Happy National STEM Day! Today, we celebrate those in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and math! We had a conversation with Kate Sharr, who's a Senior Engineering Manager. We discussed with her her love for STEM, and being a woman in tech!
When did you first become interested in tech?
“Probably in college, though I wish I had known about it sooner! Taking an introductory computer science course during my freshman year was my first step into the field. I didn’t know anything about it which was a challenge, but I’ve always really liked to be challenged. I wanted to keep learning more and more.”
What do you love most about your job?
“At this point in my career, the best part is managing people. I love mentoring and passing on everything I’ve learned. It’s very rewarding to work with people who have started from the ground up, and seeing where they are today!”
As a woman in technology, have there been certain challenges you've had to overcome?
“I think the biggest challenge is this overwhelming feeling of having to prove yourself over and over again. This started in college, but I had to keep telling myself that I can keep up and I am just as good as everyone else. My male counterparts didn’t have the same experience, but it’s motivated me to keep pushing. I am where I’m supposed to be.”
Have you seen any changes in the field regarding gender equality over the years?
“Yes, an experience that comes to mind was at my first job out of college. We had been acquired by a larger company and our positions were being shifted. We were all handed offer letters with our positions and salary. Mine was mixed up with a colleague’s, and when opening it I saw that this male employee was making the same amount as me - despite having a lower position and less experience than me. That really opened my eyes to the inequalities in this field. Now, I feel that my pay is more on par with my male counterparts. Also at my first job, I was the only woman in the engineering department. And now I’m seeing more women in this field which is so amazing and inspiring.”
If you could go back, would you do anything different in regard to your career?
“In some aspects yes - I wasn’t as confident in my abilities when I was first starting, and would let others rule what I thought of myself. As a result, I held myself back from taking those leaps. But, if I had not experienced hurdles and pushed through, where would I be today?”