Advice from VideoAmp's Alyssa Gaudioso
When Alyssa Gaudioso was studying math in college, people used to ask her whether she wanted to go into finance or be a teacher.
Alyssa didn't want to pursue either of those options.
But after graduating, she found herself doing both. She was working as a private tutor while studying actuarial science for an eventual entry into investment banking. She wasn't fulfilled, but felt like she couldn't start a career in computer science—something she'd loved studying in college—because of the toxic culture she experienced in some of her classes.
It wasn't until a chance conversation with a friend, who encouraged Alyssa to pursue a coding bootcamp, that she became fully committed to pursuing her dream career.
Now, as a Senior Software Engineer at adtech company VideoAmp, Alyssa is working to pay that advice forward. We sat down with her to talk about her experience studying computer science as a woman, why she took on her first role at VideoAmp, and how VideoAmp's culture and values create an environment where diverse talent can succeed. She was kind enough to share her top three pieces of advice for other women considering careers in male-dominated fields with us:
1. Stay confident in your abilities. You are more than smart enough.
Alyssa loved the computer science classes she took in college, but she didn't like the environment she found there. "The further I got into higher division classes, the more I experienced toxic egos. They'd tell me things like, 'You're too pretty to be in these classes.' Someone who I thought was my friend said I was never going to make it as a software engineer," remembers Alyssa.
Her passion for the subject matter got overshadowed by her doubt over the long-term fit. "There was no one like me and I really thought this career wasn't for me," she says.
She found her way back with the help of friends, a bootcamp she chose specifically for its encouraging culture and her own hard work, but she wishes she had been able to stay confident throughout her undergrad career.
"A lot of Software Engineers like to make other people believe that they aren't smart enough to make it in this field. But I always tell people that there are so many tools and ways to learn that it's really an accessible field for anybody, especially nowadays. You don't have to be a genius. You don't have to be the top of the top to get here. You just have to put in the hours of studying and you can do it," she says.
2. Seek out cultures that feel supportive.
When Alyssa was looking for a full-time role after finishing her bootcamp, she knew she wanted to end up in a place that was the opposite of what she'd experienced in college. VideoAmp felt like that to her.
"It doesn't matter what level you are or what your background is, everyone is willing to listen to each other's thoughts and opinions. There's a focus on what is best for the company, not what a person's title is," says Alyssa of her work environment.
That trusting, encouraging culture is part of why Alyssa is a senior engineer. She joined when VideoAmp had 50 employees (in her two and a half years there, that number quadrupled) and has always taken advantage of the opportunities to jump in and share ideas, even when she was the newest person on the team. She was tapped to join the Front End infrastructure team when it was started and now she works on major features.
Alyssa likes that VideoAmp cares about hiring diverse teams and supporting them because she believes having different perspectives makes for a better team and better outcomes. "It's important to have more women in STEM overall," she says, "The mindset that men are better at math is harmful."
3. Know what you don't know and be unafraid to ask about it.
"I find that when senior or principal engineers don't know something, they're confident in asking questions," says Alyssa, "they're not afraid to come off as dumb." She says she struggled with that early on in her career, but now realizes how much is gained from asking questions.
"Feeling confident in what you know is also feeling confident in what you don't know," she says. "If you stay silent about something, you're never going to learn. Always speak up."
Improving representation is a long game
Alyssa is passionate about encouraging women to join male-dominated fields like computer science. She believes that societal issues can only be solved once the people solving them accurately represent society.
"Initially, I was frustrated. I remember thinking 'Why am I different from any of these men pursuing a career in engineering? Why do I have this extra burden of being a groundbreaker of gender norms in this field?'" says Alyssa. "But after a while, I realized that it's something to be proud of. I hope my story and experience encourages other women interested in engineering to believe in their abilities and commit to making their dream career happen.
If VideoAmp's high-paced, encouraging culture sounds interesting, check out their open roles here.
