My name is Roxanna and I’m currently a software engineer for Microsoft. If there is anything I’ve learned its that no two people have the same exact journey. I do not have the traditional journey into the STEM field and have found confidence and power through the unique path I followed.
I started off working in the intel field with computer networking and cybersecurity. I fell so head over heels with my work I wanted to be involved beyond putting the pieces together but actually creating and that’s when I found programming. It’s never easy to have a full time job and study full time but if you want something bad enough you sometimes take on a different perspective and look at things with a lens that makes it bearable to get through. I feel that certifications in my field are very important and I always advocate for getting them! Know your strength and weaknesses and be honest with yourself when looking for new roles but don’t let it stop you from applying. My biggest advice would be to keep going. It’s very cliché but that’s the only way anyone got to where they are is by not giving up.
As a woman who was in the Marines and now the only female software engineer on my team, it’s important to stick together and empower one another. Being in a male-dominated field you have a higher chance of facing sexism and extreme criticism(not everyone is like this but some are). Sometimes I felt like I had to work twice as hard just to prove myself. The thing is you don’t need to prove yourself. You just need to focus on your work, get it done, improve as much as you can and do it because YOU deserve the growth and success. Sometimes it gets hard but find empowerment through one another and within your own self-discipline. Don’t let imposter syndrome, self-doubt, and negativity weigh you done so much that you forget to recognize how far you’ve come. Don’t feel the need to have a certain journey into STEM. Own your own journey and enjoy whatever it is you do for work 🙂 – @roxanna.cs