Tell us about yourself.
I am Almicia and I am the cutest software developer you will ever meet. I am originally from Dallas, Texas, and I went to Texas Tech University to earn my Bachelor of Science in Computer Science. For the past few years, I have lived in D.C, but when the pandemic started I moved back home in Dallas to be with my family. In my free time I enjoy playing video games(my current favourite is Animal Crossing), roller skating, and making YouTube videos.
How did you decide to get into technology?
I knew from a young age that I was interested in science and technology. I have enjoyed playing video games for as long as I can remember, and once I got my first computer in the 5th grade I think my fate was decided. It was really solidified in high school when I took my first computer science class.
How would you describe your experience in the industry so far?
My experience in the industry has been interesting to say the least. My first job was one where I got to learn a lot about myself and what I wanted to do, but it came at the expense of working in a toxic work environment. I had misogynistic peers, managers, and directors. I was also the only black woman in my program, so I dealt with some discrimination because of that as well. After dealing with it for so long, I decided that I could not take it anymore and got a new job. The atmosphere is very much different at my new job, and I truly feel included in everything that we do.
What does a typical day in your job look like?
My typical day is pretty chill. I normally wake up around 8:00 AM and get ready for the day (have breakfast, get dressed, take my dog out). Then I hop on my morning stand up meeting, where I update my teammates on my progress on my tasks and let them know if I need help with anything. After the stand-up I might meet with some people on my team 1:1 to get more information about something I am working on, but most days I just build things on my own and reach out for help when necessary. Again, not very exciting [lol].
Has your expectation of what the tech world is like matched the reality? How?
My expectation of the tech world has matched reality because my expectations were low. I have encountered a lot of people who do not think I belong in the space, and I have worked with people that think I am amazing and have constantly praised the work that I do. In a sense I was hoping for the best but expecting the worst. I have seen the worst for sure. However, to anyone trying to get in, I want you to know that there really is some good in the tech world. You just have to find the right space and people to see it.
How do you navigate working with men daily (if you do) and how do you make sure to get your voice heard?
The biggest way I make sure that my voice is heard is to not allow men to interrupt me. Whenever a man tries to talk over me, I either talk louder or just keep talking and ignore what they are saying. I also make sure that I get credit for my ideas because men think that just because they repeated what you said, it was their original thought. Other than that, I do not do anything special.
If you could change one thing about your journey in tech so far, what would it be?
I would have tried to find a mentor earlier. I dealt with a lot of issues because I did not know what was supposed to happen, or what kind of opportunities were out there for me. Having someone who had experience with software engineering in the corporate world before me would have helped me mitigate that.
What was the best professional advice you ever received?
You have to play the game to make it to the top. You do not have to fake being friends with people, but at least be cordial. No one wants to work with an a-hole. (Am I allowed to say a-hole?)
What advice do you have for younger ladies aiming to pursue a career in technology?
The only person who needs to believe in you is you.
Any other comments?
I would like to send a massive thanks to Almicia for taking the time out to answer the questions above. I love your transparency about what your experience has been in the tech world so far and for highlighting both the good and bad. It is not always a rosy journey, but your story shows that there is a huge light at the end of the tunnel. Wishing you the best of luck on your journey and I hope it only keeps getting better.
You can follow Almicia on her socials listed above.
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