We celebrate the International Women's day on the 8th March (International women's rights day, in few countries) because it's important to remind that women are equal of men and it's essential to protect and respect their rights every days of the year but...
nowadays, women make up just 24% of the tech workforce, thus more and more women are encouraged to pursue careers in the tech industry. Initiatives such as Girls who Code and conferences such as European Women in Technology support this movement passionately.
And at Joomla, the trend is not much different. Because there is no fatality, we must do things in others ways and being more inclusive. In our community, some women are really amazing and I've decided to introduce you some of them. These women are so inspiring and so motivating. Really. Read their stories, their advices, their thoughts and you'll be convinced.
Because we need really each others, I do hope that these portraits will inspire others women to embrace a career in tech sector and/or to join the Joomla Community.
What’s your name and your role at Joomla?
My name is Angie Radtke. I started already in Mambo times. At that time I was working on the HTML output.
Semantically correct code, standard compliance and accessibility are very important to me. A long time ago I developed the Beez template and last year I tinkered a bit with the Joomla 4 backend template.
What excites you about your daily work?
I am a very curious person. The web and its techniques are in a permanently change.
New techniques appear, others disappear - and still others remain our constant companion. These ongoing changes are very exciting. We need to evaluate and value new technologies permanently. This can be exhausting as well. However, this leads to a better understanding of which technology makes sense in which context. This understanding is the foundation for the development of sustainable websites. This necessity satisfies my curiosity, I am not a worker bee, I need creative freedom. I have been self-employed for many years and in addition to design and technology, I am also responsible for the content structure of my customers websites.
Over the years I have learned so much in terms of content. For that I am very grateful. I like medical topics just as much as mechanical engineering ;-) or the special needs of NGOs. Just this diversity is very enriching.
What did you study?
Actually, I was a nurse, then I studied psychology for a while and landed on the web by luck in 1996. Learning by doing has been my motto ever since.
When did you start to think about pursuing a career in tech?
That was not a conscious decision, but a result of enthusiasm.
The possibilities that the web gave my generation were just incredible. I still remember with joy, I could be so happy about the little details like <h1> Headline </h1> and the text gets bigger.
Since then I have never lost my joy and excitement. Since 1999 I am self-employed and create websites.
What challenges are you facing as a woman working in tech?
Women in technology are actually a matter of course.
Equality has always been important within the Joomla project, but even here, equal opportunities don't always exist. Unfortunately, women make the experience that their expertise is doubted - again and again. Especially when you are discussing in a larger group with men. In technical professions men are still expected a higher competence than women. This is certainly not intentional, often this is unconscious behavior.
This experience leads me to check all my statements as carefully as possible. When something doesn't run right in projects, I always look first to see if I might not be to blame. Sometimes this is quite hard, but also leads to the fact that my work usually works well.
I also have had good experience:
If you've fought your way - as a woman - into a team of men, the guys can be really nice and respectful.
Unfortunately - within the open source environment - team members often change.
This throws us often back to the starting position and can be a tiring process sometimes.
What would your advice to women considering pursuing a career in tech be?
I have had over 20 years of experience so far. I am glad that my knowledge could grow with the change of technology. It's certainly harder to get started today, because there are so many various technologies out there already.
Today we are expected to master all technologies perfectly. This is not possible. The beauty of open source is that we can share knowledge. Everyone is learning from each other. Open source projects are in my experience a more comfortable working platform than other buisness approaches.
If you don't know something, that's not a problem, it's probably normal. Especially at the beginning of your career, it is very helpful to have a mentor. Sometimes it is good to be able to ask for help and advice.
In the open source world, this is usually not a problem. Over the years I have met many helpful people.
Don't get boxed in and stay tuned.
Are there any specific Book/Blogs/Apps you enjoy & recommend ?
There are a lot of interesting sources of information. I regularly read the W3c html mailing list or get the Frontend Focus newsletter. The offer is so large that we can get lost in it. I read the book by Connell, R: Masculinities not too long ago. This is such a standard work on the subject of masculinities - not on the subject of men. This opened my eyes in many ways and made me aware that we women have to accept ourselves as we are without imitating seemingly male behavior in business. (There is no such thing as truly masculine behavior, just as there is no such thing as feminine behavior, both are merely social constructs.) Perhaps this change would also make many men feel more comfortable
Who or what inspires you?
Just in the business context, there are always people who inspire us by a different view of things.
This kind of interaction so important. I love discussions with people who know things better than I do - this is the only way I can develop myself.
What do you enjoy doing outside of work?
I love my family very much. I miss vacations and going to concerts together much right now.
3 tips you would give your younger self?
- Sometimes you have to let it go.
- Listen to your inner voice.
- Self-control is necessary and important, just don't overdo it.