A Look At The Challenges They've Faced & How Their Companies Support Them
We know that the ratio of women to men in software engineering is overwhelmingly low. Scroll through just about any company's roster on LinkedIn and see for yourself. It's depressing.
If you're not in the mood to engage in that little experiment, just check out this PwC study that found that only 15% of employees in STEM roles in the U.K. are women, and that women hold a mere 5% of leadership roles in the tech sector.
However, we also know that diversity is the top priority for 78% of talent leaders. This is good news for us, because our goal at PowerToFly is to close these gender gaps as quickly as possible — and the more companies that get on board, the faster we can do that.
We partner with companies that are not only committed to diversity and inclusion, but to fostering a sense of belonging for underrepresented candidates once they accept job offers.
In the meantime, we know that the struggle for many women and other minorities in tech is still real, and that being a woman in this male-dominated industry is no cake walk. That's why we invited women engineers at some of our partner companies to share their experiences in their own words.
They shared some of the biggest challenges they've faced as women in tech and how they overcame them, as well as why they feel supported and enjoy working at their current companies.
We hope reading about these experiences will make other women in software engineering realize they're not alone in the challenges they're facing, and that there are lots of companies making strides to better support women in tech. We also hope that reading this will inspire more companies to follow suit, especially given that women leave the tech industry at twice the rate of men.
Hats off to these 7 women and to the companies that support their work!
What's the coolest thing Promptworks does to support women engineers?
"One of my favorite things about Promptworks is how all the female engineers support each other. Having an amazing group of colleagues to lean on, vent to, and seek advice from has been vital to me. As soon as I joined the engineering team, I felt immediately part of this amazing family of women who also have my back."
—M.K., Software Engineer at Promptworks
Want to join Promptworks' team of Women Engineers?
- Senior React Native Engineer
- Senior Software Engineer
- Contract Software Engineer
- Software Engineer
- And more!
More about PromptWorks:
Promptworks builds custom software for companies by creating amazing technologies that help achieve their vision.
Monthly work-from-home flexibility, Collegial atmosphere with family-style lunch twice a week on us, ergonomic work stations including seated & standing pair programming stations, 100% company-paid medical, dental, and vision insurance, 401(k) plan with company matching and more!
Why did you choose to work at Yelp?
"The best thing about Yelp is the culture. I had an amazing interview process which reflected how much Yelp values their employees. Once I got through, I received a welcome card from my team and AWE group and I still feel very loved at Yelp. Also, I love the people! They are very smart and innovative and Yelp gives us all the freedom to vent out our creativity."
—Supriya, Backend Engineer at Yelp.
Want to join Yelp's team of Women Engineers?
More about Yelp:
Yelp engineering culture is driven by our values: we're a cooperative team that values individual authenticity and encourages "unboring" solutions to problems.
Medical, dental, and vision insurance - 100% covered for Yelp employees, 401k program with company match, parental program: Bright Horizons, mother's rooms, paid baby bonding leave, well being and stress management resources, and more!
What's the biggest challenge you've faced at Ubiquity6 and how did you overcome it?
"One of the personal challenges I've dealt with at Ubiquity6 is imposter syndrome, which was definitely amplified by working with so many incredible engineers. Thankfully, my team is really supportive and I have been able to take ownership over some important projects. The combination of getting great constructive feedback while framing my mindset towards improvement has really helped build my confidence as an engineer."
—Robyn, Software Engineer at Ubiquity6
Want to join Ubiquity6's team of Women Engineers?
More about Ubiquity6:
We work with the design, infrastructure, and game engine teams to help guide the user through complex workflows involving spatial mapping, dynamic code loading, and game engine orchestration. Our challenge is to tie together all the different pieces of technology in a way that feels seamless to the end user.
Generous PTO, flexible work hours, work-from-home, remote positions, medical and dental benefits including family coverage, and more!
What's the coolest thing Verisign does to support women engineers?
