Come do MINT 7 questions for Anna
At the age of 11, CAMAO developer Anna sat in her living room in front of the W-LAN router and had only one goal: to set up the Internet. At that time, no one in the family had anything to do with technology. With the user manual in one hand and the phone in the other, a nice Telekom employee was soon on the line to perform the miracle. The Internet was running. Here, at the latest, it became clear to Anna that she had a passion for technology. And with that, it was a done deal: she became a developer.
Well, unfortunately, the reality was different. Because Anna’s path to becoming a developer has rough edges and meets classic clichés. Women are not yet as strongly represented as men in STEM professions. The Komm, mach MINT initiative, which we also support, works to make STEM professions more accessible to young women. That’s why we talked to Anna about her path to her dream job, where the obstacles lie and what is needed to make it easier for young women to access STEM professions.
Hi Anna, how did you find your dream job?
Even as a child, I noticed that I found technical topics – especially in the field of software – very exciting. I knew right away: That’s what I want to do later. Unfortunately, my math teacher saw it differently and advised me against it. He felt that girls weren’t that good at math and you had to be a real overachiever to be a developer. That put me off quite a bit at the time. I had no other points of contact with the professional field and trusted him there.
So I decided to train as a pharmaceutical assistant instead. But I quickly realized that I wasn’t right there. In the meantime, however, I had some IT people among my friends and family. So in the end I built up a basic feeling for the profession and realized: I can do that too. So I started training as an IT specialist in application development. It was a tough decision to start over. But definitely correct.
What do you enjoy most as a developer?
Prefer to work in the backend and with C#. I feel like a detective who has to solve a case: Something is not working. Then I research where the problem lies and look for a solution. I really enjoy that. I learn something new every day and my inquisitiveness never fails.
What about equality in your career field?
During my training and also at mmmake everything is great. I have friendly relations with my male colleagues and no one is pigeonholed in any way. Unfortunately, I have also had negative experiences elsewhere. For example, people rolled their eyes when I asked a question. So along the lines of “It’s obvious that she’s asking that”.
What about your relationship with other female developers?
I met other female developers in training and at mmmake. I also get along great with them in my private life. The fact that you are “rarer” as a woman in this profession directly gives you a sense of connection. It’s just great to exchange ideas and have each other’s backs.
Why should more women enter STEM professions?
So that the role image is softened and it is simply “natural” for women to work in STEM professions. The STEM subject should not even need to be highlighted in the long term. As more women enter the field, it will become more natural. And the way it’s going right now, it’s going great. For the next generation, this will probably no longer be an issue at all.
What would you have needed to encourage you in your career choice?
In my case, the school system simply failed. If I had experienced it differently when I was in school, I would have made a different decision from the beginning. That’s why, in my view, more subjects or elective courses should be offered in the IT field to introduce young women to IT content. Math is definitely not meaningful. I can also imagine social media as a communication tool to make the profession more tangible. You shouldn’t have to hide as a woman anymore if you like computers.
In conclusion: If you could change 2 things with a flick of your wrist to bring STEM careers to other women – what would you do?
/ Banish pigeonholing from everyone’s minds to make it easier for young women to get involved.
/ Thoroughly revamp the school system.
What do we learn from this? In any case, do not be discouraged and just dare to pursue your own interests! Thanks for the great exchange Anna!