ExtraHop is spending this week celebrating International Women's Day (March 8th) by hearing from some of the brilliant, passionate women so integral to this company and the tech industry as a whole. How'd they get into STEM? What advice do they have for other women and girls? Gear up for a whole week of blogs from the women of ExtraHop, from the engineering departments to marketing and everything in between. Happy International Women's Day!
Only recently did I come to think of myself as a woman in technology. Growing up, I enjoyed the compulsory science courses and I was a teacher's aide in our school's first computer lab, which really just involved teaching other students how to 'drive' a mouse so they could complete their assignment, but I was never enthusiastic about mathematics and turned away from a career in either of those areas because I didn't think I was as smart as the math kids. I may have regrets about that, but it turns out being a woman in technology is not necessarily about being an engineer or a scientist.
There are a variety of ways to participate in and contribute to our tech community. In my role in Human Resources, I've had the opportunity to work with a variety of professionals, and found that my favorite interactions are with those in the technology industry, regardless of their profession. I've happily figured out a way to apply my skills and strengths to make an impact in a field I am proud to be part of.
One of the things that influenced my decision to focus my career in a tech field is the opportunity to work with many kind, unassuming people. I've not only experienced the acceptance of diverse viewpoints but also a culture where an unorthodox idea or a new perspective is truly valued, and seen as an additional input to solving a problem. Above all, there is an inordinate amount of passion for innovation, creativity, and taking on challenges with fearlessness. When these things are combined with the generosity of time and desire to share their knowledge with others, answers to questions reveal themselves in fascinating ways and change the world we live in. I am so thankful that I leaned toward the technology industry as I developed in my career. I never stop learning and being inspired by those around me.
In addition to the people, one of the most intriguing things for me working in the STEM industry is the rapidly changing landscape, which means that literally every day there are new challenges uncovered and new things to learn.
The approach to problem solving is not met with traditional methods or dread, but rather excitement and collaboration. There is a pervasive undercurrent that nothing is impossible, and that no one person has the answer, but a collection of ideas are iterated upon by intellectually curious people to a great outcome. The energy is infectious and it keeps me excited about coming to work every day.
There could not be a better time to pursue a career in a STEM field or to participate in the industry doing what you love; the support for women to engage and boldly forge ahead in this industry has never been greater. There are a tremendous opportunities in tech and science to profoundly impact health and well-being here, around the world, and to understand our planet and beyond better.