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#50inTechJobs success story! 🎉 Ntombi, our DEI Evangelist had a chat with Melanie Almeida, Growth Manager at Strapi and one of many women who have successfully found a safe and inclusive workplace through our 50inTech platform. We were delighted to learn that she is one of the original members of our 50inTech community and has been consistently engaged and enthusiastic about our mission.

Melanie believes the best way to succeed in Tech is to be curious, ask questions, and embrace constant learning. It’s reflected in her keenness to become a 50inTech mentor.

Reflecting on who inspires her, Melanie notes that this has evolved with time and she is now inspired mainly by women in Tech who are solo entrepreneurs, build things in Tech and run their communities.

👉Strapi and 60+ other inclusive companies in tech are hiring and looking for talented women in tech (just like you)! See all companies here.

On journeying through Tech

Tell us a bit about yourself and how you got on this particular career path? Why did you choose Tech?

My path started quite traditionally; I studied marketing in business school, but nothing about digital marketing nor startups. I think my teachers were too old for that. In any case, in my first two jobs, I worked as a brand manager in traditional marketing. Then, when I was 25, I started looking for work, and I soon realised my resumé was already outdated. Everyone talked about SEO, website management, Google analytics, and stuff like that. I was overwhelmed, and it took me a year and a half to learn all these things by myself through freelance projects. And it's when I discovered digital marketing.

I joined my first startup in 2016, where I learned about digital marketing, and then later, about growth hacking. I also wanted to learn how to code, so I started programming meetups for beginners. It was a long journey, involving a lot of key learnings. 

Strapi is the most exciting company I've joined so far. I wanted to join a developer-first company because years ago, the dev community appealed to me when I learned how to code. So even though I wasn't a programmer, I wanted to join this crowd. 

Take us on a walk-through what is it that you do at Strapi?

I run the Growth team at Strapi, so we design experiments and run analysis using marketing and engineering. We are involved from the top to the bottom of the funnel. My role, and that of my team, is to find optimizations and plan experiments that will have a return on investment. Our analysis tries to find the next growth opportunity we might have missed. So it's great because my days never look the same. We get to apply a nice cocktail of marketing, engineering, and product skills.

So you say that Strapi was the most exciting company you've joined? What have been your biggest challenges in Tech?

I think my biggest challenge at Strapi or anywhere else is to catch up with all the technology people use. I don't mind being the least smart in the room because it's the best way to learn. But you know it's tough to fight imposter syndrome when you need to catch up on learning. Our founders are developers, so sometimes conversations are very developer orientated. I can feel a bit lost, but I'm fortunate because I have a buddy who can help me and answer my questions; everyone is super friendly and takes time to explain. 

I think the main challenge in Tech is the velocity of Tech. It never stops, so that it can be overwhelming for someone new in Tech.

Through your experiences working in the industry, how did you develop your skills and prepare yourself?

I learned a lot about this industry by asking lots of questions. For example, I never hesitate to reach out to strangers and ask questions on Twitter. I try to join diverse Slack communities with experts in different skills to learn from them. I've also learned a lot from online courses. I think self-learning is super important when you're in Tech. Primarily if you work in a startup, you need to accept that you can't know everything and learn specific tasks on the fly. That's why it's crucial to join the right work environment where you're encouraged to step out of your comfort zone.

At the same time, it's tough because you don't know when it's good enough, contributing to your imposter syndrome. 

Ironically, my first application was ignored when I applied at Strapi the first time because I was approached by an external recruiter who then didn't reply. When I saw the same job offer on 50inTech, I realized Strapi was actually looking for women and taking diversity seriously. So I applied again, and my future manager soon contacted me. Eventually, I got the job, which made me realize all the previous opportunities I missed out on because of self-limitation. 

Since working at Strapi for these past few months, has actually been your biggest accomplishment, and what are you looking for in your career trajectory with them?

Every time I feel like I'm helping someone, it's an achievement. It's a great feeling to be able to help someone, and it makes my progress visible. I see myself now versus two years ago, and I see that I can now help more people. I really love helping my team members,my  friends, and helping women get into Tech because every time I answer a question, it's a win for me.


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On Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

Share what you love that Strapi is doing correctly regarding diversity and inclusion and what you think are the most important values an inclusive workplace should have. How did you feel about joining the company?

I immediately felt welcomed at Strapi. I am amazed at how much effort they put into diversity and inclusion, not to do diversity washing, but to make sure it’s being applied thoughtfully inside the company. I’m pleased about that. Similarly, their approach to work-life balance helped me imagine a long-term future at Strapi because I know that I would have kids one day. Starting a family always puts a strain on a female's career, so it’s super important to work in a family-friendly company that cares about all its employees.

