Inspiring Women Making Their Mark on the Tech World [Infographic]

More than one tenth of the total private sector payroll in the US goes straight to workers in the tech industry. And despite some well-established stereotypes, tech isn’t just a man’s world. There are an estimated 2.3 million women in computer training, biotechnology, data processing, wireless telecommunications, computer operation, computer systems analysis, and more. While some young girls have misconceptions about the tech industry, educators and parents have been taking steps to pique girls’ interest and solidify their confidence in science and tech at a young age—such as enrolling in STEM classes early on.

With so many incredible, successful female techpreneurs motivating men and women alike, women everywhere are already changing the face of tech. With their inspiration, and initiatives to support and nurture young girls’ interest in computer science, women’s impact on tech will undoubtedly continue to grow. Read on to learn more about inspiring women in tech and some of their top accolades.

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Spotlight: Women of AppDynamics

Welcome to our Women of AppDynamics series, a bimonthly showcase of the female talent at AppDynamics. While the likes of Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg are the icons of a male dominated tech industry, women are rapidly entering high-level tech positions. However, the number of female new graduates with a Computer Science degree is not quite reflected in the number of females entering the workforce every year. As many blame the lack of talent going through the pipeline, it is actually a little more complicated than that. Female new graduates are more likely to be discouraged from applying to certain positions because of gender bias on job descriptions (masculine or feminine-leaning words that subconsciously affect the neutrality of the advert). Many women end up applying for non-technical roles that they feel more comfortable with, and it is up to hiring managers and recruiters to take the extra step to reevaluate job postings and source beyond college majors. Women are also leaving the tech industry faster than they are being replaced because of their working conditions– the lack of opportunity for career progression and the tipping of work-life balance. It is the company’s responsibility to work on retaining women in tech and creating a female-friendly work environment that encourages women to excel. At AppDynamics, we are building ourselves towards that goal. Please welcome our next three incredibly bold female AppDynamos!


The Code Wanderer: Nina Yang – Software Engineer

Q: What do you do in your role?

A: I’m a software engineer on the Server and Infrastructure Monitoring team. Our Machine Agent provides visibility into servers—machine resources, processes, and more.

Q: What initially interested you in this field and how did you get here? Explain.

A: My dad is a software engineer, so I like to joke that it’s in my blood. But I declared a Computer Science major in college (at MIT) and never looked back. I found myself able to get lost in my code for hours, throwing everything I had at it to solve the problem. To me, that was a sign that I had chosen the correct field. After many grueling classes and a few internships, I chose AppDynamics to start my career because of the product and the people here.

Q: What is your proudest accomplishment at AppDynamics?

A: I wrote a big part of the code for our new Windows Machine Agent. It required learning a lot about different parts of a server, wrestling with windows scripts, and writing modular and maintainable code that will make it easy to expand off of in the future. It’s a very exciting (and, not going to lie, extremely nerve-wracking!) feeling knowing that it’ll be deployed on thousands of our customers’ machines.

Q: What is a typical day at work like for you?

A: I’ll come into the office and head immediately to the kitchen for coffee/tea/snacks. We have team standup at 10:30, and my team goes out to lunch together pretty much every day. Sometimes I’ll have a meeting or two (sprint planning, design meetings, or informational meetings) and the rest of the time I’ll be at my desk working or in that area collaborating with team members. Occasionally I’ll curl up in these super comfy chairs we have and ignore the rest of the world and code. On Fridays, my team usually grabs drinks at the end of the day, which is always a nice way to end the week.


The Stealth Doctor: Jing Hou – Senior Software Engineer

Q: What do you do in your role?

A: I am a senior software engineer in End User Experience team. I contribute to build robust, high performance, high scalable backend servers, add new features to mobile application monitoring, crash report analysis, package management and etc. I also help to ensure our SaaS cloud system is healthy and running smoothly.

Q: What excites you about working at AppDynamics?

A: AppDynamics is a fast growing start-up company with a lot of innovations and great business potentials, and I am a part of that!

Q: What is your proudest accomplishment at AppDynamics?

A: I created a crash process server in the first 10 days after I joined.

Q: What is the biggest misconception about working in tech?

A: That you always need to work long hours and that it’s very stressful. But at AppDynamics, we have a very good work-life balance.


The Gamer Girl: Swetha Ravichandran – Software Engineer

Q: What do you do in your role?

