Women in STEM: Catching Up With Front End Developer Lisa Hjärpe

There is still significant headway to be made when it comes to women participating in the STEM space, but we’re inching closer. According to a survey of over 14,000 professionals from HackerRank, the gender gap for women learning to code is shrinking — 33 percent of women under the age of 25 are more likely to study computer science when compared with women graduates in 1983. Still, despite this upswing women in the field are more likely to hold junior positions. “There are signs of progress,” says HackerRank but its down to those in higher positions to drive it forward.
Freespee: Hey Lisa! So what do you do for Freespee?
Lisa: I’m a frontend developer in the talk squad.
Freespee: Who is your STEM idol? Who do you look up to in the industry and why?
Lisa: Lydia Winters at Mojang. She inspired me to go my own way and not be afraid to take the big step and educate myself towards an entirely different career. She is tough in a male-dominated industry and goes her own way. Also, she created a job that didn’t exist at Mojang before she joined them. Brand Director and Director of Fun.

Freespee: What has been your overall experience as a female developer?
Lisa: My experience is that it is easier to get a job if you are female since it is a male-dominated industry. Many companies want more female developers in their teams. That being said, I have also noticed that if a company struggles and they have to let employees go, women are sometimes the ones made redundant first. But overall I think it is favourable to be a female developer. It’s always good to make a working-place more equal.
Freespee: What advice do you have for future developers?
Lisa: It is never to late to get into the tech industry. I was 34 when I gave up my work as a saleswoman at the newspaper Upsala Nya Tidning. I wanted to do something more creative and became a student at Medieinstitutet in Stockholm, with the goal of being a Frontend developer. It was hard since I have two kids that needed my attention when I was home. But if you really want something you can do it.
Freespee: What dev communities are you a part of?
Lisa: The girls in my class have a Slack group, where we help one another. Geek Girl Meetup Sweden, the Code Pub Stockholm and other developer groups at Facebook.
Freespee: How do you feel about the multiple coding groups targeted at women in a city like London?
Lisa: I think it’s good. The more, the merrier. Women need role models in the coding world, and we also need to help and boost each other. These groups are a way to make more women interested in a career within development.
Freespee: What are, in your opinion, the most effective ways to create an inclusive environment in the industry?
Lisa: Of course to hire people with different backgrounds and values. That is why I really enjoy working at Freespee. We are a great mix of people having fun together.
Via: Hacker Rank, Cision.