What is it that you like the most about your job?

I like our diversity. No day is the same as the other. I don't like being bored; I don't like being under-challenged. So this job is great because every day is different, and every day there are new challenges and new things to learn. So I see endless possibilities working in Growth, and it creates a lot of different paths for the future. At Strapi, what I like the most are the people. When I did the job interviews and met all these fantastic people, I knew it was the right place. Their work-life balance is super important at Strapi. It's a pleasant surprise because I was used to companies that didn't respect work-life balance. Equal pay and being remote are also two amazing things. These help me see my future at Strapi. And everyone is welcome and treated the same and with a lot of care.

On her job hunting success with 50inTech 

Were you already a 50inTech member when you found this job, and what motivated you to apply through 50inTech?

Yes, I joined 50inTech a very long time ago. I learned about 50inTech when Caroline Ramade announced its launch on her social media. I'm an early user.

When I learned about the role from the recruiter, I wasn't 100 percent sure it was Strapi because recruiters never name the company they work for, so it was only by guessing from the job description. I was randomly browsing 50inTech, and I was like, I need a place where they will accept me and be open to candidates like me, and this is where I found the same role. So I said to myself, let's apply again, this time without the recruiter, and see how it goes.

Could you highlight for our 50inTech community what you think are the main issues women in Tech face that we can address?

That's a difficult question; I believe the problem comes from high schools that don't orient girls well enough. But I think it's also by helping women to make a transition. I met a lot of women who became developers in their 20s, in their 30s, even in their 40s. They all say to me, "I wish I knew about this job sooner. I didn't know about programming, data science, technical writing, etc." It's challenging for women to position themselves as adults because we have more pressure to have stable situations. So we need to help girls in school learn about Tech, and we need to help women who started in Tech late to make the transition and switch to jobs safely. Women should know that their past skills can be transferable since Tech is super open and expansive, so don't limit yourself. Make your past skills transferable to your future career. We need to overcome these mental limits.

Your job board is beneficial because it gives women the safety to know they join a company approved by 50inTech. The transition is hard enough to change to a new career. Then if you move to a company that is toxic or not good for you, it could be a step back, so it's essential to find the right place to start your new career. The second good thing about 50inTech is the bootcamps; you've made one for salary negotiation, for example, that was very helpful. Webinars and job boards are essential, and investing in education would be the next step.

About our platform and its usability, how was your experience? How quickly did you get a response from the recruiters when you applied?

I got an answer very fast. I applied on a Saturday night and got a response on Monday, which was great. I believe the 50inTech platform is relatively easy to use; it's easy to create an account. So far, I'm satisfied with the tool, and I'm thrilled with the opportunity it brought me.

What do you like the most regarding the features, impact, and values?

I like the job boards and all these testimonies of women in Tech from different jobs, so that helps with representation. From my experience, the job board has been the most helpful functionality of 50inTech. It's the one I'll keep using in the future if I change jobs one day, but not until a few years.  


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Some self-reflection

Who are the people that inspire you?

It's a question that's evolved. A few years ago, I remembered buying magazines with Sheryl Sandberg on the cover or the CEO of HP. You know these very high-ranked women are very few and very powerful. But now, who inspire me the most are women who build things in Tech, run their own communities, and are solo-entrepreneurs such as Anne-Laure Le Cunff, who you have interviewed in the past. Steph Smith, I love her blog, and I love what she created with it. Another person is Anna Gát, Founder and CEO of Interintellect. So now I'm more inspired by women closer to me, either by age or by situation or location, because they are more reachable. They started from scratch and used technology and the internet to create a business, community, or project.

What advice do you have for the women in Tech looking for technical roles?

I will say not to limit yourself, that we are our biggest obstacle. I believe that many limits that women face in Tech might be self-inflicted. So we need to overcome these limits; we need to ignore the imposter syndrome. We need to put ourselves in men's shoes more; if men can apply, we can too. Do not limit yourself; Tech is about unlimited opportunities because we can create tools and projects, websites, and go to space now, so if Tech can be without limits, we can also be limitless in our future roles. I know it isn't effortless, but we need to do our best to overcome our self-inflicted limits.

Yeah, absolutely, and some statistics say that men will apply for a role if they meet 60% of the requirements, and women will not apply for it at all unless they meet 100%.

Yeah! I agree with this statistic; I was the same. Now I'm like if men apply with 60 percent of the skills, why can't I? So, let's do it!!

For more of Melanie Almeida, check out her website, where she shares her work, portraits, and a range of resources on growth marketing, data & analytics, SEO, Tech, and more! Follow her on Twitter and LinkedIn!

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