On February 11th, the world celebrated the International Day of Women and Girls in Science! This special day, established in 2015 by the United Nations General Assembly, honors the incredible contributions of women and girls in science and technology. It's a chance for women in organisations and companies around the globe to come together, share their experiences and inspire future generations.
To celebrate this day, we invited Monika Georgieva, a talented Senior Software Engineer at the Funding Circle team at Questers, to tell us more about her journey within the company.
1. Hi Monika! Could you briefly introduce yourself?
Thank you for inviting me to this interview! I'm Monika - a software engineer and Rails Girls mentor with a passion for building things from scratch. I have a Master of Science (MSc) degree in Bio- and Medical Informatics and I've worked mostly in backend web development for the past 10 years. Besides software engineering, I'm interested in low waste/sustainability, succulents, film photography and baking.
2. What is your position and what do you like about working at Funding Circle’s team at Questers?
I am a Senior Software Engineer at Funding Circle and my role gives me the opportunity to work on versatile projects. The tech stack is constantly evolving and thus expanding our language-agnostic skills as engineers. My coworkers are very talented and kind - I work closely with people from our UK office which enriches me not only technically but also culturally.
3. How did you decide to become a Software Engineer and why did you pursue a career in STEM?
Studying in an English language high school I had limited exposure to coding, except for the informatics classes where I was introduced to imperative and procedural programming languages via Pascal. That sparked my interest and I decided to further explore the field of informatics at Sofia University. To this day I still find it enjoyable to discover new technologies.
4. What skills have been particularly important and helpful for your career journey at Funding Circle?
For me, working at the Funding Circle team at Questers is a great combination of curiosity, collaboration and teamwork. I am always looking for opportunities to learn new things, to explore new technologies and go deeper into complex challenges. Of course, two other particularly important skills for my career journey are the ability to share and receive constructive criticism and to work well in a team.
5. What are your greatest achievements in your current job?
During my career in the company I was fortunate to participate in several major projects across different domains, including developing new features and improvements of our core product. Every single project I worked on gave me the chance to gain new skills and help the team achieve great results.
6. What do you think are the major challenges that women in technology face today and how do you overcome them?
One big challenge I can name clearly is the lack of female role models, both in academic and professional environments. Usually, the tech departments are male-dominated and therefore we don't see as many women with senior and principal engineer roles. Another challenge is the “impostor syndrome“ - although it can be experienced by anyone, it is still a widespread problem mostly among women. They are faced with more obstacles and biases, societal expectations and discrimination than men in this particular field.
By tackling these challenges together, we can create a more welcoming tech space for all, where women can thrive and reach their full potential.
7. What change have you seen for women in technology and science over the years?
In recent years, the technology and science landscape has definitely transformed. We're seeing great initiatives and workshops like Rails Girls, that popularise programming in a fun and creative way, inspiring a whole new generation of female software engineers. It's exciting to see more women embracing STEM careers and thus breaking the existing stereotypes. The environment has also become more welcoming to women engineers, allowing them to become more involved in the field. Even better, companies are realising the importance of supporting working mothers by offering programmes and flexibility to develop their careers. It's definitely a work in progress, but the change towards diverse tech and science community is certainly happening!
8. For the International Day of Women and Girls in Science, what advice would you give to other women thinking about a job in science or technology?
I want to say to all ambitious and motivated women who are looking to develop their careers in STEM: Go for it! The worst thing that can happen is that you'll learn new things. And remember - no knowledge is ever wasted. Don't let fear hold you back - the world of science and technology needs your brilliant mind and bold ideas!