This past week The School of Journalism and Mass Communications at Texas State hosted Mass Comm Week, activities included multiple panels, events, a career fair, and information sessions for students to learn more about the Mass Communications field and to hear insight on topics relevant to the field. I was fortunate enough to attend the panel on “Women Who Code,” which consisted of a panel of five women who currently work as coders in the Austin area. The hour long panel covered many important topics related to the technology field.
Holly Gibson, a member of Women Who Code-Austin, discussed some of the gender role issues she has seen throughout her time in the technology field. She explains that although it may not always be intentional by male counterparts, the problem is definitely prevalent within the tech industry. Ashley Heber touched on this issue by saying, while she doesn’t typically see these gender biases from her coworkers, she does experience them when dealing with external clients. Both Becky Larson and Kimberly Cook agree that while they do feel the need to speak up or try a little harder in their work, these biases aren’t just a “tech industry problem”, but instead something many different fields experience.
One of the major takeaways for me on was the diverse backgrounds of each panelist. When asked about their background, each panelist stated they did not have a mass communications background when entering the master’s program at Texas State ,except one panelist. I found this to be an interesting and encouraging similarity for others who are unsure about pursuing a degree in a new field.
The panelist also discussed the importance of self-teaching skills. They agreed that although they learned a lot from the program the tech industry is always changing, so keeping up to date with the latest and greatest is always important. Kimberly Cook explained that her company allows her to get that continuous learning by sending her to workshops and other educational programs where she learns new skills.
The insight gained from Wednesday night’s panel was interesting and shed light on some of the issues women face within the technology industry. Unfortunately, this panel was the only event I was able to attend during mass comm week due to my work schedule, but I am confident that each event held this week was just as informational and eye-opening as this panel. Below is a short recap of some of the topics discussed during the Women Who Code Panel.