octahedroid, a place that felt different. Here, Michelle found herself thriving, able to leverage her skills and knowledge fully. The work culture at Octahedroid, characterized by respectful communication and constructive feedback, has been a breath of fresh air, fueling her enthusiasm for her work.

I hope my story helps and inspires other women to take a chance on entering the tech industry. - Michelle Aguilar, QA Engineer

Michelle's story highlights a crucial point for women in STEM: the importance of finding environments that not only recognize but also nurture their talents. 

The lesson she would share is to seek out and contribute to spaces that value growth and inclusivity, ensuring a more diverse and vibrant tech community.

Michelle Aguilar quote

To Be a Woman in STEM  Means Adaptability: Andrea’s Journey

Andrea's tech journey has taken her through diverse roles, starting from a foundation in Design and Production Advertising to leading roles in project management. 

Early in her career, her fascination with digital tools like Flash hinted at a deeper interest in technology. This curiosity led her to web design, where she quickly discovered a talent for leadership alongside her design skills.

The transition from design to web development, and eventually to project management, was a natural progression for Andrea, marrying her talents and skills. As a project manager, Andrea delved deeper into the development world, translating client needs into actionable tasks for her teams and ensuring projects aligned with customer expectations.

Throughout her journey, Andrea's diverse background became her strength, allowing her to seamlessly integrate design insights with software development. 

Navigating through different roles taught me the importance of adaptability and the value of integrating various perspectives - Andrea Aguilar, Project Manager

Andrea's journey underscores the notion that career paths are not linear but are rich tapestries woven from our experiences, interests, and skills. 

Andrea's advice is to forge your own path. Explore various interests, acquire diverse skills, and don't be afraid to blend seemingly unrelated fields. Success in tech, according to Andrea, comes from leveraging a unique mix of talents and continuously adapting to new challenges.

Andrea Aguilar quote

The Impact of Women in STEM

These women in STEM, each with their distinct backgrounds and unique challenges, share a common thread: the continuous pursuit of growth and the courage to redefine their career paths. 

Collectively, they paint a picture of the tech industry as a domain of endless possibilities, where challenges become stepping stones to greater achievements. 

The lessons these women offer extend beyond technical skills, emphasizing the importance of self-belief, resilience, and the support of a growing community. Their journeys are deep transformations offering invaluable insights for other women aiming to make their mark in the tech world.

Discover more about our initiatives to promote inclusivity and diversity in the tech industry in our article about Taking Pride in STEM here.

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