Poornima Vijayashanker: Programming an Inclusive Tech World

July 26 - On The Dot
It’s a great day to be a woman! Melinda Garvey here as your voice, with the mission to give women everywhere a place to be heard and tell their stories. We’d love to hear from you!

FIRST THOUGHT: Technical Advancements

When I was nibbling on appetizers before a women-in-tech panel, I spoke with a woman next to me who has spent years at one of the world’s largest tech companies. She told me how shocked she was at how many women were in the room, how many of them were interested in tech.

Every person wants to feel like they aren’t alone in their interests. By connecting with other like-minded women, you’re bound to feel more inspired and empowered. Today, think about expanding beyond your office walls and make connections with folks who have similar interests in your community.


A community for coders called Stack Overflow surveyed 26,000 programmers and found only 5.8 percent of software developers are women. Yeah, that’s depressing.

But here’s the good news: Sixty-seven percent of women who responded had less than five years of experience in coding, while 37 percent had less than two years’ experience, which means women are getting into the field at a more rapid pace. We may have started slowly, but we’re surely closer to breaking the coding ceiling.

WOMAN TO WATCH: Poornima Vijayashanker, Founder of Femgineer and BizeeBee

Poornima Vijayashanker has definitely made her mark on the tech world. She was one of the founding engineers for Mint.com, and started a blog in 2007 to document her experiences in that position. The content soon expanded to focus on startups and entrepreneurship.

Poornima’s writing struck a chord with readers, so she decided to turn her blog into a business called Femgineer. Today, Femgineer is an educational company that provides innovators the tools and courses necessary to learn the ever-growing industry of technology, as well as how to be an effective communicator and help make the tech industry more inclusive. It’s all about helping tech trailblazers take their startups to the next level.

Poornima is also the founder and CEO of a membership-management software company called BizeeBee. She says she starts her own companies so women identify with the culture and want to stay.

It’s clear that Poornima has a gift for creating companies, but she also has a gift for writing. She publishes articles regularly and has written two highly reviewed books about mastering public speaking and turning ideas into viable software products.

When you hear about successful women, it often seems their advice is to “go, go, go,” but this engineering entrepreneur thinks differently. While on a trip to London a couple years ago, her priorities shifted. Her mind was racing about business and life when she crossed the street and was hit by a van, her leg wedged beneath a tire. Later, when she was in the ER, she had an epiphany: She had to slow down.

Poornima identified her newfound priorities. One: Sleep at least seven hours and ditch the anxiety-inducing coffee habit. Two: Commit to 20 minutes of yoga in the morning. Three: Detach from negative comments and drama. Four: Take one day off a week that doesn’t involve emails or check-ins. And five: Follow her own path, no matter how slow it seems compared with others’.


I’ll leave you with this quote by Regina Agyare, who founded software company Soronko Solutions. Discussing how to get girls interested in technology at a young age, she said:

“When I was young, I was very interested in science and technology, and my dad brought home the first computer. I played Pac Man and I was hooked! By learning to create technology, girls learn to speak up.”

That’s all for now. Be sure to share this so more women can have a voice! Thanks for getting ready with us.

To learn more about our conversation, check us out at OnTheDotWoman.com and talk to us @OnTheDotWoman on Twitter and Instagram. We’d love to hear your voice.

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