On February 25, 2019, Lighthouse Labs Vancouver hosted 30 guests for a special networking event celebrating Women in Technology. The evening featured a panel of female developer mentors, who made themselves available to answer questions and offer insight around the challenges of establishing yourself as a woman in the developer space.
Your Job Is To Solve Problems
Mentors discussed the importance of continued upskilling, and adding new tools to your skillset to stay agile as a developer. “Your job is to solve problems, so you have to keep growing,” one panelist shared. “As long as you’re confident in your abilities and passionate about what you do, you will be successful.”
The panelists advised students to immerse themselves in unfamiliar code to build their portfolio, and to never stop asking questions and pursuing knowledge as a developer. “Pursue code reviews - it’s a great way to learn, and to realize other devs also make mistakes, and you’re all in this boat together.”
One panelist reminded students to stay in touch with mentors and instructors, as they can be a great resource. Others highlighted community as a key advantage of Lighthouse Labs. “Look for Lighthouse grads, and you have the benefit of community and people who know what you’re capable of.”
Take Up Space
Panelists also spoke about the challenges of being a woman in a field traditionally dominated with men. While all of the women highlighted the strengths of diversity in the workplace, most could point to at least one experience of an interviewer behaving inappropriately, or a former colleague underestimating their abilities.
“Don’t shy away from speaking up, but also leave a job if it’s not the right place. Be somewhere where a company values and supports you, not just views you as a token.”
Another panelist reminded students, “it’s good to be different. We are different. And that means we approach problems in a different way. Employers hire you to think differently.”
“Go places, take up space, and show people you deserve to be there.”
The evening was well attended by staff and students, and Education Manager Davey Feimer hopes the event is just the first of many.
"It's so great to see more women are wanting to become developers. When there are almost as many women enrolling as men, Lighthouse Labs recognizes this is still rare and takes the opportunity as a chance to make this the norm. By providing connections we can establish a strong network of women developers in hopes in the near future the gender divide is a concept of the past."