Earlier this month, our CEO and founder Shani Dowell shared the amazing role women have played in the history of Possip. As a company that is both woman-founded and majority women employed, we celebrate the accomplishments of women year-round. However, we are using Women’s History Month as an opportunity to highlight some of our team members defying stereotypes and industry norms.
One of these powerhouse women is Magdalena Kinney—a software developer for Possip. Women currently hold just 26% of computer science related occupations, and the stats are even more staggering for women of color. Magdalena has faced various challenges as a woman of color in the industry, but she’s also met those challenges head on. We are so grateful to have Magdalena on our team, alongside our newest woman on the tech team, Drew Uhlmann. Magdalena recently shared her insight and perspective on working as a woman in software development with us.
How did you become involved in the tech industry? Why were you interested in software development?
My best friend was a huge driving factor in me becoming a developer. She had just finished up attending a coding Bootcamp and thought I would love it. So I followed her footsteps and applied for a Bootcamp, and she was right. I instantly fell in love.
What has your experience been like working in a field dominated by men? Have there been significant challenges?
Yes, there are challenges. I do feel like I have to work that much harder to be taken seriously. In my first interviews as a developer [before Possip], I was asked if I had a boyfriend and how my boyfriend would feel about working with all men. It was entirely inappropriate. The number one comment I often get is, “You don’t look like a developer.” One man went so far as to say, “wow, I would have thought you were a hairdresser.” Which is oddly specific. There has been blatant and subtle sexism throughout my career.
How has your experience working with Possip differed from previous roles? (Generally, what is it like working for a company with a staff predominantly composed of women, a gender balanced tech team, etc.)
Possip differed from previous roles in many ways. Our entire team is supportive, and the encouragement is endless. Vulnerability isn’t considered a negative. It’s a stepping stone for growth. I genuinely feel valued and respected, and unfortunately, that is not a guarantee at all companies.
What motivates you most in software development and your work?
What motivates me is knowing that the software and tools I create have an impact. Coding, in general, is fun for me. Whether it is making something look better, function better, or learning something I didn’t know before. With development, there’s a constant supply of motivation.
What women in your life or industry inspire you?
My mother has inspired me the most. It’s hard to put in words. She was an incredibly hard worker. She was a single parent with a demanding full-time job as a speech pathologist, yet still found time to be an amazing mother to my sister and me. My mother was my biggest cheerleader and empowered me to believe in myself. She taught me how to be polite and kind, strong and resilient. Her actions and words paired together made her an inspiring role model. I wouldn’t be the woman I am today without her.
What advice do you have for other women or girls interested in coding or other STEM fields?
Becoming a developer has been the most transformational choice I have ever made. It’s exciting to see more and more women becoming developers. If it is something you are passionate about, go all in.