A: I am a member of .NET Agent team and I have been with the team for a month now. Right now, I work in automation.

Q: What initially interested you in this field and how did you get here? Explain.

A: My interest in computers sparked from playing a lot of video games. Once I found out that they are made out of code, I wanted to develop one of them. After that, I just loved solving problems and puzzles.

Q: What do you think is the biggest misconception about working in tech?

A: A lot of people have asked me, how do you sit in front of computers all day, do you have time for personal life? I don’t think that’s how my life is. I enjoy working with computers and I have a perfect work-life balance.

Q: What excites you about working at AppDynamics?

A: Cool products! Lots of new opportunities! I recently moved to the .NET Agent team. It’s exciting to work on a core team. I have also participated in Hackathon with the UI team. It was fun to work on cool features with a different team.



Spotlight: Women of AppDynamics

With the tech industry growing at its remarkable pace, it justifiably comes with a concentrated talent pool including some of the world’s brightest innovators and game changers. Diversity and inclusion efforts has become, more than ever, a prioritized mission for every technology company. AppDynamics increased our female hires by 40% this year alone. While we’re not yet a company made of equal parts men and women, we’re moving in the right direction. Today, we are kicking off our own series in light of #ILookLikeAnEngineer to celebrate the women of AppDynamics who have broken through the glass ceiling, serving as both architects for modern technology and role models to all young women who will continue to follow their dreams and say yes to STEM education and careers. We’ve rounded up our first three incredibly bold female masterminds of AppDynamics to share their experiences with us.

The Genie: Mindy Pile – Software Engineer1009476_10153077972855291_1102361024_o.jpg

Q: What do you do in your role?

A: I work on code to help develop a portion of our company’s product. Mostly, I add features that have been requested by our customers that help make the product more useful.

Q: What were you doing before you worked at AppDynamics?

A: I was studying Computer Science at Carnegie Mellon University.

Q: What is something cool you recently worked on at AppDynamics?

A: Right now, I’m adding a feature that requires me to touch almost every part of the product, from back to front, and it’s giving me a real sense of how the product works. I think it’s really cool that, in the future, I’ll be able to point to this feature and say, “I added this part myself.”

Q: What do you think is the biggest misconception about working in tech?

A: I think the biggest misconception is about the type of people who work in tech. When I tell someone what I do, most people respond with surprise. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard something to the effect of “Wow, you don’t seem like most software engineers.” And while part of that is because I’m a women, I think people think of programmers as these antisocial geeks who can’t handle normal interaction. And while it’s funny to laugh at the stereotype, it is just a stereotype, and not one that applies to most programmers I know.

The Usability Pro: Stephanie Chou – Software Engineer

Q: What do you do in your role?

A: I am a member of the UI team. I create the parts of the product that people see and interact with.

Q: What excites you about working at AppDynamics?

A: [We recently participated in] a hackathon. That was exciting! It was great because our team had a really cool idea to track end user click paths through the UI. It is super useful for Product Managers or Engineers to know what users are doing and if a bug was triggered or an error appears, then we’d know how to replicate it. I also got to learn how to use canvas and create awesome little bubble animations. Our team stayed up at the office until 1 am working on it.

Q: What initially interested you in this field and how did you get here? Explain.

A: I started by getting a degree in Electrical Engineering. One day I was sitting in a class about Green Energy and Power, and I decided to check if was an available domain name. It was! So I pull out my credit card in the middle of class and I bought it. From there, it was a lot of exploration.

Q: What advice do you have for young women who want to pursue a career in tech?

A: Just go for it! You don’t need to have perfect grades. You don’t need to be all prepared and know how to code. You don’t need to have all your confidence and know everything yet. Keep looking for what interests you. Tech is a big world and it overlaps with almost any interest you can think of.


The SoMa Adventurer: Swathi Bhat – Software Engineer

Q: How long have you been with AppDynamics?

A: I’ve only been here a little more than two months but I’ve already shipped multiple features for our products. I was also part of the first Hackathon at AppDynamics. My team worked on building a code search tool that we presented at the open demos. Oh! I’m also going to Grace Hopper Conference this year!

Q: What is a typical day at work like for you?

