Breaking Barriers: Inspiring Women in Tech - A Tribute to International Women's Day

Breaking Barriers: Inspiring Women in Tech - A Tribute to International Women's Day

Featuring Women Who Code Singapore and Beyond

In honor of International Women's Day, I am thrilled to shine a spotlight on the remarkable women shaping the tech landscape, both within Women Who Code Singapore and beyond. Join me as we delve into inspiring stories, celebrate achievements, and champion diversity in the tech industry. Happy International Women's Day!

Prashanthi Balakrishnan, Data Engineer

Challenges/achievements in current role

I currently work as a Data Engineer at Meta, Singapore and a lot of my work involves building data products/ data assets to facilitate analytics and influence business decisions. Through Data Engineering in Analytics, I get to work closely with leadership on how they strategize the business.

One of the personal challenges I’ve faced in my career has been in trying to make sense of huge volumes of data and tables when I started working on a new field of business. I’ve spent days trying to understand the data until realizing that “asking for help” is a huge tool I was not leveraging.

Be it understanding the business use cases or understanding new data or a Python error I can’t resolve, talking to someone who has knowledge about it, is a HUGE head start (chances are they might have faced the same issues you’re going through).

How she got into Tech

I started my journey as a Data Engineer with PayPal, Chennai, India. And after 3 years of working with Financial data, I decided to change my field of business and ended up here, as a Data Engineer at Meta, Singapore.

Though Data Engineering was not my first field of choice (I mean who doesn’t fantasize being a SWE as a Comp.Sci. Uni kid?) as I progressed in my career, I started to fall in love with how one can influence business decisions when you sit closer to data.

I personally enjoy figuring out the smallest details in data which can create huge changes/differences, and building data products that make the lives of people easier on a day-to-day basis.

Advice for women going into tech

My perception of tech roles in Uni was that, all I need to do to be successful in my career is learn every possible tech stack and be able to write A LOT of code. But reality is that most of the tech roles are a lot more than “just coding”. A lot of your success depends on if you have the ability and attitude to collaborate with the right people to get the job done. Your soft skills are as important as your tech skills.

My advice to women going into tech or looking to make a switch to tech - “The tech industry is vast, with lots of niche roles you can cater for yourself. Don't be afraid to pursue tech jobs, because you think coding is difficult or that is all that you will be doing all day (it is a choice though). Coding is after all the easiest part of this job.”

Thulisie Sibanda, Open Source Community Manager

Challenges/achievements in current role

One of my most fulfilling experiences was finding a job that allowed me to do what I love: being an open-source community manager. I've been passionate about open source for a long time, and I'm proud of having the opportunity to work full-time in this field.

Dealing with imposter syndrome was a challenge when I began my role. There were times I took on too much workload and didn't ask for help because I thought it would make me look incompetent. But I'm grateful for the support I've received, and I've learned to take a break and ask for help when needed. Imposter syndrome will never completely disappear, but I've learned to overcome it, ask for help, and not take on more tasks than I can handle.

My greatest achievement is being able to use my role and influence as a community manager to help foster an inclusive and diverse community. I'm in a better position to help others and guide them on how to navigate open source contributions, and even show that there is more to open source than just free contributions - you can get paid and build your career.

How she got into Tech

Tech has been something that I have loved ever since I was in primary school while doing computer lessons. However, I couldn't pursue it then because it was not considered an ideal career path for women, and with the lack of funds at home. My passion for tech was rekindled when the pandemic hit, and everything was shut down.

Although I loved my previous job, as it allowed me to interact with diverse people from different cultures, I always felt that there was more that I wanted to do, something that would give me purpose. I had enough time to retrospect and think deeply about what I wanted to do with my life, and the rest was history.

What I enjoy most about tech is being able to do something that I love and being a lifelong learner while getting paid, of course. Finally, I would like to thank everyone who dedicates their time to share free resources on the internet. You might not know this, but you're impacting and changing someone else's life out there.

Advice for women going into tech

My advice to women who are entering the tech industry is that it won't be easy. There will be times when it feels difficult, and you may even lose your sense of purpose. However, I encourage you not to give up because it will all be worth it in the end. Make sure to find a community of like-minded people, join it, and be an active participant. Share your opinions, volunteer for different activities, and, most importantly, be your biggest cheerleader.

Maneo Mapharisa,Women TechMakers Regional Lead


A Journey Fueled by Passion and Purpose

Maneo's love affair with technology began early in life. From tinkering with gadgets to exploring coding languages, she was drawn to the endless possibilities that technology offered. This fascination blossomed into a lifelong passion, propelling her into the world of tech with unwavering determination. Navigating the tech landscape wasn't always easy. Maneo faced her fair share of challenges, from battling imposter syndrome to overcoming stereotypes in a male-dominated field. Yet, with grit and perseverance, she turned each obstacle into an opportunity for growth, emerging stronger and more resilient with every hurdle crossed.

