Women in tech: Do not underestimate yourself
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Women in tech: Do not underestimate yourself

8 Jun 2017227 Shares

Rya Sciban was one of the first data analysts that Periscope Data hired. Now, she’s the project manager for the company.

As the gender imbalance in tech (and other areas) rages on, strong words from a successful woman in the tech sphere are always welcome.

Rya Sciban was one of the first data analysts to work at Periscope Data, a company that brings together business data from multiple sources to properly inform companies of trends and performance.

She says being a user of the platform prior to being hired helped her evolve and fine-tune her existing analytics skill set. “Given that I was a former Periscope Data customer, I was able to leverage my understanding of the average customer experience and enhance the experience of our current and future user base.”

From a young age, Sciban was always interested in statistics and data. “I started my career as a data analyst for a gaming company. Working on the mobile publishing side, my time was dedicated to building out a platform that served analytics and reported to a portfolio of the company’s games.”

Ironically enough, the tool Sciban used to create the analytics platform was from Periscope Data. “When it was time for Periscope Data to start looking for their first product hire, they did not have to look very far.”

As a woman working in the tech industry, Sciban was fortunate, both at Periscope Data and in her previous jobs, to have always been in diverse, supportive environments.

“That said, I recognise that not all women working in tech have been as fortunate as I am,” she said. “Many women have been exposed to instances, whether public-facing or behind closed doors, where lines (either intentionally or otherwise) have been crossed. It’s in these instances that I hope my peers would feel empowered enough to challenge discriminatory behaviour.”

‘Really good for a woman’

Sciban went on to talk about friends of hers at other companies who have experienced blatant gender bias. For some, opportunities for advancement of women in tech don’t match those of their male counterparts.

For others, they encountered talent recruiters who assured them that a proposed job offer was ‘really good for a woman’. “Thankfully, that recruiter has since been let go,” she added.

“Unfortunately, the key takeaway here is that gender discrimination in the workplace is more common than you think.”

Indeed, it will come as no surprise to many that blatant gender bias is rife within the tech industry.

Even taking something as simple as the clear gender gaps within the top tech companies, it’s easy to see how women in tech are given short shrift.

Not only that, but companies such as Facebook and Google are facing backlash over gender bias claims and alleged gender pay gaps.

With such a societal problem on our hands, what can women in tech do to help themselves, when the higher-ups just aren’t working fast enough? Sciban says perseverance is the main challenge to overcome.

“Attitude shifts and spreading awareness require time and constant attention. Both changes in attitude and awareness of issues have great traction, and now is the most important time to persevere and push for more,” she said.

“We need to keep raising issues when they come up, keep challenging attitudes that are biased. We need to be supportive of people who do raise issues, and be courageous to raise issues when we see them, and we need to keep spreading this support and mindset.”

When asked for one piece of advice to give women in tech, both current and future, Sciban simply said: “Do not underestimate yourself, and expect more.”

Jenny Darmody
By Jenny Darmody

Jenny joined Silicon Republic in 2016 as part of the Careers team. When she’s not writing about the science and tech industry, she’s writing short stories and attempting novels. She continuously buys more books than she can read in a lifetime and pretty stationery is her kryptonite. She also believes seagulls to be the root of all evil and her baking is the stuff of legends.

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