Being a woman in tech, happened by chance. When I was young, I didn’t really know what I was passionate about. The only thing I knew was that I wanted to get a job and earn money. My parents also had a specific idea of what my career should look like. So, I started my studies in administration and accounting, got my degrees and my first job in this area. It was only then that I realized I am the curious type, I am passionate about learning and growing. I simply want to understand how things work.
And then I received an opportunity that would send me on a completely different path: the SAP Academy. Should I quit my job in accounting and do something different altogether? It was a hard decision.
I decided to take the leap, but the transition into tech wasn’t easy. Back then, the industry was still very much dominated by men. I was the only woman. And I was judged because of that. I was told I talk too much. That I have a different style. And that maybe I wasn’t even that suited to be in this area. But I was confident that this was the place for me. I wanted to be a woman in tech.
worked hard, double even, to show everyone else that I have the skills, that I am competent. It is my belief that knowledge is power and the key to success. You must study; you have to take action to change your life. The world changes quickly and so does the technology industry. There is always something new, some innovation. You must know that studying is part of the process and I am glad that there are offerings such as the latest digital skills initiative from SAP, where you can find tailored learning resources that will help you kickstart your career in tech.
It will pay off: I put my SAP Certification on LinkedIn and on my resume and that was what distinguished me from other candidates on the job market.
I have seen a lot of people who were waiting for the right moment to steer their lives in a new direction. They were not ready for something new or simply afraid. But living in the past is not good. Yesterday can’t do anything for you. Today can.
As a mentor, I often get asked: How do I start? I recommend finding a mentor, someone who can inspire and guide you. I recommend looking at job profiles and opportunities that interest you to find out what skills you are still missing. Make a list of things you want to get better in. Engage in discussion. Get out of your comfort zone. And most importantly: make mistakes, and then analyse them. Get some lessons learnt.
I wish I had known that back then. I wish I had been more disciplined in the past. Time is valuable. Don’t get me wrong: It’s never too late to learn something new. But the earlier you start, the earlier you will benefit. I can only encourage you to learn and to go for the next challenge. Strive for something higher and you will grow – professionally, but most importantly: personally.
For my parents, it is still hard to understand what I do. I would show them my blog posts and interviews, and they would say, “this is my girl”. They are very proud. I feel more confident in what I do today, and I love to share my knowledge and experience with others. Just this morning I got a message from one of the young girls I am mentoring as a volunteer. She texted me that she got her first opportunity for a career in IT. She said thank you and was so happy. And I am too because I know that there will be another woman in tech.
About the author:
Karen Rodrigues is from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. She works as an SAP consultant and is part of two SAP groups, the SAP Mentors group and the SAP Latam Influencer group. Karen teaches SAP solutions and mentors young people who want to start a career in the technology industry and improve their English skills.