The Jobs Report: I’m A Web Developer
12:30 pm, December 5th | by Sarah Devlin
This is the fourth installment in an ongoing series we’re calling The Jobs Report. In light of depressing statistics about unemployment, especially for recent college graduates, the task of finding a job you love — or finding a job at all — can seem insurmountable. We want to challenge those numbers and offer an antidote to the depressing data, so we’re asking women we know who have found jobs they love to share how they got their gigs and what challenges and rewards them about their careers. Previous installments can be found here.
Emily Maskin is a developer living in New York City.
1. When and how did you decide you wanted to be a developer?
Later than most! My degree is in French and Spanish, and I worked in print journalism for a couple of years after college. I enjoyed the work, but obviously, it’s a rough field to be in these days. I was working the 4-to-midnight shift, making $12 an hour, and watching my coworkers get laid off all around me, knowing I could be next. And I finally thought, “You know, I’ve always liked math, and I’ve always been good at math … so what the hell am I doing here?” So I started doing some research — literally googling “careers that use math” — and computer science was one that kept coming up. I didn’t even really know what computer science meant; I think I envisioned some combination of 1s and 0s, and people taking computers apart. But then I started learning more about it and teaching myself some code, and got really excited about it.
2. How did you get the job you have now?
3. What’s something challenging about your job that you didn’t know about before starting it?
I knew the industry was male-dominated, but I didn’t really realize to what extent. I work with a team of about 25 guys. And don’t get me wrong, they’re awesome. But it’s a disparity that starts at a very young age. Little boys grow up playing with computers, taking them apart, learning to code. Little girls generally don’t. It’s really, really hard to catch up when you start as an adult, and a lot of girls get discouraged and end up quitting when they sign up for an intro class in college and are surrounded by guys who have been doing this since they were 4 years old (like most of my coworkers!). We have to start getting girls interested in technology at a younger age.
4. What’s something great about your job that you didn’t know about before starting it?
This is THE field to be in. To my knowledge it’s the only industry out there, in this economy, where there are more jobs than people. So it’s a relatively easy field to break into, there’s a ton of job security, and the perks are incredible because they want to keep you. My company offers unlimited time off, weekly lunches and happy hours, stock options, work-from-home flexibility, company excursions (booze cruises, weekend in the Hamptons, etc.) and lots more. It makes it a really great environment to work in because everyone is happy and motivated. And the industry isn’t going anywhere — if anything it’s going to keep getting bigger. Plus, there are plenty of non-programming jobs in the tech sector, so people shouldn’t be scared off just because they don’t code!