When walking into the IT department at STYLIGHT, depending on the hour, you may see some Lego construction or feel the need to duck your head for a stray Nerf gun bullet or hear the Agile coach, Torsten, gauging happiness levels among the engineers. From our very first day at STYLIGHT, we knew it would be a place unlike any other.
Unlike the experience of many recent computer science graduates who are pigeonholed into positions at grey-suit consulting or uninspiring tech firms, we were both fortunate to have found STYLIGHT and to have begun our careers simultaneously as two of STYLIGHT’s female engineers. Given the gender gap between men and women in programming positions at tech companies around the world and recent incidents of sexism at some of these firms, we want to give the inside scoop on our experiences at STYLIGHT.
For both of us, choosing STYLIGHT was a happy result of a combination of loving Munich as a city and a desire to start our careers where we not only acquire promising future perspectives but also work in a creative and supportive environment for us to develop both as people and as professionals.We both come from backgrounds in which we knew from a very young age that the choice of our future career would be determined by our abilities and interests–irrespective of our gender. As enrollment at university computer science programs nowadays remains predominantly male, both of us were quite used to programming alongside mostly guys; however in STYLIGHT, even the IT department already had a female presence with our UX researcher, Raz, and our Technical Support Engineer, Laura, both of whom studied computer science and engineering at university.
While it is traditionally difficult for engineering positions, the onboarding process for us was relatively quick; we both finished our first features before the end of our first month. Due to the small size of squads, we each work closely with our mentors, are able to ask questions at any time, but also are given creative distance to experiment and make mistakes on our own. Additionally, we teamed up together with Adrian, our Lead Android Developer, for ShipIt Day to develop an “Around Me” feature for the STYLIGHT app which gives the nearest location of a product. This was a great exercise in creativity, cross-squad collaboration, and the learning and teaching of new technology. We even took first place– our prize being an afternoon excursion to a local brewery to learn about beer-making!
Our experiences thus far as IT women at STYLIGHT have been overwhelmingly positive – and not just because our fellow engineers go out of their way to explicitly remind us every day how welcome we are in the team. Instead, the reasons have been much more implicit and meaningful: the trust and responsibility over significant tasks that we receive from our team and, of course, no advantages given during Nerf gun battles. We are proud to work in such a creative environment with amazing colleagues, and if STYLIGHT is any indication of the future for women in tech, then it is nothing but an encouraging one!