As a society we tend to focus on titles and roles, and we forget that behind each title there is a person who has a story to tell. And truly every person’s story is unique.
In honor of International Women's day, we interview inspiring women from the community on the story of how they got into Tech, and where they are today.
In this post I interview Lian Li, who is based in the Netherlands.
Hi, I'm Lian, and I'm a Cloud Native Engineer & Consultant at Container Solutions, where I help clients build things in the cloud. I also speak on all kinds of topics like Kubernetes, diversity and inclusion in tech or machine learning.
What I appreciate most about tech is the community. I love to attend conferences, meetups and workshops. I have also organised some myself, so I know how much love and dedication goes into these.
When did you first become interested in technology and what sparked this interest?
I think I was about 8 when I used a computer for the first time and was instantly mystified by it. I loved to play around with the console. Type something and see what happens, that's pretty much still my philosophy 😊
Describe your way towards your first job in tech; how did you land this job?
After school, I studied law for a couple of years, but that did not satisfy my need for creativity. I remembered how much fun I had building my first homepages at 12. So I asked a friend who worked in tech if he could help me apply for an apprenticeship, that would involve practical work with interspersed trade school attendance. I completed the three-year course with what is equivalent to an associate degree in software engineering (according to Wikipedia).
What does your typical day look like?
Today most of my day is spent reading: code, documentation, emails, meeting minutes and books with occasional writing of the same (except books). That may sound dry, but it definitely is not. I love the challenge of consulting because it is all about helping people become better (whatever that means to them).
I've learned a lot about leadership, inspiring people and facilitating a safe and productive space. And the best thing is that I get to apply this to events I help organise. It is immensely gratifying to be part of creating something valuable and more significant than yourself, like a loving community.
My current projects include:
Global Diversity CfP Day, a one day workshop aimed at underrepresented people in tech who want to kick-start their public speaking career
What advice will you give to women and girls who dream about a career in tech?
If you are thinking about starting a career in tech, I would advise you to surround yourself with supportive people so they will believe in you when you can't. Think about what you want, then go out and get it.
Trust on your gut feeling and remember that you deserve the best and should not settle for less.
You got this!