“It doesn’t take much to crush a person’s confidence” – Sonja’s journey to tech
How to find the courage to build a career in tech when both your own prejudices of the industry and the expectations of the outside world are against you?
Sonja Vojnovic was 16 years old when she sat down with her high school's student counsellor to discuss her future study plans. As an ambitious young woman full of potential, Sonja expressed her interest in applying to university to study social sciences. Her student counsellor quickly advised her not to aim too high and instead think of other career paths, such as within the care industry.
"Not getting the validation from this person with authority that I could succeed in university studies stuck with me for a long time”, Sonja explains.
This discouragement combined with her own prejudices of the tech industry hindered Sonja from following her interests and taking her first step into tech. Today she understands that her own outdated and inaccurate prejudices had to do with a lack of overall knowledge of the tech industry.
“It was a time when the tech industry was lacking strong female role models, social media was lightyears from what it is today, and the general impression of coders was limited to awkward introverts who code in basements.”
It was thanks to Sonja’s inner circle that she is where she is today – a fullstack developer & scrum master working as a consultant at Crowd Collective. Thanks to her supportive family, friends and partner, she managed to shake off her doubts towards herself and take the first step towards a career in tech.
“In 2017, at the age of 26 I applied to AW Academy to study software development in a 12-week-long reskilling program. Approximately 50% of my classmates were women, which made me extra excited, and I felt like I’m in the right place.”
Today, Sonja is confident in her abilities and eager to encourage other women to enter the tech industry. However, she knows from experience that it can be challenging to silence the doubts of others and do what feels right to you.
“Fear will easily overrule motivation and interest. When the ´what if´ –thought process launches I start to limit myself and the impostor phenomenon raises its ugly head.”
So, in addition to encouraging women of any age to enter the tech industry, Sonja also has a powerful message to the people around:
“It doesn’t take much to crush a person’s confidence. Neither does it take much to feed that confidence and give the encouragement that will take them further. Therefore, it is the responsibility of each and everyone of us to choose our words and actions wisely.”