Antje Enzi is one of the co-founders of UpLeveled, a coding bootcamp based in Vienna that aims to help people get into tech and software development. She has a background in Applied Information Sciences and has gained 17 years of experience working in various roles in tech companies, including IT Management, Sales, and Product Management. Her passion for getting people into tech is evident in her work at UpLeveled, where she helps individuals learn new skills and transition into fulfilling careers in the tech industry. We are very happy that she wanted to take part in this attempt to strengthen the visibility of women in tech.
Hi Antje, what sparked your interest in software engineering?
My first spark got extinguished pretty fast when facing Java and C++ classes in university - there was almost zero guidance and I was completely lacking context and an understanding of how to connect the dots... Luckily, I quickly discovered more interdisciplinary topics that looked at the user, the use case and the business aspects which suits me better and is still what makes me curious about any new piece of technology.
Which latest trends in tech do you find most interesting?
When it comes to tech topics my first "love" has to be Augmented Reality - I have always been fascinated by the blending of bleeding edge technologies with very real problems of the users and I'm still keeping an eye on it from time to time. But of course things like ChatGPT and the questions around ethics, data security etc. that come with it are extremely interesting lately and it's so easy to find content that suits your daily habits - from podcasts and conferences to Twitter and even Tik Tok.
What do you think needs to be done to encourage women to learn programming languages and coding?
We really need to "demystify" coding and do a better job in letting young people know what it takes to start a career in tech! I am talking to lots of women who think they are not cut out for software engineering due to social conditioning but also because of demotivating experiences they had with outdated educational resources. Men tend to have other sources of learning, touch points with tech and inspirations to overcome these first throwbacks and are encouraged more often to check out tech as a potential career path.
Is there a bias towards women in tech and how can we fix this?
Bias exists - whether intended or not; it's simply rooted in our upbringing and often enforced through lack of role models, daily experiences etc. And while it is true that women often underestimate their abilities, it is also true that their competences are being questioned just as often, putting them in situations where they need to unnecessarily defend their actions or where their contributions are overlooked. I always encourage women to practice speaking about their work and be specific about the tasks they did and the skills they acquired. But this will never be enough if companies and male-dominated tech teams are not checking their biases. Awareness is an important first step but needs to lead to clear action items that can be monitored and reviewed - almost like an engineering issue. ;)
What advice would you give to women who would like to start a career in tech?
Get started and take action - there's literally no downside to googling about a certain technology or watching a video about a certain topic within the tech universe. If you start being curious about the technologies surrounding us, you'll easily find communities to join, free educational resources and beginner projects to get your hands dirty - you will always learn something and never waste a minute. And, of course: it's never too late! You can up- and re-skill at any point of your career.
Thank you for your time and taking part in our little interview series, Antje!