Herstory: Mobile Engineer and Advocate, Robyn Silber
Part of our mission as women in the tech field is to empower and encourage other women to learn to code and join us in balancing the field. I interviewed Robyn Silber and she does exactly that through her helpful articles and inspiring social posts. Here is her story.
What was the first thing that peaked your interest in programming?
While pursuing my Bachelor’s in math, I took an intro to programming course only because it would satisfy a requirement towards my degree. At the time, I didn’t know anything about programming or computer science. The professor turned out to be inspiring. He encouraged me to pursue a Master’s in computer science and helped me find my first internship as a software developer.
What was the first language you wrote in and what did you write?
My first language was C. Other than the standard hello-world and introductory code, the first project I wrote was a bank ATM simulator. At runtime, the program accepted a single PIN for logging into the account. After successfully logging in, the user could view the balance, withdraw, or deposit.
Who is your biggest inspiration in programming?
My professor, Dr. Anasse Bari, is my biggest inspiration. Data scientist Lillian, the author of Big Data for Dummies, also known as @bigdatagal on Instagram, is one of my other biggest sources of inspiration. I came across her Instagram while I was working on my masters. Before that, I felt alone — as though there were few to no relatable female role models in the tech. I got in contact with her and felt super encouraged. It was a reminder to me that I belonged in tech, too. She was my inspiration for using social media to showcase my life as a woman in tech.
“..there are still barriers of inclusion that women face in STEM fields.’’
Any advice for women wishing to get into the field?
Computer science is the most exciting and rewarding subject I’ve ever studied. The opportunities in tech are endless. With that said, there are still barriers of inclusion that women face in STEM fields. Best case scenario, you don’t experience it. However, you need to trust your instinct. If something feels wrong, it’s probably because something is wrong. If you find yourself in such a situation, find the strength to speak out, propose a solution to an administrator, and share your story with others. When you do, you’re not only making your school/work environment inclusive for yourself; you’re making it inclusive for every woman that follows in your footsteps.
In your opinion, what makes a great programmer?
What makes a great programmer is the ability to teach programming to others.