We celebrate the International Women's day on the 8th March (International women's rights day, in few countries) but it's also important to remind that women are equal of men and it's essential to protect and respect their rights every days of the year but nowadays, women make up just 24% of the tech workforce, thus more and more women are encouraged to pursue careers in the tech industry. Initiatives such as Girls who Code and conferences such as European Women in Technology support this movement passionately.
And at Joomla, the trend is not much different. Because there is no fatality, we must do things in others ways and be more inclusive. In our community, some women are really amazing and I've decided to introduce you some of them. These women are so inspiring and so motivating. Really. Read their stories, their advices, their thoughts and you'll be convinced.
Because we need really each others, I do hope that these portraits will inspire others women to embrace a career in tech sector and/or to join the Joomla Community.
Women's portrait at Joomla: Anja de Crom
What’s your name and your role at Joomla?I’m Anja de Crom, I live in the Netherlands where I run a small webdesign company, WebLab42, together with my partner. My role in Joomla: I’m a copywriter and I work for the Joomla Community Magazine. And with three other people, I"m the organiser of Joostock, an annual Joomla unconference in the Netherlands.
What excites you about your daily work?The endless possibilities to keep learning. When you have an open mind and a healthy curiosity, growth never stops.
What did you study?Way deep in the past, I studied at teacher training college. Although I never worked as a teacher, I still benefit from the skills I learned back then: the ability to educate people and present for audiences. It enables me to share my knowledge and I cherish that.
When did you start to think about pursuing a career in tech?
I made my first Joomla website in 2009, when me and my partner needed a website for something and decided I was going to build it. I stumbled upon something called Joomla, saw the possibilities and started building. And I discovered I was actually good at it too! That first website became a webshop, I built another one and another one, and when I started inventing projects so I could build more, I began to think maybe I should consider a career switch.
Before that I had multiple careers: I was a street musician, a secretary, a project manager, and a journalist, copywriter and fiction writer. In all these jobs – OK, maybe not the street musician – sooner or later I’d build something. Mostly databases or small systems, and sometimes an HTML website. So I’ve always had a bit of a beta side, and now it’s my daily work. When I quit writing, I said I’d never write anything ever again, and that I was done interviewing. And yet here I am, writing and interviewing for JCM. This feels different from my previous writing though. First of all: it’s in English (yes! Challenge! Language improvement!) and second: I get to write about what I love, which is Joomla, and to interview people who share this passion. That is way beyond cool.
What challenges are you facing as a woman working in tech?
I’ve gotten used to men underestimating my skills, or sometimes even explaning to me what I just told them in a presentation, or explaning how something I’ve built works (yes, that happens). Within the Joomla Community, when I give talks at JUGs, sometimes guys ask nasty questions, just to try to get me off balance or check if I really know what I’m talking about. So I always have to be prepared for things like that.
What would your advice to women considering pursuing a career in tech be?
No matter what background you have or where you come from, if you have the skills and the curiosity: go for it. Don’t let anybody hold you back. Go out and learn. The world awaits.
Are there any specific Book/Blogs/Apps you enjoy & recommend ?Actually, a YouTube channel by a guy called Brad Traversy who has put together a PHP beginner course, called "PhP Front to Back"
Who or what inspires you?Working together with passionate people. Learning exciting new stuff.
What do you enjoy doing outside of work?I really love to sing and make music. I play the guitar and I’ve been a backing vocalist in cover bands for years, and today I’m in a very chaotic fun choir. I like to read (guilty pleasure: I’m a huge fan of the Stephanie Plum series by Janet Evanovich). And chocolate plays an important role in my life.
3 tips you would give your younger self?
1. Never ever think you are not smart or skilled enough.
2. Just because you’re good at something doesn’t mean you have to do it. You are allowed to say no every once in a while.
3. Don’t worry about what other people think or do.