Representing Latina Women in the Technology Industry is Melissa Ushakov, Program Manager at Rackspace Inc. We are delighted to have her volunteer at Code Chica Conference 2015, where she’ll be able to talk about her passion for coding and will be able to show her expertise in the field.
Q: Why do you think it’s important for girls to code?
A: It’s important for girls to be exposed to a variety of fields so that they can make informed decisions about their future. Software plays an important part of today’s and tomorrow’s world. I read in U.S. News that demand for software developers is targeted to grow by over 22% in the coming years says. Unfortunately, many girls rule out a career in software because of stigmas associated with it. I would love for young Latinas to have the confidence to explore their capabilities, whether they fall in the coding or not.
Q: What motivated you to volunteer for Latinitas?
A: As a professional in the technology industry, I know firsthand how important diversity is in creating successful companies. Latin women are underrepresented in the technology field, making up only 1% of the workforce. My hope is that my passion for technology will inspire Latinitas to consider a career in technology. I also hope to show that it’s not impossible to be a successful Latina in this industry. If I can do it, they can too!
Q: Where are you from and how did you get to the States?
A: I’m from a little city outside Reynosa, Mexico and went to school in the Rio Grande Valley, to the University of Texas at Pan Am. My dad traveled for school and work as someone who worked in agriculture. We lived in the student housing at Texas A&M at College Station when I was kid and I was exposed to a lot of friends and other kids from other countries. After graduating UT Pam Am I got my first job in Harrisburg, PA where I met my husband who is Ukranian. He let me convince him to move closer to Mexico and that’s how we got to Austin. He and I work together at Rackspace.