Tech industry has tremendously progressed when it comes to workforce diversity, says Hailey Yoon, Co-founder and Chief Technology Officer (CTO) of IO21

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Tech industry has tremendously progressed when it comes to workforce diversity, says Hailey Yoon, Co-founder and Chief Technology Officer (CTO) of IO21
Tech industry has tremendously progressed when it comes to workforce diversity, says Hailey Yoon, Co-founder and Chief Technology Officer (CTO) of IO21

Universities have done a great job at attracting female students, as well as technology companies seem to have less and less bias towards female coders. I hope that this trend will continue and that the technology industry will be an example for other more traditional industries to embrace diversity and inclusion

When asked if she can share a little bit about what it is that she does and what a typical day for her is like, Hailey Yoon, Co-founder and Chief Technology Officer (CTO) of IO21, in an exclusive interview with CIO News, said, I usually wake up around 7AM. My usual routine revolves around 45 minutes of meditation or light exercise, following which I always try to have breakfast with my husband. While eating breakfast, we avoid talking about work, focusing more on exciting things we will be doing together over the upcoming weekend or holidays. Around 9AM, I begin checking my emails, and I have a standing meeting with my team to set the tasks for the day and check in on the progress of teams that work in different time zones. Between 10AM-12PM, I find myself most productive. I dedicate this time to deep work such as coding, framing problems, and important administrative tasks. My afternoons are never the same. It all depends on the type of project, which may require further focused coding, calls with clients, project management, in-person meetings, or visits to a client site. I also don’t have a fixed time when I finish work; however, I try to free up my evening for a round of golf at least twice a week.

When asked if she always knew that working in technology was what she wanted to do, she said, I did not, as I entered college as an English major. I always found languages beautiful and eventually figured out that programming is just another language I was keen to learn! The possibilities that coding opened up for me were so exciting that I decided to switch my major and never looked back.

When asked if she has been in a situation where gender has affected the way she was perceived or treated in the tech industry and how she handled the situation, she said, the most common situation I still frequently find myself in is not having my voice heard by men. I noticed that they often interrupt me mid-sentence and do not let me finish my track of thought. That is when I have to step back and politely ask to let me finish my sentence, and we can continue discussing the content afterward. I would advise all women always to hold their ground and speak up for themselves, never allow their voice to drown, especially when challenged by a male counterpart.

When asked about the best part of being a woman in the tech industry, she said, there are a lot of benefits to being a woman in the tech industry! First of all, it makes you stand out. It’s a blessing and a curse at the same time because you immediately have to prove your worth, and you are not given the benefit of the doubt. However, once you do, you will be remembered and recognized. I believe that women have an inherent advantage over men in the way they code – for example, they are more diligent by frequent unit testing and lack reckless confidence.

When asked if she notices a lack of women in technology? If so, why does she think that’s the case, she said, back in college, I was one of a handful of women in my computer science class, so I definitely used to feel that. However, over the past four years, the tech industry has tremendously progressed when it comes to workforce diversity. Universities have done a great job at attracting female students, as well as technology companies seem to have less and less bias towards female coders. I hope that this trend will continue and that the technology industry will be an example for other more traditional industries to embrace diversity and inclusion.

When asked about her advice she would give to a woman considering a career in the tech industry? What does she wish she had known, she said, first of all – do not feel like you are not good enough. If you worked hard throughout your academic career, you are well equipped to face any challenge in the working environment. Secondly – it is OK not to know everything. The natural learning path is to know what you do not know, and admitting to this is a sign of high emotional intelligence, rather than pretending you know something and not being able to deliver work on time and to a required quality. Lastly – enjoy it! It is an exciting and constantly evolving field. I strongly believe that you will find fulfilment.

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