WOMEN IN TECH PROFILE: Nelly Kiboi, software engineer at American Express, and FDM everywoman in technology awards finalist in the software engineering category, answers questions about her role and the importance of role models for future women in tech.
What do you love most about your role? What does it involve?
At American Express, I’m granted the opportunity to lead projects and work on solving complex problems.
Moreover, the position allows me to work on tasks that are key to my values, such as accessibility and improving diversity in the workplace.
I get to work on new and emerging technologies with supportive team members, while creating new innovative products for our customers.
What initiatives are most effective for women for supporting women in the workplace?
A supportive company fosters a culture of inclusion for women within the work environment where they are heard and supported by their colleagues. This gives them the opportunity to grow and flourish within their careers.
Women also ought to be presented with stretch assignments and innovative projects, which provide them with visibility within the organization to showcase their technical knowledge and support their career progression.
Creating and sharing success stories of roles models also is important, as they allow women to be able to see what they can achieve, what’s possible within the tech industry and their organizations, as well as opportunities that are available to them.
Why are visible role models so important for women who might want a career in tech?
Role models show women who want to take up careers in technology that there’s a place for them in this male-dominated industry. I’ve been fortunate to get to see women achieving great success in their careers, and I’ve been encouraged to believe that I can achieve and succeed as they did. I learn from their successes and the unique challenges they’ve faced. This teaches me how I can forge a fulfilling career for myself and others within technology.
What challenges have you faced as a female software engineer during your career journey?
People sometimes make assumptions about my technical abilities. It means you have to work harder to prove yourself. Personally, I’ve experienced a lot of imposter syndrome – the lack of diverse female role models in the industry and reference points for African women in tech definitely contributes to this. This is why I’m deeply involved with helping to build the diversity within my workplace – I want the next generation of female and minority software engineers to see what’s possible for them.