Masabi – Tara Abraham, Front-End Developer

We recently interviewed Tara Abraham, Front-End Developer at Masabi on her thoughts and experience on Diversity in Tech.

  1. What made you choose a career in technology?

In university I got involved in my student radio station and joined the engineering department because a friend was in it, too — I learned about servers, the command line, and did little bits of programming for the first time — which I loved. I’ve chosen a career in technology because I enjoy problem solving, building new things, and being part of something that feels new.

  1. What does your job role involve?

As a front-end software developer, my job role consists of programming in JavaScript most of the time. I’m on a team that builds white-label mobile ticketing apps and websites that get customised for transit agencies around the world. I’m on a relatively small team; we have daily stand-ups and fortnightly planning meetings, but the rest of the time is spent focusing on solving one problem after the other. It’s exciting to see new features used by commuters on a daily basis and discussing what improvements we can make to their experiences – doing what we can to make getting around as hassle-free as possible!

  1. Do you think there’s a lack of diversity in the tech sector?

Certainly, there is – I’ve become used to being in a mostly white, male-dominated environment but this shouldn’t really be normal. If “know your user” is the motto, we should try to build teams that better represent the average user, or the general population.

  1. Did you study a tech related subject at school or university to help you get the role you’re in now?

I studied astrophysics at university; so not directly but having done a science degree has definitely helped my problem-solving skills. I was nervous going into this job at first because of my lack of a CS degree, but luckily at work I’ve met plenty of people who haven’t done one either, which is encouraging and helps with the imposter syndrome a bit!

  1. Do you find there’s a stereotype for people who work in the tech industry?

Yes, but that’s got to change!

  1. What do you think would encourage a more diverse group to study tech related subjects?

We need more role models, supportive and well-informed teachers, and a lot more confidence.

  1. Do you feel there’s an unconscious bias in the tech industry?

Definitely – and this is something we’re all guilty of. We’ll be able to counter this once the stereotype changes; stories of female role models, entrepreneurs and leaders can help. Reading the other profiles on the Women in Tech site has buoyed me up already; I also follow several female developers on Twitter who are helping to change my stereotype of what a developer looks like and who belongs in this industry.

  1. Are there opportunities for everybody in the tech sector?

Sure – there’s a whole lot of work to do! Companies need to be more open to hiring juniors, as it feels like getting that foot in the door is the hard part of working in the tech sector.

  1. What are your thoughts on the salaries between genders and across all ethnicities in tech, do you believe it is equal?

The gender pay gap is an issue that isn’t going anywhere for a while and isn’t just an issue in tech. It’s inspiring to see stories of people fighting for equal pay – for example Carrie Gracie at the BBC, who was massively underpaid despite assurances that she wouldn’t be and fought successfully for equal compensation. Talking about salary feels awkward, but we probably cultural shift towards being more open to doing this, in order to expose the differences in every workplace.

  1. What advice would you give young women today at the start of their career?

Don’t be afraid to try out different roles and environments – it’s easy to think that the status quo of your current job is all that will ever be, but we’re in it for the long haul and it will pay off to spend time exploring and finding what’s right for you.