Over a decade, the percentage of females working in science or technology has increased by around 15% in the EU. According to Eurostat’s latest data, in 2021 there were 6.9 million female scientists and engineers, a 0.5% increase compared to 2020. Women working in STEM fields were 41% of the total population employed in these sectors, but in countries like Germany or Italy, the share drops to 34%. The highest shares were registered in Lithuania (52%).
There is still much work to do to create a more equitable and inclusive tech industry for women, but there are also many opportunities for progress and change.
For International Women and Girls in Science Day, we have started a series of interviews to get to know the amazing tech girls working at Strands. Today, let’s meet Claudia Smriglio, Software Engineer!
- Hello Claudia! Welcome to this “Girls in Tech Talk”! First things first, could you tell us a bit about your career path and what brought you to tech?
- Thank you for having me! Sure! I first graduated in Physics from Bologna university, and then in Nanotechnology Engineering, in Rome. My first insight into the tech field is when I started working in a startup studio, as my role required me to search the latest trends in the food tech field. This is also when I started to do a little bit of coding; I didn’t know much at the time, but I had the chance to do a full stack course for 6 months, which unlocked my first opportunities in this sense. I fell in love with it immediately, and I eventually decided to change my career path and started to look for a job as a developer. Later I found a JAVA course by CRIF, an intense program of 5 weeks, and after completing it, I had the chance to relocate to Spain to join Strands. And here I am!
- When you were younger, was there a moment you knew you were going to work in science?
- I can say I’ve been interested in science my whole life, with Physics being my first favourite subject, whereas my interest in tech came later. Probably because I was taught a more theoretical approach in high school and university. The real turning point was when I started to code out of necessity for my job at the time. What I fell in love with was the practical approach because suddenly, it enabled me to build something and see it in action immediately. I personally found a strong link between coding and my Physics background, I absolutely love the idea of solving big problems by breaking them down into smaller issues to achieve my final goal. It’s something I find very rewarding!
- And you’re now a Software Engineer at Strands! Could you tell us about your journey within the company so far?
- I have to say, at Strands I’ve found an incredible environment and people that supported me and gave me the opportunity to constantly learn and improve my skills in every step of the journey, every single day. What I love about it is that everyone is always there to help you in your daily tasks and that there’s a sense of community where I feel like my ideas and output are always welcome. In my team, Professional Services, we customize the products for all our different clients. What I really like about it is that the requests are constantly changing, with existing features needing updates and new features being demanded. Every day, no matter what, we are always there to bring the product features to the next level for them.
- In general, Software Engineering is a field that is still predominantly male. Which changes, if any, are needed in the scientific system to be more attractive to women in coding and possible future programmers?
- From my personal experience, I think that we are actually on the right path and we only need time for the women/men ratio to gradually improve. The most important thing is for women to understand that they are not out of place in a profession that is only historically male, because things have changed and are still changing. Sadly, many women in the world face several difficulties in pursuing a career in science, but personally, I’ve always been lucky during my path, both in the academic and work environment. Even when women were a minority, I’ve never felt any difference or the need to prove myself because I was a woman. Strands itself is an environment that places the greatest importance in diversity and inclusion, and I feel a great sense of belonging here.
- That’s great! As a last question, what advice would you give to women who would like to start a career in tech?
- I think that the real important thing is passion about what you do. If you have passion nothing else matters. it doesn’t matter if you’re the only woman in your course, in your office, or what people might say to you. I think the key is to find the right place for you and understand that there are many opportunities out there.
- Thank you Claudia, and see you all in the next Girls in Tech Talk!