The Builders of Tomorrow: Women Taking Charge and Building Solutions
Women have significantly impacted the technology industry. Unfortunately, this male-dominated field often erases or purposefully leaves out women's contributions to science and technology. The biases within our society are the hurdles women — especially women of color — must overcome to even sit at the table. And even then, it’s a struggle to be heard and acknowledged.
Thankfully, in recent years, the stories of women's contributions to science and technology that have gone unnoticed and unacknowledged are finally coming to light. For example, Ada Lovelace is now considered the first computer programmer due to her discovery of an algorithm that dubbed her the 'prophet of the computer age’. While working as a mathematician at the U.S. Naval Weapons Laboratory, Dr. Gladys West's mathematical research and contributions were responsible for the invention of the Global Positioning System (GPS). Dr. West went on to assist with outer space discoveries before being inducted into the U.S. Air Force's Space and Missiles Pioneers Hall of Fame in 2018.
In a Harvard Business Review article, author Joan C. Williams shares results from her study she conducted, which demonstrates several biases that are pushing women out of the STEM field: requirements to repeatedly prove their expertise, expectations to remain within feminine behavioral stereotypes, the maternal pitfall, and exclusion due to cultural differences. As a result, women have a glass ceiling to shatter. Women must be recognized for their accomplishments and contributions to science and technology and encouraged to equip themselves with STEM-related knowledge and solutions.
Today, we are looking at the women that decided to take matters into their own hands and build the solutions they needed with the tools necessary to impact their work positively.
Leading with Innovation
Didi Tochterman is the Owner, Director, and CEO of Pumice Israel. Pumice Israel is responsible for importing building material called pumice, from Greece to Israel. The problem Tochterman and her business were facing was the manual tasks the team would have to perform. She shares, "I saw that [our employees were working] on paper, and it looks unprofessional and whatnot. We need a calculator that they can use in front of clients."
As the leader of her company, Tochterman decided to take matters into her own hands and build a mobile first digital experience, explaining, "This is how I got to Thunkable, and I started playing with that, and that was a big success. Now, we're doing all of our orders from our logistics areas. We have three logistics warehouses here in Israel. So, the app actually does this: it sends the order into the same logistic place, and it actually also fills it up in my Google Docs. At the end of the month, when I have to see how much each client took, it's very easy, and it's amazing. [The no code mobile app] actually solves many problems. My employers and my employees are very happy with what I created."
Instead of waiting for the perfect calculation tool to be built, Tochterman took the plunge to find and develop a mobile-first app solution. Tochterman was not a developer nor had any engineering background. Still, she found the tools she needed to make her business more efficient and her team more satisfied.
Tochterman shared, "Everybody's, like, going crazy at my work. They're like, 'Oh my God, it's crazy what you did, what you created. It's unbelievable.' Every time I'm adding another component and making it even better. My employees, they have ideas on how we can do this better. I'm sitting on it, I'm thinking about it, and creating it and fixing it and making it better."
Tochterman made an impact and built the solution she needed. In advising others on approaching the unknown or an area they’re not an expert in, she shares, "I say go for it. It's amazing. Really...You go into videos, and you learn. It's very easy. It's simple."
Learning and Executing New Skills
Katherine Nameth is a founding team member and the Head of Product Operations at Wave, an emotional health platform. Wave needed to develop an app to make emotional healthcare easy, accessible, and effective.
Nameth and her team strove to deliver a customized experience. However, her team needed help communicating the app's technical requirements to the engineering team. While the product department developed mockups and screenshots of what the final product should look like, sketches quickly became a pitfall.
"I found myself having to ask the team to imagine actions on simple things such as how clicking a button would trigger an animation. I couldn't show this through my screenshots. I found that the several meetings and notes detailing functionality were just not effective nor clear for what we needed to create for the app. It was very frustrating for both the Product and Engineering teams, and we needed something to bridge that gap," said Nameth.
Concerned with the possibility of delaying project timelines, Nameth turned to a no code mobile app development platform to explain the design and technical needs of the app and built the prototype herself. Nameth could move much faster by finding and building the tech solution she needed.
"Instead of spending time going between our Designers and Engineers, I was able to say, ‘Hey, here's kinda the structure of what we want. Let's apply our design on to it and pass it on to engineering.’ And from there it was much quicker to implement small changes and really move forward with the other areas of our product," says Nameth of the mobile app development process.
Despite not having a technical background, Nameth overcame challenges and "became an app developer in 3 weeks". Nameth exemplifies stepping out of your comfort zone to build a solution for your business needs, stressing to her team, "Do not let perfect be the enemy of the good. You need to get something that is functional so you can test and understand."
Nameth advises, "Let go of your own personal assumptions and expectations, and you need to put yourself in the mindset of, ‘I am passionate about finding a solution for this problem that is going to meet the needs of most of my users or most of the population of my users.’"
Fearlessly Walking into the Unknown
Reina Murooka is a Frontend Engineer at Twitch; her path to becoming a developer was not a traditional one, however.
Murooka explains, "I was a professional violinist before doing anything with coding. I grew up playing the violin. That was basically my whole life. I went to school. I did a double degree in German studies and violin. I did my Masters in music, also in violin. At a certain point, I got pretty injured, and I was like, for the first time, ‘’What am I going to do?'"
For two decades, Murooka's life was spent mastering the violin, but after her injury, she needed to pivot quickly. Murooka decided to look into a more technical career even though she had never considered that field.
"I've never been in STEM,” share shares.” I hated math my whole life. I never thought I'd go into something technical. That fear, that impostor syndrome of, 'I'm going to get this wrong,' is so much easier [to overcome] when it's the facts and you just have to deal with the facts and that's it."
In striving to overcome her preconceived notions about the STEM field and her imposter syndrome, Murooka found Thunkable, the best no code app builder, to help her on her journey.
"I started to get into it. I realized it's interesting because it's an intersection between creativity. It's also like language, and I’ve loved languages my whole life, so just looking at that stuff was great,” she explains. “I'm a very visual person, so at the time I started to have these, like, visual block-type [tools to better understand] how I think about code. That helped me block out literally some of the logic I needed to write."
Refusing to give up and determined to pivot careers, Murooka shares, "The biggest thing that it took for me to forget — and I still struggle with this — is, like, removing the label that I can only be one thing. If I was a musician my whole life, and that's the only thing I knew, why would that stop me from doing something else?"
Offering advice to others looking to change careers or who are hesitant to enter a field they know nothing about, Murooka explains,, "Alleviate the pressure of building something perfect. I'm definitely a weird perfectionist and need to get things done a certain way. [Learning to code] I think definitely helped me realize that you can actually simplify things instead of extrapolating them into crazy thought patterns in your head. If anything, I think coding is really about that, too. You just want to simplify a lot of things."
Championing Innovation and Determination
Tochterman, Nameth, and Murooka demonstrate unwavering determination to fulfill a goal. Through their dedication to finding a suitable solution and being armed with technological knowledge to solve problems, they exemplify women across all industries who can advance their careers and companies. They just had to seize the opportunity — something any woman can do.
Find inspiration in the success these women had with Thunkable's no code native app builder, and get started building your no code mobile app today!