Women in the World of High Tech

The numbers, apparently, don’t lie: according to the Labor Department’s latest race and gender data on the top ten tech firms, roughly 83% of tech jobs are held by men. Lucky for us, then, that we were able to be in the presence of four very successful women, all CMC alums, currently working at high tech jobs in Silicon Valley. They came to the Ath as part of the CIE’s “Entrepreneurship Week,” and were the first in a series of events taking place at CMC this week.

Candace Adelberg ’10 works as part of Google’s Counter-Abuse Technology team; Kristie Howard ’15 is a software engineer at Docker, Inc., a San Francisco startup that makes building and shipping applications; Mayumi Matsuno ’01 is Director of Product at Electric Imp, a cloud service and hardware solution that facilitates connecting devices to the Internet; and Jacinth Sohi ’11, is a Product Support Manager at Uber, specializing in scaling the infrastructure and launching support operations for new products like UberEATS and UberPOOL.

Though each of these women graduated at the top of their class, they came to their careers in different ways. Howard, for example, received her BA in Computer Science, and felt that taking coding courses in college was extremely helpful. Adelberg, however, is adamant about the fact that the solid foundation you get from a liberal arts education is important: “You can always learn the tech stuff later.”

Among their kernels of wisdom: take advantage of CMC and form relationships with your professors. Get experience working at one of the college’s many institutes (like Berger!). Form a support group of like-minded women who can help you navigate the many challenges faced in the competitive and male-dominated culture of Silicon Valley after you’ve come to terms with the fact that “it’s going to be hard, but you won’t fail,” said Howard. Matsuno says that success in any field ultimately depends on being passionate about your work. “If you’re passionate, you will be successful.”

The lunch ended with a plea for more women to join their ranks, and to understand that we all struggle with balance, and that priorities can change. It’s important to be supportive of the choices women everywhere make to be able to achieve their own version of work/life balance.