A: I take the train from South Bay so I catch up on e-mail and work/read on the train. At AppDynamics we organize ourselves into small teams of 6-8 people. We use common tools across the teams for collaboration, bug-tracking and code-reviews. Mornings start with stand-ups, prioritizing tasks, code-reviews etc. My team and I love to venture out and try the various restaurants around SoMa for lunch. Post-lunch the day is usually interspersed with meetings and coding. The environment is friendly and getting pulled into impromptu conversations is a norm since my team sits around me.

Q: What advice do you have for young women who want to pursue a career in tech?

A: The technology industry can be challenging but it has its perks–flexible hours, ability to work from anywhere and the fact that it is very result oriented keeps meritocracy from being subjective. Focus on being the best that you can possibly be at what you do.

Q: What do you think is the biggest misconception about working in tech?

A: I have had a lot of people tell me that when they think of someone working in the technology field they imagine a geek sitting for hours in front of the computer typing away to glory. With my experience so far, I can tell you that the reality is far from it. Computer science is about problem solving, the ability to have a different kind of imagination, to think analytically and so much more.

Women in Technology SoulCycle was a huge success!

Despite the craziness of San Francisco’s 45th Annual Pride Celebration and Parade on Sunday, June 28, 2015, AppDynamics celebrated an event of our own. AppDynamics help a Women in Technology (WiT) event and united 53 women from various Bay Area Tech Companies came together to ride as one towards an equal workforce. We decided that SoulCycle would be the perfect venue to host the event, as they encourage riders to come together to challenge yourself, and your fellow riders to ride as one pack. For those of you who haven’t heard of SoulCycle, it’s a hip indoor cycling full-body workout that uses bikes, weights, and choreography to work your core.

Around 12:30, attendees began to arrive and check in for the event. We surprised them with goodie bags, filled with donations from companies supporting the cause, including Jamba Juice, IfOnly, Lululemon, B.R. Cohn, Rocksbox, Karelen Hair Care, Cocoa Cravings, Bare Body Collection, and Crunchmaster. After collecting their goody bags, ladies changed for the ride and adjusted their bikes to have the right seat height, seat position, and handlebar height. (Fun fact: about 38% of the attendees were new riders!) The 45 minute ride featured female artists, like Beyonce’s Run The World (Girls), and Alicia Keys’ ‘Girl On Fire’, to hopefully inspire one another to work together to create equality in Silicon Valley, and eventually, globally. 

The ride was long, and hard – a real butt kicker, but it was inspiring and uplifting to see everyone else alongside you also pedaling through the burn. In addition to uniting so many women, and doing something great for our bodies, the event raised $4,000 for Oakland-based non-profit Level The Playing Field Institute. LPFI is an organization that aims to close the gap for underrepresented students of color to compete in science and technology. Many alumni of this program go on to successfully complete prestigious degrees such as Computer Science from UC Berkeley. LPFI’s Chief Development Officer, Moneese DeLara reflects gratefully on the event, “we recognize that to truly level the playing field for underrepresented students of color to compete in science and tech, it will take the work and support of many, so we greatly appreciate the generous support of AppDynamics Women in Tech of our efforts.”

This event was the first of many Women in Technology philanthropies that will unite people together to move forward as and give back to the local communities. In our future events, we plan on inviting male allies as well as females, so we can all work together and create change. We realize that, as half of the population, women can only be half of the solution, and are excited to invite everyone to participate in our next event. If you would like to be kept in the loop of when that is, please sign up here.

If you are inspired by LPFI and the work they do, find out how you can donate or volunteer!

Aspire. Inspire. Perspire. Women in Tech (WiT) meets SoulCycle

Women in Technology is a hot topic that has gained a lot of traction over the past few years, specifically in the Bay Area, where the deficit of women is noticeable in almost every office you set foot in. As people and companies come together to solve the issue, one thing has become crystal clear: the problem stems from a quantity problem—there aren’t enough women in the tech career funnel, starting from childhood STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) programs. From a young age, females are socialized to play with Barbies, while males are encouraged to build with Legos. By the time these children get into elementary school, the pipeline gap has already made an impact on the future of tech professionals.

So, we have identified the problem, and want to do something about it. Here’s where things get a little bit trickier… WHAT can we do? The news is constantly talking about individual efforts of what companies are doing to “fill the gap”, and organizations like the Hackbright Academy and Grace Hopper Celebration organized by the Anita Borg Institution are gaining more velocity, but it takes a lot of momentum to make the kind of change that needs to happen. It cannot be one company’s efforts, or a small group of people’s individual efforts; we need the widespread collaboration of women and men alike to come together to make strides to fix the problem.

