Recently GoDaddy attended the European Women In Tech event in Amsterdam.
There we talked to Sundas Jabeen, a web developer at health app Natural Cycles.
In the interview, she talked about the importance of localization, and about how women can get started in a career in tech.
Please could you introduce yourself?
Thank you for asking and thank you for having me here. I’m a web developer I’ve been in tech industry for more than seven years now. And it’s ironic because I started as a writer and then I ended up being a developer. So I chose the tech industry it was not like I accidentally fell into it and it’s a great feeling. So I used to work with a US-based company that managed different clients, and then I moved to Sweden to work with Natural Cycles, it’s digital contraception which is CE marked in Europe and FDA-cleared in the US. So it’s lovely being in tech and it’s lovely being in in Sweden in tech.
Why does localization matter for businesses that operate across several different locations in the world?
I think localization is a very important factor when you are targeting people who are multicultural and are from different countries. It’s very important that people feel at home when they are using your product, or when they are using your interface. They need to feel at home, they need to use a product the way they want to use and still do the right thing. So they should always be comfortable using your product, and use it as they are used to do and then they still end up the way you want them to end up so to do this it’s very important that you work on localization.
At Natural Cycles we have a localization team that works on localization all the time, because now we are growing and we’re launching in different countries. And we recently launched in the US, so it was very interesting to see how different cultures respond to the same product and how different cultures respond to the same interface like a website or a social media post for instance, and then there from there using the data we learn how it is very important to make people feel at home with our products.
How can businesses make sure localization is a key part of their online presence?
Localization is actually the key part for the online presence because one of the things that we do in localization is also providing their own native language, which is like the biggest part of the localization campaign. So if you are on the website or using a product and you do not really understand the language especially from a product which is very much involved in your life, like Natural Cycles of the healthcare app and we provide women their health care data. So it’s very important that is well understood and they understand it with the context and all the educational material around it is something that they are very comfortable understanding. So it is a very key part because, if they do not understand your product they are not a good customer you’re not gaining their trust and you’re not making anything out of everything you are investing on them.
And what are some of the biggest mistakes a business can make when it comes to localization?
I think falling into stereotypes and misconceptions and not doing enough user research. I’m not very involved in the strategic part of the company, I’m a web developer but I like how in Natural Cycles we have all of the strategy and user research going on. So our teams they conduct qualitative research and quantitative research and they look at the user journeys and they see how things are working for them. And I think because we our users are very important for us and we want to make them feel comfortable with the product it’s very important so that to localize it for them.
I think the biggest mistake you could make is try to make your product or you interface very hard to understand for the user because there could be a potential user who could love you for their lives, but they just left because they just didn’t understand what you’re trying to say.
How can web developers make sure localization is part of their skill set?
On an individual level I think it’s very important to just understand how important it is. Like, if it’s like the matter of priorities, like there is a task that is localization based, you really need to understand what you are implementing and what what’s the impact of it. if you’re implementing a different language, if you are implementing a different user flow for a different culture or different country you really not just do it because you’re just asked to do it, you should know what’s the impact of it. You should know that the product that you are developing for is impacting people at so many different levels and how people can be affected by just one little mistake that you could have ignored.
What advice would you give to women starting out in their career in tech?
I think the best piece of advice I would give anyone who is starting their career in tech is like don’t care about what you feel, about how you feel, about you’re going to be in tech. You are not going to be alone there are thousands and thousands of women, and amazing products and amazing journeys I have heard from women who are in tech. And I think it’s like a lot of women I meet who are starting their career in tech, they face problems like because they are women, people underestimate what they can do. So I met this girl here in this conference yesterday and she told me that whenever she tries to tell her someone that she wants to start a career in tech people are asking “what career?” and people judge her saying that it must be QA, or it must be design but she was like a real-time back-end developer and doing really cool stuff with Python and stuff.
I would like to tell people do not care what people perceive you as, do not care what people tell you. If you have decided to do it just do it there’s no right time there’s no right age there’s no right gender there’s it’s the world is in front of you just do it. The sky’s the limit.
And what changes would you like to see from organizations to support women in tech?
I would like to see people hiring more girls, not only in the marketing and in other departments, but also in R&D. Girls are like, according to research, they are better researchers, they are better data analysts and I’m not saying it like men or not, but it’s like more women in your research team are it’s a sign that you will end up somewhere good. And I like how at Natural Cycles we have 40% women in our R&D, like just in our tech team. We have not only the developers but also we have our management team led by women, and we also like our co-founder is a woman who wrote this program for herself, created this algorithm and now it is being used by thousands and thousands of women all over the world and it’s a huge impact. So I would say that company is small or big they should start hiring more women, or if not women like they should start creating diversity they should start neutralizing the percentages in the tech department
How has the environment for women in tech changed over the course of your career?
It is way better. I mean when I started my degree in computer sciences, I was like among four or five other girls who graduated in class of 60/70. And it was it was really interesting to see how you go into the computer science classroom and you see like maybe maximum ten girls sitting, and then you go into the class of any other program, maybe psychology, or medical sciences, and there’s usually only five or six boys sitting and the rest of the class was girls. So now growing up I see that people are choosing more and more tech especially women. I used to go to hackathons and competitions and they were like very few women and I used to feel very alone and I used to feel very a bit special also that I was a woman in tech, and I was given special treatment. But now I don’t mind not getting special treatment because it’s so normal to be a woman in tech.
And coming from Pakistan to Sweden it was a big change, in Pakistan because there is still very less number of women in tech, especially in programming there are very less programmers compared to men and I would really like focus on the market to hire more women, so that it’s more diversified. But when I came to Stockholm it was a lot of women wherever, whatever competition I go it was women, and a lot of startups they were being run by women, created by women, a lot of apps created by women, sold by women. Sweden I found, it is a very women friendly country and nation and I love being here I feel more energetic. Not like I didn’t feel energetic in Pakistan, I think I also felt the same way there, but I would like to see the same amount of women in tech in Pakistan as Sweden.
What do you imagine the tech industry will be like for women in 20 years?
I think things are on a very good track. I even see it as being eaten up by women. I even see it like it will be taken over by women. On a serious note I think it will be a very good I’m seeing it’s happening, and I see women being more active in tech.