Tech Women

4th grade budding girl geek in the making 2nd row 2nd girl from the left

I grew up in a small suburb of New York fascinated with math and sciences. 3-2-1 Contact was my all-time favorite show then and getting their magazine was such a joy. As a young girl it was fun to try out the BASIC programs they published, programming with a joystick and running them on my Atari system (Yes programming with a joystick or paddle is just as useful as the MacBook Wheel.) It seemed like a no brainer to dive into computers when I started college. Women in my family were commonly in the sciences, so entering my college CS program was a bit of a culture shock for me; I could actually count all the women in my class year on one hand!
After graduating and working at a range of tech companies as a Quality Assurance Engineer, from big players to small startups, I’ve always had the desire to give back to the tech community. Only recently, however, did I find the right avenue. One day a co-worker of mine shared a link with me about the TechWomen program. From their website:
TechWomen brings emerging women leaders in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics  from the Middle East and Africa together with their counterparts in the United States for a professional mentorship and exchange program. TechWomen connects and supports the next generation of women entrepreneurs in these fields by providing them access and opportunity to advance their careers and pursue their dreams.
 As soon as I read that, I applied right away.  This was exactly the type of program I was looking for to help share what I’ve learned.

It must have been written in the stars as I was accepted as a mentor in the program.  I was matched with Heba Hosny who is an emerging leader from Egypt.  She works as a QA Engineer at a Vimov, an Alexandria based mobile application company. During her three week internship at Flurry she was involved in the process of testing the full suite of Flurry products.

During Heba’s stay with us she was like a sponge, soaking up the knowledge to learn what it takes to build and run a fast-paced, successful company in Silicon Valley. In her own words,

“EVERYBODY likes to go behind the scenes. Getting backstage access to how Flurry manages their analytics business was an eye opening experience for me. I was always curious to see how Flurry makes this analytics empire, being behind the curtains with them for just a month has been very inspiring for me to the extent that some of what Flurry does has became pillars of how I daily work as a tester for Flurry analytics product used by the company I work for.

In a typical Internship, you join one company and at the end of the day you find yourself sitting in the corner with no new valuable information. You have no ability to even contact a senior guy to have a chat with him. Well, my internship at Flurry was the total OPPOSITE of that.

The Flurry workplace is different. In Flurry managers, even C levels, are sitting alongside engineering, business development, marketing, sales, etc. This open environment allowed me to meet with company CEO, CTO, managers, and even sitting next to the analytics manager.

 In short, an internship at Flurry for me was like a company wide in-depth journey of how you can run a superb analytics shop and what it’s like to deal with HUGE amounts of data like what Flurry works with .”

Working with Heba during her internship was a great experience. The experience of hosting an emerging leader was very fruitful. In QA we were able to implement some of the new tools Heba introduced to us, such as the test case management tool Tarantula. Heba also gave us the opportunity to learn more about her culture and gave members of our staff a chance to practice their Arabic. The San Francisco Bay Area is a very diverse place but this is the first chance many of us have gotten to hear a first hand account of the Arab Spring.

From our experience in the tech field, it’s obvious that the industry suffers from a noticeable lack of strong female leadership at the  top. It’s time that women who value both a rich home life and a fulfilling career explore the tech startup world. Participating in programs such as TechWomen will help in this regard. These programs benefit not only the mentee and mentor, but the industry as a whole. Mentees who gain experience in Silicon Valley tech companies will pay it forward to next generations of future tech women in their communities by sharing their experiences. Mentors in the program not only learn from their mentees but are able to create a sense of community to help make sure the mentee has a successful internship. Company-wise, participating in programs like TechWomen bring tremendous exposure to Flurry outside of the mobile community. As we enrich more women’s lives in the tech field, we can share even more experiences to help inspire young women and girls to know it’s possible to touch the Silicon Valley dream, no matter where in the world they are.

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