Building an Inclusive Environment for Female Developers

Angelika Yoder

Angelika Yoder —

Female Developer

Tech Bro

US  /broʊ/ UK  /brəʊ/
plural Tech Bros

1. A member of the technology-oriented subspecies within the broader Bro species (Related subspecies: Gym Bro, Finance Bro, Pharma Bro)

2. A male working within the technology sector is identifiable by his tendency to mansplain, steamroll, gatekeep, act without empathy, and proliferate misogyny.

Of or relating to tech bros:
…the tech bro culture of Silicon Valley companies.

Coming up on my six-month anniversary as a developer at Savas Labs, I couldn’t help but note how much my confidence and developer skill set had increased exponentially during my short time here. I started examining the reasons behind it.

  • I feel respected and heard and that my opinions matter.
  • I receive mentorship regularly and professional development opportunities upon request.
  • I benefit from the collective experiences and knowledge of my highly collaborative and talented colleagues.
  • I receive “props” when I do something good and constructive feedback when there’s something I can improve upon.  

The positive experience I’ve had as a developer at Savas is a far cry from that of my own past and that of many others I know who work in tech. Many within the industry have had the unfortunate experience of working for or with tech bros. Some even cite the presence and influence of tech bros as their reasons for leaving certain companies. They create hostile workplaces for all, especially women and minorities. 

Recently, our congress held a virtual hearing called “Combatting Tech Bro Culture.” Women and minorities continue to be underrepresented within tech due to conscious/unconscious bias.

It was at this point in contrasting my past and present experiences within tech that I realized that there wasn’t even one tech bro at Savas. I correlated that the company’s ethos of inclusion, empathy, and respect is both antithetical to that of tech bro culture and the reason I’m flourishing as a developer in recent months.

Savas Culture

During my job hunt at the beginning of the year, it was upon reading the values at Savas Labs that I was hooked. I’d found the company through the Tech Ladies job candidate database, which meant that Savas, as with any company that appears there, was committed to hiring female developers. When Savas Labs was suggested to me, I dove into the very blog you are currently reading as part of my research, and what I found prompted me to immediately apply for a developer position. The variety of people working at Savas Labs and their personal stories, both on their individual pages and on their blog posts, sealed the deal. It was clear this was a company that strove to walk the walk toward inclusion, not just talk the talk. This was a place I wanted to work.  

I’ve been fortunate to have the opportunity to benefit from several fellow female developers. Having women in leadership positions within tech is important. The mentorship of Maddy Closs, a lead developer to whom I regularly turn for coding advice, contributed greatly to my recent gains in confidence and abilities. Frequent collaborations and pair programming with Lisa Trevis have been mutually beneficial, with both new knowledge gained from each other as well as friendship. I’ve also come to respect the understated powerhouse Niharika Alam, whose work always impresses me. Representation matters, and having these fellow female developers and their influence contributes to our positive work environment for me.

All my fellow devs here have always been eager and willing when called upon for help. I am encouraged both by my supervisors and coworkers to reach out any time I feel like I’m struggling. As a person who tries to solve every problem by herself, mostly out of necessity from not having been part of a supportive team with diverse skills in the past, this is hard for me to do. When reaching out with a question, I have no worries about being judged as incompetent. Rather, my questions are replied to with “Oh yeah, I’ve totally been there…” types of responses from the other devs. Even the most senior devs on our team are quick to admit if they don’t know something or have struggled with something themselves. They will also go out of their way to give warnings or heads up about things they’ve found to be troublesome or solutions they’ve found to an issue that others may face. Every developer here exemplifies our core values through their actions.

We have a robust system of awarding the hard work of our teammates here at Savas. One way we practice this is through our #props Slack Channel. It’s always wonderful to give/get/read the encouraging words of my peers. In addition, we also send each other “Good Vibes,” a type of e-greeting card in which you send a person props for an accomplishment in a less public way. Props are frequently cited as a favorite among many Savasians as a favorite part of our work culture. Celebrating our coworker's accomplishments and even giving self-props creates a supportive environment for all.

Finding the Right Fit

To those toiling away in organizations rife with tech bro culture who feel unfulfilled, unsupported, or are in a downright hostile work environment, be assured that not all tech companies are the same. Do your research and find a company with values that align with your own. Your career and your mental well-being will be better for it!

Interested in working at Savas Labs?

If you're looking for an innovative, collaborative, and all-around fun place to work, you've found the right place.