The software development industry is still dominated by men. But global firm Niteco is making efforts to buck this trend. At its Vietnam headquarters, the company has appointed an above average number of women into technical positions, 20 per cent of its total workforce, in fact.
Women like Dung Le Nguyen.
“I love what I do”
Dung, who hails from a small province in Vietnam, works on one of Niteco’s largest North American contracts as a .Net developer. Coding alongside some of the best developers in the country is a dream come true for the 32-year-old, who was once deterred from entering the profession altogether.
She recalls, “It was in high school that I first heard about software development and I really wasn’t sure I had what it took to enter the profession. So I chose to study Economics at university before eventually switching my major to Information Technology.” Dung recalls sitting in class with only two other women in a cohort of more than 200. Initially it was ‘strange’, but she admits she got used to being a part of an extreme minority; a situation that has followed her into the world of work. But Dung’s confident. She adds, “At the moment, we have a lot of strong women taking up important roles in Niteco and in the tech industry as a whole, which is great. I hope to play my part too by mentoring and encouraging young women and girls to join an industry I love being a part of.”
‘Design chose me’
Ruby Nguyen is Niteco’s UX/UI Design Lead, heading up a team of three designers and overseeing a number of major projects on behalf of household name brands. She says being a woman has not impacted her career at all and finds that the agencies she’s worked for have always practiced gender parity. Originally from Ho Chi Minh City, Ruby has worked in Bangkok and is currently based in Hanoi, Vietnam. A career in design ‘chose her’, she says, and she hasn’t looked back since. Ruby believes there’s a space for anyone in software development, regardless of their gender. “It’s all about attitude, a willingness to learn and the ability to come up with creative solutions that meet business needs”, she shares.
‘Women’s voices are significant in the product development phase’
Twenty-three-year-old Tirza Alberta is a UI/UX designer at Niteco. She was attracted to the industry after watching her uncle code. By pursuing front end development and design at university, Tirza combined two of her passions – technology and art. Although she found gender parity at university and subsequently in the workplace, she says she’s still surprised how people respond differently to her work compared to that of male colleagues. She explains, “I find that as a female designer, I need to justify or explain my designs more than the male designers do. It’s almost always assumed that ‘he drew the circle there because he knows what he’s doing’ while ‘she must’ve put it there because it looks pretty and nice’”. In spite of some of the challenges, Tirza firmly believes diversity in all its forms is essential in a team. She continues. “Most, if not all industries can benefit from having a team with diverse thoughts, experiences, and opinions. Women and their unique experiences bring something that their male counterparts might not necessarily understand or have experienced. Moreover, women make up 50 percent of software consumers, so it makes sense to involve female designers and developers who might have a better understanding of that customer base.”
Niteco couldn’t agree with her more.