Being a female engineering leader means dealing with a host of interesting challenges, some good, some bad, and some ugly. I share experiences of female engineering leaders and provide a picture about what our daily life looks like. One of my goals is to give the “inside story” to men so they can better understand and provide the right kind of mentorship. Another goal is to give women with leadership ambitions a better understanding of the job.
I cover some of the bad news—how small the percentage of women leaders is, how difficult it is to hire women leaders, and how many women shy away from leadership positions in tech. I also touch on the ugly—the “war stories” of being a female leader, from thinly veiled innuendo to incredulity about our job titles (thankfully neither from colleagues)—before focusing on the good—why I and others have aspired to become engineering leaders and what we love about a job that allows us to build great technology, work with great people, and help people develop their careers. I emphasize the importance of both female and male mentors as well as the importance of working against conscious and unconscious bias, and I conclude by looking ahead to the future, offering some concrete lessons to take away.
Katharina Probst is an engineering manager at Netflix, where she leads the API team and helps bring Netflix streaming to millions of people around the world. Prior to joining Netflix, Katharina was on the cloud computing team at Google, where she saw cloud computing from the provider side. Her interests include scalable, distributed systems, cloud computing, and building effective and successful teams. Katharina holds a PhD in computer science from Carnegie Mellon University.
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