Celebrating Women in Tech at PAF
Women make up about 50% of PAF’s workforce
Author: Hannah König, Marketing Assistant at PAF
Women are still heavily underrepresented in the IT and digital industries. In the United States, women hold only 26% of computing occupations, in Germany, the figure is as low as 17%. The female share of Computer Science degrees dropped from a high of 28% in 1994 and 1995 to 20% in 2018. This gender gap is not only a reality in the U.S. and Germany but worldwide. Worldwide, there are currently three men for every female professional in the tech industry - in Europe, the number is as high as five.
The situation is different at Process Analytics Factory (PAF),where women currently make up around 50% of the workforce.
In celebration of Women’s History Month, we would like to give some exciting and inspiring women at PAF the opportunity to introduce themselves and tell how and why they chose the path to the tech industry.
Swathi, Director Solution Engineering
“One’s passion to pursue a field of career should not be stereotyped”
Swathi did her Masters in Structural Engineering at Stanford. Earthquakes and catastrophe modelling drove her to dive deeper into the world of statistics and data analytics which is why she originally joined PAF as a Data Scientist. Currently she is Director of Solution Engineering, leading a team of solution engineers, that communicate the value of Process Mining to the PAF client base.
Coming from a Civil Engineering background, Swathi reports to have seen the gender gap to be quite prominent throughout her studies. STEM is still seen one of the least preferred choices among girls. Personally, Swathi believes that passion for a particular career field should not be the subject of stereotyping. Swathi’s message to all the women in Tech as well as aspiring to be part of it is to embrace technology and be open to what it can offer. Don’t feel the need to narrow down your choices – be it the variety of classes you take, or different industries you explore. It will only open more doors, and not hold you back - this way you can carve your own unique career path
Susanne, Director Data Engineering
“You can learn anything, no matter your gender!"
Susanne, who holds a PhD in economics with a focus on mathematics, joined PAF in 2018 as a Data Analyst. Susanne found her way into the tech industry through her interest in data and process analysis, which was already of high importance in her dissertation. She now holds the title of Director Data Engineering and, together with her team, is responsible for the implementation as well as the successful deployment of PAFnow with end customers.
Susanne states that she notices the gender gap especially in contact with customers. She is often the only female in the room during customer meetings. Susanne sees the reason for the gender gap starting early on in the education and upbringing of girls, which leads women to see themselves as inherently inferior when it comes to dealing with numbers and technology. Her advice to women who strive for a career in the tech industry? Forget about your doubts and just do what you enjoy. You can learn anything, no matter your gender!
Katharina, PR Manager
“You only know that you can’t do something once you’ve tried it."
Katharina initially joined PAF in 2018 as a working student for translations during her master’s degree in journalism and media communications. She is now PR Manager and responsible for coordinating and creating all written content at PAF.
During her studies, Katharina was already drawn towards science journalism. In this field, it is sometimes difficult for women, because they have to deal with prejudices such as, “women can write articles for fashion fairs”. Katharina’s advice to women considering a career in the tech industry is therefore to grow a thick skin, not to let comments get you down, and above all to support each other.
Vivian, Sales Manager DACH
“Living role models pave the way for women."
After Vivian worked as a lawyer and corporate counsel for several years, her affinity for sales and a circle of friends in the IT industry drew the fully qualified lawyer to software sales 8 years ago. She joined PAF in October 2020 as Sales Manager for the DACH region.
In the male-dominated industry, women can sometimes be asked about their family planning during job interviews and therefore fall through the cracks of the job advertisement despite having the right qualifications. Mothers, in particular, often have very good time management (hard skills), empathy (soft skills), and a sense of responsibility for the entire team. Furthermore, it is extremely important that children learn at an early age that mothers are not only responsible for washing and cooking, but can also work full time. Vivian’s advice? Women should be more confident. If you get rejected by a company, you apply to a competitor and make sure that they are upset that they didn’t hire you.
Annette, Business Development Manager Sales
“Role models ensure that men and women’s worlds progressively converge."
After Annette worked in international sales for an industrial company for many years, the industrial clerk joined PAF as Business Development Manager Sales international at the end of 2019. Her motivations included her interest in (new) technologies as well as her experience with process improvements at her former employer.
Compared to men, women have to prove their qualifications more often. . Annette would therefore advise young women to look for a profession or industry that really excites them. This makes it easier for them to be well prepared, to express their point of view clearly, and thus to radiate professionalism. A positive example is Angela Merkel, who stands her ground as a strong woman among the mostly male heads of government and heads of state. Role models like Angela Merkel ensure that bit by bit, a convergence from the separate worlds of women and men to a shared world takes place.
Deborah, Head of Strategic Alliances
“It’s worth fighting for."
After completing her Master’s degree in Business Administration, Deborah held numerous positions as Partner/Alliances Manager in the IT industry, including SAS and Oracle, before joining PAF last year as Head of Strategic Alliances.
Particularly at the start of your career, you are often not taken seriously as a woman in the IT industry; acting fact-based and with a cool head is the first step to proving your skills. Unfortunately, women always have to prove their skills a bit more than their male colleagues. But with an engaging manner and high working quality, you can build up a personal brand and reputation. Fortunately, as women, we can also rely somewhat on our female intuition, which can point us in the right direction in some situations. There are certain situations in which you don’t know what to do, and in these cases, it can help to have a mentor or other contacts from various groups, meetups, or even from your own network to help you learn. In the end, it is worth fighting for your own success, even if you get discouraged from time to time by the behavior of different people.
Melanie, Product Manager
“Create a network with like-minded people and support each other."
Melanie joined PAF as a working student during her master’s degree in business informatics. After submitting her master’s thesis, she became Product Manager in January 2020 and is responsible for the product and its further development, as well as organizing the time and content of the development team. Her interest in the tech industry was sparked by early access to computers and tech gadgets in her childhood as well as her high school computer science teacher.
Melanie reports that as a woman in the tech industry, you definitely have to work harder to get equal recognition for your efforts. You also face (unconscious) sexism much more often. That makes it all the more important to not let it hold you back. Especially in the digital age, it’s easier than ever to access learning materials or take courses to acquire all the skills you need; even at a later stage in life. Her advice: create a network. It can help to offset some of the disadvantages you face as a woman in IT. On LinkedIn or meetup, there are groups offering inspiration, continuing education, and job opportunities specifically for women.
Want to learn even more about women in tech or looking for ways to exchange ideas? Here are a few examples of the many offerings on LinkedIn or meetup:Women in Tech Creating Careers + Lives We Love | Meetup