Maria is a project manager with overall professional experience of over 14 years in the IT industry. She believes the most important thing in the successful project is communication. That’s why she enjoys being the link between people, groups and interests, bringing the project forward by hearing and seeing all participants’ angles and contributions. “Listening to people, staying open to ideas and opinions, gives me the chance to see possibilities for improvement for the project at hand and for the future” — shares Maria.
Where and what program did you study? What do you think about your education program?
I have been studying Computational Linguistics at the University of Gothenburg during 2003-2007. The program was really interesting, extensive and fun! I have got a solid knowledge base and I am very happy with it, what I missed was a connection to life outside the University. It was not common that students did their thesis at companies or in cooperation with companies.
There are still fewer girls who choose technical education than boys. How do you think it can be changed?
The stereotypes of tech workers are very much alive, and so are gender roles. There is a lot of talk about how anyone can be anything they want, but the reality is different. Kids are told about what they should be – based on their gender and social setting. Adults do tell girls “you can be what ever you want when you grow up” but they also tell them to be quiet, be nice, be caring, be gentle, be cute, be responsible, be careful, be understanding, be mindful of the needs of others. This does not match up with the stereotypical tech worker persona.
Tell us about your career in tech! What do you like the most about working in the tech sector?
After university I started in a translation firm as Project Manager’s assistant and was then promoted to Project Manager within the same firm. The cross-functional training from Computational Linguistics was of great use in that line of work. Today I work as IT Project manager and again I find my training very useful, I am able to talk to both business and IT with understanding of the different positions. Communication, to really understand what other people mean and feel is something I am very interested in. Technology gives us great possibilities for this but also big challenges. It is easy to think someone else knows the same thing as you because you shared information with them, but interpretation of the same information can vary wildly between people. The creation of information, tools and information sharing processes that help people understand each other is one of the things I really love about the tech sector.
How can the tech industry become more inclusive?
The work culture needs to be changed. The way co-workers and management talk to and about each other, really matters. To tell people they need to change, the manner of how they talk and act is not easy, neither is hearing it. But it has to be done if things are going to change. The tech industry can look at how girls are raised – be quite, be nice, be caring, be gentle, be cute, be responsible, be careful, be understanding, be mindful of the needs of others.
About Women in Technology
Technology is one of the most developed areas nowadays, as many new inventions come every day. The majority of businesses have now recognized that balanced and diversified work environment brings the best productivity. However, still, a small percentage of women consider technology and engineering for the future employment. Therefore, we launched a series of interviews Women in Technology with Sigma Technology’s female employees to show that women are making a big change in technology and engineering world. #womenintechnology