It was with these thoughts, on a beautiful San Francisco evening, Laura Spaventa (PR Manager, AppDynamics) left the office to attend her weekly SoulCycle class. For those of you unfamiliar with SoulCycle, it is a re-invented indoor cycling fitness routine, where riders come together for 45 minutes to ride as one pack, one united force, and transform the way riders look and feel together. The organization is built on the idea of unity and connection with other class members. Spinning, on the bike, Laura had an idea. The idea was simple: unite these women in technology to come ride together for a positive reason to make a change.

Once the gears were put in motion, the plan started taking shape. Who would attend? Many inspirational and pioneering Women in Tech leaders are already located in the Bay Area, so we would reach out to them and invite them to ride. (While we do recognize that women are only half of the solution, and we will require men allies and champions to really make a change, we thought it would be awesome if we could kick off this event in full female force. We do hope it is very successful, and we can invite both men and women to the following events!)

After almost no time at all, the only thing left was choosing a non-profit to partner with and donate the proceeds of the event to. Luckily, this puzzle piece was a no-brainer, as we knew we wanted to put the money towards solving the STEM pipeline problem. We contacted Freada Kapor Klein, Ph.D. who founded Oakland-based non-profit Level Playing Field Institute (LPFI). The local organization is committed to eliminating the barriers faced by underrepresented people of color in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) and fostering their unrecognized talent for the advancement of our nation. LPFI’s main programs promote computer science through events like hackathons and workshops, intensive summer and weekend educational programs, and research studies.

Now, we are just over two weeks away from the event, which is taking place at the SOMA SoulCycle location on June 28th. Women from tech companies all over the Bay Area as well as girls benefiting from LPFI’s organization will attend and ride together to help make changes to this gender gap. One day, we will finally achieve equality in the workplace, until then, we will do whatever we can to help this change happen.

Interested in participating in the SoulCycle event and supporting LPFI? Sign up here! Any questions or feedback, feel free to email Laura directly.

AppDynamics Women in Technology (WiT) Group

AppDynamics started its “Women In Technology” community group about two years ago, on a sunny and warm July afternoon. After a couple months of informal conversations, we decided this was an effort we needed to focus on as a company, and set up our first official meeting. For the first couple of months, we discussed what types of goals we wanted to set as a team, what types of initiatives we would focus on, and what kind of budget we would propose. Once we had our mission statement and goals drawn out, we held our very first Women In Technology Tea Party (a now quarterly meeting) to gather feedback from our women in tech.

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Over time, the group grew and gained momentum. We started getting speakers for our meetings and found a very positive reaction from the community. As an employee resource group promoting inclusion, we offer the WiT events to all AppDynamics employees and have recently started to pick up traction amongst our Male Allies in addition to our female employees. Topics such as “How to Negotiate” and “Promoting yourself for a Promotion” are attractive career enrichment opportunities for both male and female employees.

In addition to inviting guest speakers to our office, we also made a conscious effort to provide employees with career development and networking opportunities. AppDynamics attended the Grace Hopper Conference for the first time this previous October in Phoenix, Arizona. Applications to attend the event were open to the entire company, and one simple question was asked: Why do you want to attend the Grace Hopper Celebration on behalf of AppDynamics? Originally, we had decided to send four AppDynamos to the conference, but after an overwhelming 48 applications, we decided to select the top seven people to attend (four women and three men). Overall, the event was a huge success! Software Engineer Jing Hou said she was very “grateful to have the opportunity to connect with so many talented, smart and inspiring “Systers” in the computing world.” Andy Buteau, Director of Engineering, said “For me GHC was a chance to learn how to improve the lives of women in technology, make available new opportunities for young women to pursue careers in technology, and improve the diversity of our teams by hiring and promoting more women. More specifically, I learned the role I play as a male ally in the fight for gender equality.“

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As we look to the future, we look at how we can take the impact of these events home with us and share them with everyone at the company. While our diversity numbers are still growing, there is always room for improvement. Since we started this community at AppDynamics, our numbers have grown by over 250%. It is an amazing and exciting opportunity to come together and see all the smiling new faces, but work still needs to be done. We hope that our diversity numbers continue rise as the programs we offer and our engagement within the community also evolves and grows!

Interested in joining the team? Check out our openings!