Contributions and Achievements: Empowering Through Leadership

Maneo's impact in the tech industry extends far beyond her professional achievements. As a mentor at DHL and Google, she has dedicated herself to nurturing the next generation of technologists, empowering them to reach their full potential. Her work as a Women Techmakers Ambassador amplifies her commitment to championing diversity and inclusion in tech, ensuring that voices from all backgrounds are heard and valued.

Founding the Girls Coding Academy was a pivotal moment in Maneo's journey, providing a platform for young women to explore and excel in STEM fields. Through her tireless efforts, she is breaking down barriers and inspiring a new generation of female leaders in tech. In her role as an Applications Developer at Revenue Services Lesotho, Maneo leverages her technical expertise to drive innovation and efficiency. Meanwhile, as the Lead Organizer of the Google Developers Group Maseru, she fosters a vibrant community of developers, sharing knowledge and expertise to fuel collective growth.

Advice for Aspiring Women in Tech

To women entering the tech industry or pursuing technical roles, Maneo offers the following advice:

Believe in Yourself: You are capable of achieving anything you set your mind to. Embrace your unique strengths and talents, and never underestimate your potential.

Seek Mentorship: Surround yourself with mentors and allies who can offer guidance and support. Their insights and experiences will be invaluable as you navigate your journey in tech.

Embrace Challenges: Don't be afraid to step out of your comfort zone and take on new challenges. Each obstacle is an opportunity for growth and learning.

Insha Ramin, Developer Advocate


Journey in Tech

I'm Insha Ramin, a WTM ambassador and Developer Advocate hailing from India. My journey in the tech industry spans over three years, during which I've had the privilege to contribute significantly to building developer communities. Through over 20 tech talks delivered across India, I've had the opportunity to inspire and empower aspiring developers. During my tenure as the Head of Developer Relations India at Showwcase, I had the privilege of spearheading initiatives that propelled significant growth within our developer community.

Through strategic initiatives centered around active engagement, fostering open dialogue, and implementing a robust feedback loop process, led to a remarkable growth in our developer community, we witnessed a surge of 100,000 developers joining the platform. Prior to that, I served as a DevRel at Dasha where the team made significant contributions by educating developers about conversational AI.

What I enjoy most about being in tech is the constant learning and innovation. Technology is always evolving, presenting new challenges and opportunities for growth. Moreover, the collaborative nature of the tech community is incredibly rewarding. I've had the privilege of working with talented individuals from diverse backgrounds, coming together to tackle complex problems and drive meaningful change. Moreover, the ability to leverage technology for positive impact is a driving force for me. Whether it's contributing to open-source projects, mentoring others, or advocating for diversity and inclusion in tech, I find fulfillment in using my skills to make a meaningful difference.

How she overcame challenges

One of the biggest challenges I faced early in my career was the fear of public speaking. As an introvert, the thought of standing in front of a crowd and delivering a tech talk filled me with anxiety. I decided to start small by participating in local meetups and gradually worked my way up to larger events. Each time I faced my fear head-on, it became a little easier, and eventually, I found myself thriving on stage, sharing my knowledge and experiences with others.

The transition from a behind-the-scenes contributor to a visible advocate for developers was far from easy, with self-doubt and imposter syndrome lurking at every turn.

Advice for Aspiring Women in Tech

The tech industry is constantly evolving, so it's essential to adopt a mindset of continuous learning and growth. Building a career in tech can be challenging, with setbacks and obstacles along the way. Find what truly excites you within the tech field and pursue it wholeheartedly. Seek out individuals who can offer guidance, advice, and encouragement as you navigate your career path. Mentorship can be invaluable in providing insights, networking opportunities, and navigating challenges.

Take initiative in showcasing your skills, expertise, and accomplishments. Contribute to open-source projects, participate in tech communities, and share your knowledge through blogs, talks, or social media. Being visible and vocal about your achievements will help you establish credibility and attract opportunities. Don’t let imposter syndrome take over, be easy on yourself and keep moving forward.

Ayu Adiati, Open Source Team Lead


Journey in Tech

My first journey into tech was when I wanted to have a website to share my photography hobby and write about my experience living abroad with a toddler. I told a friend of mine about this, and she suggested creating my own website. And that was when I bumped into freeCodeCamp. Since "Hello World" on HTML rendered the first time, the rest was history.

