As International Women's Day is still fresh in people's minds we caught up with Kata Kovari-Krecsmari, senior director of product management, LastPass at LogMeIn, to ask about her experiences and opinions.
How did you get your start in tech?
I never planned or wanted to be working in tech per se. And I never explicitly or formally trained to work in tech. My educational background is languages and visual arts. As far as university degrees go, I hold a Masters of Arts in English Linguistics and Literature, as well as Gender Studies. It’s about as non-tech as you can go!
To cut a very long story short, as a university student I often earnt money teaching. One day, someone asked if I could and would want to teach IT classes in basic courses. The money offered was great, a whole lot more than translating jobs and other freelancing stuff I did back at the time. Throughout my life, I have always been very pragmatic, so pursuing a career in academia or becoming a starving artist who would be adored and understood by future generations only (when you are dead of course), was not my thing. The IT job being offered to me sounded super-interesting and brand new, so of course I said yes! Teaching IT also helped me explain tech stuff to non-tech savvy people. This skill got me onto writing tons of technical documentation, manuals for software, FAQs, help pages, through to localisation and finally into product management.
Were there any challenges you faced?
As with any female that steps on a path to lead, I feel as though we all face pretty similar challenges - be it in the tech industry or not. The biggest has been trying to come to terms with the notion that glass-ceilings truly can exist. Having to double-or triple-prove myself and show that that I am worth as much as the boys can be energy drenching at times. It’s particularly challenging in a male-dominated industry. However, I’ve learned some great skills along the way, specifically how to hold my own in more male-dominated scenarios, be confident in the value I bring to the table, and to let my strong work shine through.
What advice would you give women starting their careers in tech?
What do you love about working in tech?
I don’t primarily define myself as someone who works in ‘tech’. I like to define it in broader terms. What I do means building - developing products (software) that ultimately, people use. The principles are the same as if what I was building was not software but a physical product – that’s what I truly love and enjoy. The creative, building aspect. In terms of the more techy aspect of my job, I really enjoy that state-of-the-art thinking, methodologies, and technologies are part of my every-day life. It keeps it interesting!