Working for Skyrise – an Environment of Equality
Just this month, an Instagram photo of a Victoria’s Secret and Calvin Klein model went viral for revealing that she knew how to write code. Unfortunately, there were plenty of misogynistic comments online criticizing and undermining her abilities, but she proved all the haters wrong by listing accomplishments such as creating iOS apps that were featured by Apple, and having nearly 28,000 points on StackOverflow.
Statistically, the stereotype that the tech industry is a male-dominated sector is still true. Many women are afraid to pursue a career in IT because of this, but the trends are changing and companies are beginning to realize the potential of female employees. Diversity can provide a company with new perspectives, talent, and opportunities, which are all crucial in the quickly developing world of technology.
Skyrise is a company that prides itself in an atmosphere of inclusiveness and openness. Equality and acceptance are directly connected with Skyrise’s flat structure and culture of mutual trust that I discussed with Tomasz in the previous article of this series. Personally, I don’t experience any adversity for being a female in a predominantly male company, but I wanted to find out if other women here feel the same way. I decided to interview Anna, our UX Team Leader, to learn more about her female perspective and experiences of working in IT.
Hanna: I’d like to ask you a few questions about your work as a woman in tech. Can you start by telling me about your role in Skyrise?
Anna: Sure! I’m a UX design team leader here, which means that I have a team of other designers who I support every day in external and internal projects that we do. Being a UX designer means creating a good user experience. It’s a really vague term and explaining my job is really difficult, but to put it simply, it consists of writing, designing, and creating tests for users. Good UX takes a lot of work – it’s hard and full of small details that need to be managed and communicated. You need to create something that’s good for users, connects technology and people, and is good for business as well. UX connects many disciplines.
Hanna: How many people are on your team?
Anna: Six people, and what’s interesting is that it’s a purely feminine team.
Hanna: Wow! So besides that there probably aren’t a lot of women working in Skyrise.
Anna: About 30% of Skyrise is female, which is not bad. I know that UX teams in different software houses are usually more masculine, and there is a stereotype that there are a lot of men in tech jobs. However, at Skyrise we have some technical positions also filled by women.
Hanna: How do you feel as a woman in a male-dominated industry?
Anna: I think it’s an adventure. In the beginning I felt a little bit lost. Sometimes it’s hard to be a woman and confront our ideas with men. It’s easy to feel like your voice is less heard than a man’s voice. But being a woman allows you to have a different perspective which is beneficial in a company. Right now I feel that I have a deeper understanding of this and I’m satisfied with what I do. I’m happy that the tech environment is not as masculine as it used to be. I like working with women – this is an advantage for me. I also think that women are better prepared for working in UX. Girls are traditionally taught to be empathetic and nice, and this is an advantage when you are trying to discover what people might feel or say or do. Women are culturally trained to be better at sensing this.
Hanna: How do you feel working at Skyrise as a woman?
Anna: I’m an example of someone who used to work at Skyrise, went to work somewhere else, and came back. From my perspective, it’s a very good company where I feel that things get done. I like the cooperation of smart tech people that do things quickly and communicate well to create value for users. Skyrise is not just about coding. I feel accepted here and I also love the team that I work with.
Hanna: What can you tell me about the company culture of Skyrise and how does it influence your work?
Anna: I think it’s a very open company. Our culture is agile and humanistic, and it’s still growing and changing with the people. It’s never boring here. Agile is not just a slogan — our work is based on feedback and all the team members really care about what they do.
Hanna: Great, thank you very much!
Observing the inner structure and work environment of the company, I’m convinced that Anna and I are not alone in our positive opinions. Overall, based on observation and personal conversations, I’m happy to say that Skyrise appears to be a great place for women to work. I think that IT holds a lot of opportunities for women, and even if they are still a minority in the industry, this will continue to change in the future.
We’d love to hear your perspective in the comments below, and keep an eye out for the final segment of this series regarding the inner workings and future of Skyrise!