[Girls in a Tech World] Meet Fhenon, Web Developer

Developers, sales representatives, product managers, designers, recruiters, project managers, marketers, communicators, graphic designers… all girls in a tech world! This wide variety of professions reflects the diversity of their journeys that led them to be working at iAdvize today. We asked them to tell us their story, and who knows, maybe spark vocations in other women. Today, Fhenon will be telling us about her job as a web developer in the second interview of our ‘Girls in a Tech World’ series. 

Thank you Fhenon! You are a web developer. How did you get here?

Originally, I wanted to work in advertising so I got a degree in communication. I was lucky enough to do an internship in a design agency in London where I met a developer who introduced me to his job and flash technology in particular. From the start, I really liked Action Script. When I returned to France, I decided to do a masters degree to become a web developer.

What do you like about your job? 

The puzzle aspect. Being a developer is all about reflection and construction. You need a strategy at the start and it’s extremely satisfying when you end up with something tangible to show for. A developer is always learning, questioning, which I find very challenging and exciting. I don’t see how you could get bored when there’s always a an entire world to discover.

What are your daily tasks and who do you work with?

I work mainly with back-end and front-end developers, a designer and a product manager who defined the product direction and the features that will be developed. This enables us to focus on the technical dimension.

In your opinion, why are women still underrepresented in the area of web development? 

The problem lies in two stereotypes that are hard to reconcile: geeks and women. On the one side, you’ve got the ultimate geek, an immature, asocial man, badly dressed, lacking in self-confidence and obviously addicted to video games. On the other, the caricature of the woman. She’s social, charming, superficial, devoted and obliging. This profile does not fit in well with technical professions. The problem with stereotypes is that we all contribute to maintaining them, whether we want to or not. It’s hard to free oneself, especially when we’re part of a cultural universe that nourishes these ideas; I’m thinking of series like The IT crowd or The Big Bang Theory.

It can be difficult for a woman to achieve a sense of fulfillment with technical skills. They are not valued as easily because they do not match the values of the stereotype (help, support, care). It starts by telling little girls that they are pretty and little boys that they are brave. Who will congratulate a little boy because he’s made sure he’s smart and clean or a little girl because she’s a bit of a daredevil?

The best way to break these preconceived ideas is to have counter examples, at the cinema, in series but also in companies. It’s like women directors, or female politicians, as longs as there aren’t any, it’s difficult to envisage it. I don’t like generalizing but research does show that women tend to set themselves higher standards than men. They lack in self-confidence and doubt themselves when it comes to their own ability to take on technical or high responsibility positions.  

What would you say to convince young women to choose this path?

I would tell anyone that this is an extremely rewarding job with many opportunities. Everyone needs a developer so we don’t experience unemployment and this means we can set high expectations for our employers. This is a real advantage. 

It’s also a job with lots of flexibility, you can live on the other side of the world, or work from home, no limits.

A lot of professions are very repetitive but technologies change so much there’s always something new to learn.

A part from code, what do you like to develop?

I love travelling and discovering new cultures and mindsets. I’m never as happy as when I’m travelling.

Thank you for sharing your story and insight Fhenon!

iAdvize is recruiting, take a look at the job offers!

Miranda is in charge of internal communications at iAdvize, where she started working 3 years ago, originally as communications officer for the UK market. She has a BA from UCL in languages and a masters degree in translation and communication from the ISIT school in Paris. Although her passport is British, she feels at home on the continent ;-) Intrigued by all things cross-cultural, disruptive and customer service-related.

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