How she overcame challenges

This journey was never without challenges. I started to learn coding when my daughter was 2 years old. So, I had to make time to learn in between her nap times and late at night. Most of the time, I already felt exhausted. But I pushed through by participating in 100DaysOfCode and posted my journey on Twitter. And being self-taught also came with its own challenge. I had no one to talk with or share my ups and downs. It was a lonely journey, until I found Virtual Coffee, a supportive and inclusive tech community during the pandemic.

Since I found them and been more active in the community, I have grown so much. Being a non-native English speaker, I used to be scared of writing tech articles. I was afraid that folks wouldn't understand what I wanted to share. But with the support of the community through a blogging challenge, I started blogging. Amongst other writing achievements throughout tech blogging platforms such as Hashnode, DEV, and CodeNewbie, my articles were on Top 7 DEV multiple times and I am now also a writer contributor for freeCodeCamp.

This journey also leads me to dive into community management and the open source world, which I really enjoy doing. I'm currently the Documentation and Monthly Challenge Team Lead at Virtual Coffee and project maintainers at OpenSauced, SheSharp, and several others.

Advice for Aspiring Women in Tech

My advice for women in tech, just move forward and don't compare yourself with anyone else. Your journey is yours. The only comparison is where you are today and where you were yesterday. Find that one community that can support you with your journey. Being involved in a supportive community will take you much further in your journey.

Anita Ihuman, Developer Advocate & Technical Writer


Career achievements/challenges

When I started my career in tech four years ago, I told myself, let's see how far this takes me. Never did I imagine that singular choice would take me this far. I have been able to educate several developers, among whom are talented women in open source, cloud & DevOps as well as content writing.

Over the years, I have received global awards and recognitions, written over 100 articles and documentation, spoken at several international events, championed several community efforts in the open source community, worked with great teams, managed several initiatives and programs, and led research efforts.

Through my contributions to the tech community and open source, I have transitioned from a tech enthusiast to a Developer Advocate, community & programs manager, member of the board of directors, and technical content writer.

I have been opportune to connect with and learn from experts, leaders, and even stakeholders in various fields in the industry. However, behind all these amazing success stories are several failed attempts, several rejections, and several moments of self-doubt. Like every beginner, I was scared of not getting things right at first. Sometimes I still get that feeling. But in all this, I have been able to surround myself with sponsors, mentors, friends, colleagues so many other persons who have played key roles in this journey. I got to learn the habits of asking questions when in doubt, doing more research when lacking knowledge, and, most importantly, growing in the community.

What does she enjoy about being in Tech

My favorite aspect of my journey is the networks and friends I have made along the way. Being able to collaborate with multiple individuals from around the world continuously from one complex topic to another broadens my horizon on the endless possibilities of a career in tech. In open source especially, where I get opportunities to learn while contributing to real-time projects.

Advice for Aspiring Women in Tech

For every young woman entering the tech industry, remember that the world is your oyster. As you make that decision today, decide to be the best at what you do, regardless of how uncertain it may appear. Be diligent and consistent. It might get crazy and chaotic along the way; however, remember that you are not alone on this journey. And if you ever feel anxious and overwhelmed, reach out to mentors and experts who have walked this same path before you.

Maithili Dhule, Staff Design Verification Engineer

Profile photo of Maithili Dhule

Her Journey in Tech

Growing up in 3 countries (India, Singapore and the US), I constantly moved throughout my life. This taught me how to be adaptable to face various challenges such as connecting with new people and adjusting in a new place.

I completed my bachelors in Electronics and Telecommunication from India, then came back to Singapore after more than 20 years to complete my Master's in Integrated Circuit Design from NTU-TUM Asia

Achievements in career

During my Master's, I completed my Internship and Master Thesis in the field of Digital Design Verification. On the basis of this, I managed to bag a full-time role as a Verification Engineer in my dream semiconductor company!

Side hustles have always been an important part of my life. For as long as I can remember, I have always enjoyed writing, coding, experimenting with new software, creating pixel art, as well as creating mobile and browser-based video games. In addition, I always had a strong penchant for volunteering and helping others.

I found a way to combine my interests and skills by writing 2 books on game development (an opportunity I discovered on LinkedIn)! My books focus on the principles and basics of game design/development. The books and some of the games I have created can be found on my website.

Last year, I joined Women Who Code Singapore as a volunteer, where, I was blessed with the chance to conduct a 2-day Game Development Workshop for beginners, which was attended by over 45+ people on both days. I have also dabbled as a technical speaker at various events such as the WWC Connect Asia Conference where I talked about the journey of Indie Game Development.

I always took part in many technical as well as non-technical activities to boost my profile, such as playing cricket for the college girl's team and winning 4 years in a row, attending a short research-based internship at Aalborg University, Denmark. Based on this, I wrote, published and presented a paper at IEEE conference in India (“NFC Based Smart Urban Public Bus Transport Payment System”, presented at IEEE’s 3rd International Conference for Convergence in Technology (I2CT), Pune), and did various technical projects.

