Percipio.London: International Women’s Day 2021 – Women in Code

Stuart Byford
Stefanie Gevaert

Blog by Stuart Byford and Stefanie Gevaert
on the

International Women’s Day 2021 – Women in Code

To celebrate International Women’s Day 2021, we spoke to our excellent female developer, Stefanie, to ask how she got into development and find out what advice she would give to other women who wanted to get into the industry.

What made you want to get into the dev industry?

I studied to become an administrative assistant in high school while still figuring out what I wanted to do after school. I didn’t know if I wanted a job right away or go to college, until one day I got involved in a project where we needed to make a simple website. So I started working with MS Frontpage, and I liked it. At that point, I knew I wanted to work with websites.

What dev languages do you specialise in?

I’m focusing on Frontend Development mainly but have been trying to get to know some Back-end Development for the past couple of months. On the frontend, I mainly focus on CraftCMS like Twig templating along with Tailwind and some Vue.js work. I think this also changes from time to time, depending on the project. I’m trying to get into the Yii framework as well, so I’m hoping to specialise in that.

Did you find it easy to get your first opportunity as a dev, and did you face any challenges along the way?

I was blessed to find an internship in my last year of college, where I had the opportunity to start my working career. So I took a head start on that, and I’m thankful. The awesome part was, there was already a female dev in the team, from which I learnt a lot. 

Even when I started freelancing, I did not feel I needed to prove myself — in fact, most people wanted to get to know me as a female dev. I never thought of being a female dev as a disadvantage. Maybe that’s the key when you go and have an interview, seeing it as only a positive thing.

What do you enjoy most about being a developer?

Every day and every project is different. Even after all these years, I still find challenges, which makes it so awesome. One day you’re converting a design into components, and the other day you’re working on an API adding content. Some days I go out of my comfort zone and seek new possible ways to reach my goals.

Every new project is a new blank canvas to start fresh, which keeps me motivated every single time. Also, each client is different. It helps to find a way to work together, which is sometimes challenging but also rewarding.

What have been your highlights of being a dev so far?

I think the most satisfying thing for every dev is to see the project you’ve been working on for a couple of weeks (even months) going live. The vibe you create with your teammates achieving a deadline is still a great feeling to have!

To be more specific, I’d say becoming a freelancer and getting me out of my comfort zone, taking away stability so I could go seeking new adventures. Getting to know so many people in the field is nice.

Also, being a dev at Percipio is another highlight. I have only worked for Belgian companies before Percipio, so this was my first adventure working abroad. Another huge step to make and a leap of faith. I have had the opportunity to meet awesome new people and work on different projects.

Are there any projects you’ve been excited about being a part of?

I think that would be my first job ever. That was a campaign for Mercedes Belgium called Behind The Sites”. The campaign video is still on Youtube.

I remembered my first meeting for that project. I was super insecure but didn’t want to show it. Having all the important people in that meeting, people from Mercedes and the marketing agency in front of me was a bit scary. But they had faith in our team, which included me, so that gave me confidence.

Mercedes-Benz A-Class Behind The Sites (English)

What do you think could be done to encourage more women to join the industry, and is there anything you would do to improve it?

I think there’s already a change in the field. If you look at conferences, there are more female speakers now. More can always be done, but we are going in the right direction.

Our youth is also more into technology from a younger age now, and maybe if coding was introduced to children in fun ways at an earlier age, girls would be able to see that they can do it. All children could also have more of an introduction to coding in schools. It is all about starting at an early age, creating interests for the kids and letting them know how fun coding can be.

Are there any women in the industry that you look up to or follow the careers of?

All the women devs I know personally, but there was a teacher at my college if I had to choose. She made me believe there’s room for women devs to get a job and be good at it.

Also, at my first job, I worked with a female backend developer. Back in those days, we were a small company and most of the website we did only with the two of us. That was awesome!

I also follow these Instagram profiles:
https://www.instagram.com/womenwhocode/ – Women Who Code puts more women coders in the picture.
https://www.instagram.com/girlswhocode/ – This one mainly has motivational quotes, which is fun.

I also bumped into https://www.womendotcode.be/ which is a Belgian community for female devs. I’ve also joined the discord community recently and looking forward to joining some of their events as well.

What advice would you give to women who want a career in dev?

The key is, don’t think because you’re a female dev, you have a weakness. See it as a strength because we are unique in the dev world. We can make a difference, more than we think. Indeed, you may experience some setbacks and unpleasant situations, but I promise, 99% are positive reactions! Many agencies and companies are seeking female developers, and they’re needed. So go out and rule the dev world!

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