At NICE inContact, we are dedicated to helping our customers achieve their customer experience goals. We believe one-on-one customer interactions have a real and lasting impact on people’s lives. But achieving this impact requires the brainpower of a diverse, vibrant community of women and men hungry to make a difference.
NICE inContact is a champion for diversity and inclusion in technology, and in honor of Women’s History Month and International Women’s Day on March 8th, we are showcasing some of the accomplished women in technology at NICE inContact.
Ask employees in the NICE inContact office in Cochabamba, Bolivia what an effective female technology leader looks like, you’re likely to hear Paola’s name come up time and time again. During her six-plus years at NICE inContact, Paola has made a huge impact not just on our products, but also the people around her- inspiring the team to strive for utmost performance quality both from our software and from themselves.
We sat down with Paola to learn more about her journey as a “woman in technology” and glean what advice she’d give other young women considering a future in this fast-paced and exciting field.
An early love for technology
Paola realized she had a love for technology earlier than most.
“Even at a young age, I was always very interested in learning how things work, especially electronic devices. I’d take them apart to see how they worked and put them back together again,” Paola explains.
She realized she had a real talent working with computers and technologyin the 1990s, when she was around eleven years old. Computer skills were starting to increase in importance in the workplace, so her father began taking private computer lessons at home. Paola would listen from the other room, absorbing the information by osmosis, and would help her father with his homework after the teacher left.
When it came time to select a major at the Universidad Privada Boliviana, it was only natural that she pursue a career in Industrial and Computer Science. An internship with a tech company in college unearthed her interest in software quality assurance specifically, and the rest is history.
Overcoming challenges as a Woman in Technology
On average, companies in the technology industry see a gender ratio of about 70% men and 30% women. When asked what it’s like to be a woman in technology, Paola said, “When I started in computer science in college, it was mostly men. It was only me and one other girl in the class. Back then – in the early 2000s – it was hard because people still had the mentality that women couldn’t do it because it’s hard and complicated.”
While Paola thinks some might still think that way, she believes women have proven themselves just as capable as men.
“It’s been interesting to be one of the only females working amongst a group of men over the years. I’ve learned a lot from them – but it also showed me that I could do it and succeed in the area,” Paola says” Now standards and perceptions are changing, and there are a lot more girls in technology -- maybe we set an example for the younger generations.”
Success as a Woman in Technology
Paola credits much of her success in the software industry to a never-ending appetite for learning. “This is a field where things are always changing, and I’ve taken every opportunity to learn new things. It’s a challenge but it’s also really good for me -- I like things that change. That way we don’t get stagnant or bored.”
Her love for learning extends to her team and contributes to her success as a leader.
“The thing I like best in my role is helping people grow and finding opportunities for them to learn more and contribute more to both their professional goals and the goals of NICE inContact,” Paola explains.
Words of wisdom for other young women
Paola’s enthusiasm about technology is contagious, and so we asked her what words of wisdom she might have for younger women on the fence about working in technology.
Follow your gut.
- "If they feel they can do it, they will be able to succeed.”
Take risks. As a woman, taking the road less traveled into technology might feel like a risk, but Paola says that is key.
- "The most satisfying experiences in my life have come from when I took well-calculated risks. Sometimes I wasn’t sure what the result would be, but if I hadn’t taken that risk things wouldn’t have happened as they did.”
Technology is a broad field.
- “When I was in university, they only ever talked about the coding part of technology, not all the other facets, like quality assurance. But there are lots of facets to software development and go to market. When we interview people, they often don’t know there is a whole world of quality assurance which is part of the development.”
Tech companies are changing. Many of the old fears about being able to balance womanhood and a career are no longer relevant.
- “Here in Bolivia something that was hard for women was motherhood in technology. They were afraid to leave for maternity leave, that it would look undesirable to a company. Now there is more protection for women – in our field things are changing. Companies are looking more at talent and not at gender.”
“Technology companies today are looking more at talent and not at gender.”
Ready to join Paola and other dedicated women and men at NICE inContact? Check out NICE inContact Careers for current open opportunities!