Tips for Women getting into Tech

1. Never stop learning - be curious to try out new software, tools, and technology
2. Don't be afraid to step out of your comfort zone and try new things! Try to have fun side hustles. e.g. writing
3. Take EVERY opportunity that comes your way. You never know what new doors will open for you! You will also meet new people along the way. E.g. Join a group with similar interests as yours
4. Try to combine your passions in order to have a fulfilling technical career

Bami, Community Manager


Journey in Tech

Hi I am Bami, a Python developer who transitioned into community management. My journey into tech started in 2020. I studied computer science, and learned programming languages, such as COBOL, PASCAL, JAVA, FORTRAN, QBASIC, VISUAL BASIC, etc. I remembered listening to my lecturer said in his words, “You are too brilliant not to write any programming language.” So the journey casually started.

While waiting for the mandatory National Youth Service Corps one year-program observed by a fresh Nigerian graduate, the pandemic started, which was good for me‍ because that was the opportunity I got to learn more about tech and kick start my career.

Then, my passion for technology was born. I started with YouTube videos and then applied for She Code Africa's 3-month mentorship program, a tech community for ladies irrespective of colour or age.

Challenges in her career

There wouldn’t be a Bami who was ready to give back and contribute to the community if I had not faced my fears, embracing the new me resurfacing after surviving the burnout and depression phase that lasted for 8 months.

Shortly after finding my new passion in the tech space, intrigued by what the open source community and every other tech community are doing, I became tired; the fear of rejection and not being enough plagued me for a long time.

The burnout and identity crises phase began in November 2020, and I started attempting to reconcile and acknowledge that I was the only help I needed. I even wrote an article. “You are your own cheerleader.” I had to pull myself out of it.

How she contributes to the community

I started with an open source community. I joined the Open Source project, a community that gives room for developers, designers and writers, a platform where anyone can contribute to a project, learn and improve one’s skills or knowledge.

It was there, where I first started to find my voice in the tech community, my idea was recognized; and I could also bank on others’ perspectives.

Gradually, I joined other tech communities, such as Layer 5 and Eddie Jaoude communities, where I have contributed to books, event organization, hosting event and volunteering at events. The recent events I have contributed to are: Open source Community Africa 2023, SheCodeAfrica Summit 2022, and Community Management Africa, API conference at Lagos and Scroll Lagos.

Also, I am actively volunteering at Google Developers Group as the Community Program Manager. I am also hosting X spaces called “Let’s Talk Community Management.” A platform to help folks who want to transition into community management get their foot in, ask questions and get information. We bring in different speakers bi-weekly to share their experiences with our audience and answer some questions.

Biggest Wins for Bami

Over the years, I get to work with a lot of amazing people and see people start their tech careers through my guidance. However, what stood out for me was when I was nominated as the Community Manager of the Year for No Code Summit 2023. It was phenomenal. Although, I didn’t win, it was amazing to see that people acknowledge the work I am doing in the community space.

Advice for women in tech

As a woman, especially from Africa, we get a lot of what we can and can not do. I want you all to know that the strength in you knows no bounds. You have the capacity to do and achieve anything as long as you can put in the work. I always say this technology isn’t that difficult; know your passion and go for it. You've got to invest in yourself as well to accelerate progress. Happy international women’s day from Bami.

Assel, EDUTech Future - Founder | GenAI in Education Trainer

Profile photo of Assel MT

Her Non-Linear Career in Tech

My career path has mostly been non-linear. I loved experimenting and learning new things. In March 2021, I decided to join the big tech with zero expectations, no network and no tech background or major.

I went through the AWS loop for a senior manager role. It was an eye opening experience when no one asked or judged me for being a non-tech person with a strong determination for a career pivot. This was when I decided to help early and mid-career professionals to succeed without a perfect resume, GPA, or tech major.

Being an EDUTech Future Founder

With my 2 years at Microsoft and 7 months as EDUTech Future founder, I feel immense gratitude to the big tech friends and founders who cheered on me. We have 13 speakers and mentors from 3 continents, 8 countries and 7 time zones. We have 8 women and 5 men teaching and mentoring in the 12-week Break into Tech APAC program. And 6 of us are non-native English speakers!

We design and personalise our programs with achievable but tough KPIs. Neurodiversity is strength, are all are programs by default include people with special education needs.

Our current program has 8 female and 4 male participants. DEI is in our DNA, and I wish all women and men this #IWD freedom and courage to choose your own path.

Thanks for reading!

Thank you for reading this special article dedicated to these amazing women in tech! I hope they will continue being role models and inspire others in their respective fields. Happy International Women's Day! Cheers!

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