"Verisign has been extremely warm and welcoming. Your opinions and ideas are heard irrespective your gender and position in the company. Verisign has a Women in Technology group which organizes monthly workshops and seminars, encouraging women to participate and demonstrate their skills. It is attended by the entire company and not just women. The company is full of empowering women who constantly motivate you to break the stereotypes and fulfill your passion."
—Shreyashi, Software Engineer at Verisign
Want to join Verisign's team of Women Engineers?
- Senior Engineer - Information Security Compliance
- Mid-level Software Engineer
- Sr. Infrastructure Software Engineer
- And more!
More about Verisign:
Verisign, a leader in domain names and internet infrastructure, enables internet navigation for many of the world's most recognized domain names.
Medical, dental, vision and prescription plans, traditional and Roth 401(k) with company match, basic life insurance, optional life insurance for employee, spouse or child(ren), home and auto insurance and more!
What’s one of the most impactful things One Medical does for women engineers?
"I recently attended a fireside chat with Sheryl Sandberg who pointed out that while there are increasing programs aimed at bringing women into technical roles, there aren't as many women being promoted. One of the most impactful things I see that One Medical does is actually hire and promote female engineers into both senior engineering roles and engineering management roles. Not only are they being promoted, but there is noticeable support before, during, and after the promotion. Growth and learning is a big part of the culture here, and I am excited to take part in such a fulfilling company."
—Vanessa, Data Engineer at One Medical
Want to join One Medical's team of Women Engineers?
- Senior Software Engineer (Fullstack)
- Principal Software Engineer (Fullstack)
- Staff Software Engineer (Fullstack)
- And more!
More about One Medical:
One Medical builds amazing end-to-end solutions to connect patients and our care team in new and innovative ways.highly collaborative environment, not only will you be partnering with designers and product managers, you'll also be sitting shoulder to shoulder with the doctors and nurses who deliver care daily to One Medical patients.
Top-notch dental, vision, and health insurance, paid parental leave, PTO, paid holidays, and sabbatical at 5 and 10 years
401K Match, One Medical membership for you and your family and more!
What's the coolest thing Fair does to support women engineers?
"Gender equity is a big thing at Fair. I once received a Fair-branded jacket that didn't quite fit right in the sleeves and waist. I tried to return it, but my boss wouldn't hear of it, citing Susan Fowler's leather jacket incident. Fair immediately offered to cover the jacket alteration costs for myself and other women in the company. I'm grateful to work at a place that values and includes its female employees as much as Fair does."
—Michelle, Lead Software Engineer at Fair.
Want to join Fair's team of Women Engineers?
- Senior Software Engineer - Search & Discovery Team
- Senior Platform Engineer
- Support Engineer
- And more!
More about Fair:
We are looking for highly motivated engineers interested in delivering the next level of innovation to product search and discovery at Fair. You'll be designing and implementing new search features and the systems behind them, including the integration of natural language processing, heuristics, and machine learning systems used to generate and rank search results. You'll work with microservices on AWS, multiple languages, and a great engineering team with a fun culture.
Equity incentives, 100% coverage of medical, vision and dental premiums for employees and their families, 100% paid parental leave for 4 months, 401(k) retirement plans and free lunch 5 days a week for every employee and more!
In moments of self-doubt or adversity, how do you build yourself back up?
"Coming from coding school, my background was not in computer science nor did I graduate from college with a degree in engineering, so it has always been a bit of a struggle to build myself up. I remind myself that everyone is going through a learning process. I have spoken to my mentor about having imposter syndrome when I first started working at Yelp. He let me know that even he has moments of imposter syndrome. It is easier to relate to somebody when you hear that they are going through the same struggles as you and it's a good reminder that nobody is here to judge you. I think it's great that even when you mess up you don't have to be worried about getting fired. Yelp has a very supportive environment. In times of adversity I try to calm myself down and realize that everyone makes mistakes and tries to learn from them to be better."
—Julie, Full Stack Engineer at Yelp.
Scroll up or click here to learn more about Yelp & how to join their team.
Want to see more great roles at companies committed to recruiting more women in software engineering? Check out our job board!