Luna Talk | Women in IT

October 28, 2023 字数 1991 4 min

0. 前言

回顾一下这周五的 Women in IT Fireside Talk,这篇文章会分享我的文稿以及我现场的回答(稍微有点不同)。

1. Describe your career history, brief background of how you started your career?

2. What have been your biggest learnings along the way?

The only one who thinks that I cannot do it is my inner voice. With 0 IT background and an 8-month baby at home, I made the top 1 female in IT faculty during my 2 years master study. Same thing happened in workplace, I become a team lead and landed here with 4 years of experience, and everyone (except my inner voice) thinks I deserve it.

In short, I am my biggest enemy in my career. And my biggest learning throughout my journey is to stop this self-doubt by constantly reminding myself: Luna, you are good enough and you deserve to be where you are at right now.


3. What interested you all in a career in IT?


During my project management job back in China, I work with hundreds of game developers, artists, designers, I love talking to people but I always find talking to engineers is the most frustrating thing. I cannot understand what they are saying, I don’t know any Python, Java, what are the differences between C and C++, and this has been the no.1 painpoint for me. However, this is also where I start to get curious.

I wonder: how can these engineers, take some requirements, talk in meetings, go back to their desks, type something, and then one day the game is done! It’s like magic!

So when I had the opportunity to start a new major, go back to uni again, I decide to choose IT so I can finally understand them :)

4. What challenges have you faced in your career as a woman in IT?

The biggest challenge I’ve faced is that I don’t have a female mentor or role model I can relate to. I’ve been working with man most of the time and all my previous managers are all man. I don’t know what I can achieve because as an international student, coming from a non-IT background, English as my second language, even if I wish to thrive as a female leader, there’s not even an example for me to copy from.

The other challenge is probably just the other side of the previous challenge, since I’ve been mostly talking to man that are senior than me, and they come from different background, with different strength in their skillset, I thought I have to be a similar version of them to prove that I’m good enough, and this eventually reduces my self-confidence level.


这题改成了:What have been your biggest learnings and challenges along the way?

The biggest challenge is that I have 1000 reasons to fail. As a person with 0 IT background, English as 2nd language, moving to a different city and country, I can tell myself that because my son has a fever so I cannot submit this assignment, I can tell myself that because I have no Java experience so I should just aim for passing the unit…

But is this what I really want to tell myself? Do I want to tell myself, this is how I failed? Or despite the 1000 reasons to fail, I am still going to find that 1 reason and 1 way for me to succeed? That’s probably the biggest challenge I’ve encountered and how I have overcome it.

5. Who did you lean on for support during your career journey (Eg. mentors or fellow colleagues)?

There’re several sources of support I lean on:

  • my manager and senior leaders - to get feedback and guidance if I feel my career is stalled
  • I also lean on my friends, some of them are work colleagues, or my uni peers
  • another source of support for me is books or podcasts, I like to do some research and read some books to pick the author’s brain for some ideas, which I find quite useful for me
  • the most support is probably from my family, although they don’t provide any career guidance, but they are the backbone for me to explore my passion and stand behind my decisions


这题改成了:With self doubt as a pretty distinct female trait, how are some ways we can support each other in that?

I learn from almost everyone around me no matter what their genders or specialties are, and when I look at these amazing people around me, sometimes I just want to be them.

I want to have the same technical skills as my coach, I want to have the same public speaking skills as xxx.. But sometimes I wonder: who am I? And this is probably my inner journey.

With lots of thinking and reflection, I’ve put one sentence for almost all my social media profiles, it is: “A woman with love and courage.” Those are the 2 things that I want to highlight for myself to remind me who I am.

  • Love: I know that I like to take care of others, and this is just the way I am, some people have a tougher style, and it might work for them, but that’s not me.
  • Courage: As a woman doing IT with people around me 3 years younger, alreay have 4 years of bachelor CS background, I always feel that I don’t know so many things and I feel embarassed. However, I learnt to embrace this and tell myself: It’s ok not to know things, but it’s not ok to not ask the question.

6. What qualities are important for succeeding as a woman in IT?

The top 1 quality is self-awareness, and this is applicable to any gender, not just woman, here’re the reasons:

First, it’s important to know your strength and how to maximize your impact in the team, I spotted that my team doesn’t have any knowledge sharing set up so I volunteered myself to be the wiki owner, everyone has a unique perspective and you should use your strength well.

Secondly, be aware of the things you enjoy and good at, know where you want to be in the future and what are the qualities required for your next step, you probably have several good traits already but you might also have some areas to work on, discuss this with your coach to be better aligned on the action items.

For woman particularly, I think it is important to be courageous, not afraid of failure or losing face or being judged as “not a perfect mum/wife/woman”. We should aim for learning and growing, this fearless attitude can be a great quality to boost our career. This also applies to all genders but I generally find women like to play safe and tend to avoid difficult conversations or challenging goals.


Self-awareness is the most important attribute for any individuals, you need to know who you are and where you want to be, and this is going to be different for all of us.

Speaking of myself, my strength are caring for others, take responsibilities and ownership, being courageous, making sure everyone around me enjoy the work they are doing. I don’t want to be in an environment that people hate their work, so if I’m in such environment, I’ll change it or create the environment that I want to be in. That’s what I’m passionate about, and this is something that I cannot walk away from. And it’s the same for everyone here, because no matter how many people are successful around you, you can define your own success.

7. What does good look like in terms of the future of women in IT? (this is a challenge, as there are not a lot of ‘role model’ companies out there so we are working it out as we go)

I read the book lean in, it said there’re quite a lot of women starting their career in IT, but the problems are:

  • there’re fewer women reach leadership positions
  • many women stop working once they have kids

I think the future should be:

  • more women in IT leadership roles
  • more women will staying in IT even after they have kids


8. What is your goal in the next 6-12 months to impact this space?

One day I was talking to another male engineer in another team, saying that I’m going to join this women in IT panel discussion, he replied: That’s great, I wish my team will have a female engineer in the future. I asked, how many people are in your team? He said 8.

It hits me that it’s not just about women, it’s also about men, they also want to work in a more diverse team with female engineers, it’s a win-win for all genders, and the company definitely benefits from the diversified perspectives.

I always like to share my experiences with people (regardless of the gender), and I’ll keep doing this (not just in the next 6-12 months), and I’d love to hear more people not just telling me that they want to have a woman in the team, but their teams have already got several women.


8. 结语


幸运的是,刚进公司不久就有机会通过这个 session 来分享我的经历。


前几天看了下公众号的读者性别,男女基本上五五开,所以我会继续通过分享自己的经历来为(包含但不限于) IT 行业的女性们提供帮助的:)

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