January 13, 2017
In this blog series, women at Datto will post stories from their interviews of each other. This week, we hear from Jessica Janiuk, Front End Software Engineer, who gives us an in-depth perspective on her colleague, Ziphorah Kim, Scrum Master.
Ziphorah Kim is lovingly referred to as Zip by the development team. She originally was looking for a career in international development but had a lot of difficulties finding a job out of college. As part of her last year of school, she had taken a one-year program on Information Technology and Policy. When she switched her resume to focus more on IT policy, she immediately found a job. She went from operations to sales engineer, and then to product and project management. It’s a happy accident for her since she never expected to work in technology. Now she loves it.
Zip started shortly after I did. Her role as scrum master has given her a change of pace. Her prior role in project management was in a waterfall environment. When it comes to waterfall, she said,“you don’t know what you’re going to end up with.” With agile, she could see things more immediately within a two or three-week sprint. Her role is more flexible now, with room for opinions and ideas, as well as easily adapting to changing goals. She also loves the personalities she works with. They’re the kind you really only get working in a technology environment.
She’s learned a lot since joining Datto. There are a lot of different personalities involved in building software. Each of those individuals brings their own ideas that everyone can learn from. Navigating that process can be challenging. During scrum ceremonies, everything should be brought up, even if you’re not sure it applies. To her, that’s what’s great about agile and working with a team.
We talked a bit about how there are only three women in the software engineering teams at the Boston office. “You have to speak louder and learn how to cut people off in a nice way; otherwise I’m never going to have a say.” I’ve experienced similar things. She mentioned how we have to be more assertive and be ready to push back. It’s a double-edged sword, because being more assertive can be perceived as “bitchy”. It’s easy to get caught in that catch 22 where we’re either too nice or we’ve got a bad attitude. It’s a delicate balance.
I asked her about her goals, and she talked a lot about wanting to teach. Eventually, she’d love to teach the scrum process, and not just here in Boston. “There are a lot of countries that will benefit from agile; even non-profits can benefit from it,” she said. She really likes technology, though, and loves being around people who see the world differently. She mused about the teams here in Boston, “you guys make me laugh.”
Ziphorah has some great advice for other women in technology. She said we should make sure we take advantage of the many resources for women there are. There are a lot of meetups that focus on women in technology, and they’re great for making connections. People you meet there will help you get where you want to go in the technology industry. We shouldn’t ignore those helping hands.
The Women in Technology blog series is coordinated by Customer Experience Innovations project coordinator, Rachel Powers.