Galit Steinberg discusses finding a career that combines her love for gaming, her background in design and her interest in future tech.
Galit Steinberg is the creative director at Nyx Technologies, an Israel-based start-up that is developing wearable technologies that aim to improve the wearer’s sleep. But she is also the co-founder of Mao-Tou, a company she started last year with her friend to create apps that help gamers improve their playing skills.
Steinberg initially began her career as a graphic designer at a tech company. It wasn’t long, however, before she discovered the track she was on wasn’t exactly right for her.
“I sensed the design background was not enough for me, and expanding my knowledge beyond the visual communication field would be beneficial for my future,” she says. “I wanted a new perspective and understanding of technology and human-tech interactions, which led me to knowledge and information management.
“Parallel to my academic and professional path, I became an avid gamer. I partnered with my friend Boaz to found Mao-Tou, a tech company that develops gaming overlays to help gamers get better. My education and professional background enabled me to execute and implement the knowledge I’ve gathered so far to develop tools and apps to help gamers improve.
“Now, my current career combines my love for gaming, my background in design and my interest in the future of technology.”
Getting more women into game development
One of the biggest concerns Steinberg has for the gaming industry is the “barrier to entry for women”.
“On a broad level, I believe some fields in the industry are less visible as options for women based on how society has traditionally positioned them,” she says. “One way to overcome this is to raise awareness and exposure to the disparity that exists through educational programmes for girls, interviews like this and additional exposure methods in schools, workplaces and the home.”
Those barriers have been a personal challenge for Steinberg, too. She encountered “a lack of support from the system” when she was young.
“Up until high school I [was] a very quiet person. My teachers didn’t believe in me, and I didn’t believe in myself. In high school, I had to move to a big city and I started a new school where everything changed.
“At the beginning of the year, students had to pick their own majors, and one teacher told me, ‘You can pick whatever you want and you can learn whatever you want’. I know it sounds very mundane, but this was a defining moment for me.
“Up until that point, teachers made all the choices for me and forbade me from taking classes I found interesting because they didn’t suit me. My desire for inquiring knowledge ignited at that moment and I haven’t stopped learning since.”
Women supporting women
So, what helped Steinberg build her confidence? During her first job in the tech industry, she says, there were a small number of women in leadership positions who encouraged her to push herself intellectually and work harder.
“My first boss was a strong woman that had super amazing qualities of design and management,” she says. “I was fortunate enough to work alongside her and learned a lot about leadership and design from her. Over time, I’ve realised that at work, and in my personal life, I’m surrounded by amazing women that have diverse skills and perspectives who are incredible role models for me as I grow in my abilities.”
A wider support network has also been key, she adds. “I feel very lucky to have the support of my family and my friends that happen to also be gamers. They love the fact that I’m pursuing a career path in the gaming industry.”
Getting to be ‘an explorer’
Today, what Steinberg loves most about her job is knowing that people are engaging with her creations. “I get joy from knowing that people are using something I created and finding true value in it. We listen to user feedback so that our apps address their pain points and creative positive responses from the solution we provide them.
“I also love how much I learn on a daily basis. My co-founder and I work closely together, including collaborating on the entire process of imagination, wireframes, specification, QA and product launch. This allows me to gain experience in developing web apps from start to finish, while we try to stay true to our users and create products that they will like to use in their daily lives.”
‘Every piece of information that you can learn is a key. And the more keys you have, the more doors you can open’
– GALIT STEINBERG
To meet her goals and develop the right products, there are two main attributes she believes are important: knowing that she needs to be good at what she does and that she is “an explorer”.
“I always need to know more about a subject, which gives me the ability to tackle problems from different perspectives,” she explains. “At the beginning of my career, I would address problems from one point of view – of a visual communicator – but now I try to combine a user’s needs and aesthetics with business perspective and development requirements in order to create a better product.”
Steinberg’s advice for people who want to work in the tech industry is not to limit yourself to one field of knowledge. Multidisciplinary knowledge, she says, makes your “communication and collaboration with others more productive and successful”.
“Every piece of information that you can learn is a key. And the more keys you have, the more doors you can open,” she adds. “I also would not neglect the art of empathy. This is crucial when creating a viable product because you must understand – on a deep level – what your users want and need.”