Home » Women in STEM » How your passion for STEM can positively impact millions of people

The technology sector provides limitless opportunities for women and girls to break the ‘geek’ stereotype and find a career path in STEM that suits their strengths and interests.

Deirdre Hogan

Software Engineering Manager, LinkedIn

Q: Are there any myths you’d like to dispel about women in engineering?

A: There is a perception that computer science is for a particular type of person: a “geek” who has been coding away since they were 10 years old and that it’s often not something girls or women see as being an interesting career choice. It’s a real pity because the field is vast and varied both in technical areas and functional roles, so there is lots of opportunity to find something that aligns with your strengths and interests

What do you like most about your job?

I love the interface between technology and product and getting to work with multiple teams to figure out how best to apply Artificial Intelligence or Machine Learning to make improvements in LinkedIn’s products. It’s exciting to see a product or feature that our team has been working on being released and having a positive impact on millions of people.

Who has inspired you in your career journey?

I find it encouraging when I see other women succeed and take on leadership roles in the tech industry; it shows you there is a path forward where others like me have succeeded, and it makes it easier to imagine your own career progression.

Lydia Xu

Senior Software Engineer, LinkedIn

Q: What do your family and friends think about your role?

A: My parents were nervous initially because they didn’t know anything about computer science or software engineering. They were worried that the working environment wouldn’t be friendly to girls. However, now that they can see I’m doing great and I really enjoy it, they are super happy for me. 

How do you share your passion for STEM with others?

I’m always happy to share my stories and experiences with people, especially those looking to pursue a career in STEM. I often talk about how I became a software engineer and how amazing it is to be one. I also helped a lot of people progress in their STEM careers by sharing my experiences, doing reviews of CVs and mock interviews, amongst other activities. It’s really rewarding.

What do you like most about your job?

I really enjoy coding and tackling real-world problems. Figuring out the design of a new system or application, bringing it ‘live’ and seeing its impact on people’s daily lives make me feel proud. Coding itself also calms me down because I become so focused and concentrated on the task at hand.

Elena Vergou

Data Scientist, LinkedIn

Q: What do you like most about your job? 

A: It’s a long list; for the first time in my career, I feel I can be exactly who I am and totally fit in. Additionally, the support and encouragement I’ve received to grow my STEM skills further since I started working at LinkedIn has been amazing. 

In many ways, tech is a male-dominated industry, did that concern you?

I came from finance, which is also male dominated, so that was not really a deterrent for me. I think the only thing that concerned me – which turned out to not be true at LinkedIn – is the stereotype that men are perceived to be more technical. I feared that would impact my working environment but that’s not been the case at all. Actually, all the managers in my team have been women so far, so it’s pretty clear that the culture here of helping people succeed has nothing to do with gender but is more about recognising skill and empowering everyone to be the best they can be.

How important is a diverse and inclusive workplace?

Immensely. I really didn’t imagine that a workplace could be as fun, open, inclusive and progressive as it is here at LinkedIn. I thought that it was just something companies promised because it was the right thing to say but in reality, fell short on action, but at LinkedIn you really feel the sense of inclusion.

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