top of page

Advice & Insights from Software Engineers – 3 leading women share their tips

Three leading female software engineer experts share their insights on working in the tech space. With years of experience gathered, they hold valuable tips for anyone starting in coding.

Jecelyn Yeen, Iris Classon and Chiu-Ki Chan, are also strong advocates for diversity and inclusivity within the tech industry. We’ll dive into the details of how they effortlessly integrate this mission into their everyday lives.

In the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Maths (STEM) industries, only 26% of computing jobs are currently held by women, and today this sector is facing exponential growth year by year. There will be 9% growth for software engineering jobs from 2018-2028, compared to the growth of all other occupations combined, as predicted by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. In 2020 alone, there are 3x more job postings than job searches for data scientists. The opportunities for women in tech-related industries are more than ever screaming for attention.

The benefits of a more gender-diverse workforce are proven: In a large-scale study with 1,800 professionals, 40 case studies, and numerous interviews and focus groups, The Harvard Business Review found out that employees in a diverse workplace outperform and are more innovative than companies with less varied workplaces.

When passion meets frustration: the start of their journeys is relatable to many first-time coders. Especially in the beginning, finding inspirational leaders to aspire to and a community to share your journey with can positively propel you forward to achieve your highest potential and take you further on in your journey.

Jecelyn Yeen

“During my childhood, I liked to play Super Mario Kart. I always wondered what’s the ‘thing’ that makes the character move when I control the joystick. After studying programming, then I knew how things worked.”

Jecelyn is a coder, diver, and currently a Developer Advocate for Chrome DevTools at Google. Her curiosity for programming started at a young age. Until today, she never takes the fun out of it. She produces video content and writes blog posts on all things coding related. Her latest video mixes two of her big loves, which are coding and cooking. Her viewers get an update on the latest and best new ingredients of Chrome DevTools with easy-to-follow video demos.

Raised in Kuala Lumpur, Jecelyn also founded the Women Who Code Kuala Lumpur Network. Simply starting it for fun to find other individuals with interests in coding, the group has more than 3000 members on their Facebook Page. She has since met many individuals that have become her closest friends today.

Breaking coding stereotypes

Jecelyn believes that coding is for everyone. It’s your attitude that matters! Her TEDx Talk “Coding: The Power Language that Everyone can “Speak” breaks the biggest coding myths, which are:

  1. You need to be good at science and math,

  2. Coding is for programmers only,

  3. I am too old to code.

She found out early in her career that attitude is an essential skill for a software engineer. Her first job interview in software programming, was difficult to land. The programming language she had learned in school was not trended. To add to that, she had mistaken C++ for C# language. She landed a programmer job on her 3rd interview.

Jecelyn’s advice

Based on her experience, her advice to young developers and especially female developers is always to show that you are willing to learn more and to speak up. Whether you are just a beginner in using a programming language, show the determination to find the solution. Attitude and communication are critical soft skills that will define your growth curve as a software engineer.

Despite this, her career in software engineering was not always a straight path. Family members and friends of Jecelyn have tried to convince her into being an analyst or a consultant. After taking their advice, she fell back to software engineering.

“If you like it, then stick with it. If you feel like you want to code so much, stay in the line and keep going. “

Jecelyn likes to stay up to date with coding by subscribing to newsletters and reading tweets. You can also stay up to date with Jecelyn through her social here.

Iris Classon

“The first few days sucked”

Iris currently serves as part of the Microsoft Extended Experts team. She circulates her life not only around coding (see her weekly and monthly schedule below) but also as a mom and an avid trekker! It is no surprise that she shares a fondness for health and fitness. She was a clinical and licensed dietician and personal trainer before she found her way into coding.