The tech industry is experiencing a shift that’s been a long time coming.
More women are choosing STEM careers, bringing diverse perspectives and driving innovation. While women made up only 9% of the tech workforce in the early 2000s, they now represent about 28% in 2023, according to Women in Tech Network. This growth is promising, but there’s more work to be done.
At 11:11 Systems, we recognize the value of diversity and the unique contributions of our female employees. We’re pleased to feature some of our outstanding women in a series of Q&A blog posts, showcasing their experiences, insights, and impact on the tech industry. By sharing their stories, we hope to inspire more women to pursue careers in tech and foster a culture of inclusivity and innovation within our company and the industry.
Today, we take a closer look at Roopa Naidu, Senior Project Manager, Development.
How did you first get into tech, and what drove you to this industry?
I have a degree in computer science and started as a Java developer in financial services straight out of college. The Internet boom, the allure of financial services and the stock market drew me to technology in 2001. I worked in financial services for almost 20 years before moving to consulting and eventually joining 11:11 Systems.
Did you find that there were many challenges you had to overcome as a woman in the tech industry?
There weren’t many women in technology initially, and the lack of women in senior positions made it even harder to envision a career path in the field. However, over the last 10 to 13 years, many programs have encouraged women to stay in technology and seek higher positions. This has altered the landscape considerably.
Why is it important to have women in leadership positions in technology?
Having women in leadership conveys an implicit message that career paths and growth are available, and anyone can achieve their goals with hard work and determination. But it’s not just about having women in leadership; it’s also about having men who value diversity and the contributions of a diverse workforce. We need strong advocates who push for an inclusive workplace that gives everyone a fair shot.
What are you most proud of in your career?
I switched industries after nearly 20 years and found a job that suited my future career goals. I’m proud I could recognize that I wasn’t on the right path for me — and brave enough to follow my intuition and change course.
What inspires you about working in technology?
The people. There are many smart and driven individuals shaping the industry. For me, it’s not just about technology. It’s about being part of a community of innovative thinkers.
What’s the best advice you’ve received from other women in technology?
Someone told me early on not to just perform the tasks that nobody else wants but to choose work that adds value to my career. That’s something I take with me to this day. It’s imperative to find roles that resonate with your career path and to have good managers who can guide you.
What advice would you give to others looking to break into this industry or pursue a career in tech?
Be bold and put yourself out there. Seek support and mentorship from people willing to help you grow in your career. Having a vision for your career and going after it is crucial in this industry.
How can others support women in technology?
Supporting women, especially early in their careers, involves understanding individual needs and coaching with those in mind to ensure everyone is valued for their unique contributions. It’s about being receptive and providing the necessary support and guidance to help women navigate their careers effectively.
How does 11:11 Systems support women in tech?
11:11 Systems values diversity, as evidenced by the nature of our teams and the equal value placed on everyone’s contributions. This company believes in ideas over backgrounds. I’m happy to be working for such a forward-thinking organization.