Underlining gender in IT

Risto Sarvas • Service Designer, Professor, Company Culture Engineer

To honour the international women's day on March 8th we asked some of our women to write down their thoughts about working in an IT company. We hope that reading these will make you think whether gender should be underlined in the IT world or not. A common thread in all these texts is that labelling "women in IT" feels unnecessary and even irritating, and some authors chose not to underline "being a woman" at all. To quote Shumeng's text below: "At Futurice, I actually haven’t been addressed as a female before and for me that’s something really worth celebrating on the international women’s day." Read further how our colleagues tell in their own words what it is like to work at Futurice.


I'm a woman working in IT and I really don't feel like a woman working in IT. I feel like a person who gets to do mindblowingly interesting stuff with really cool people every day, and it's just fantastic.

I'm about to start on a project that will take me to London to work with new people, a new technology, and a new concept.

When I decided to study computer science I never imagined I would be working so much with people, and asking really important questions like "Why do we do the things we do?". I chose to study IT because it was a relatively interesting option. I liked the logical structure of information, and I imagined that I would build new and amazing things with technology. But I never imagined I would end up spending more time asking questions, listening to people, and designing delightful experiences. Every day I get to do things that hopefully make peoples lives better.

For me, being a woman didn't have much to do with my these choices. But I do wonder why there is such a divide between the sexes when it comes to IT. I think (hope) it's slowly closing. It feels like the most natural thing in the world for me to be inquisitive, mindful and to want to make a difference to people lives.

Dhyana Scarano, Designer

I am a human working in IT. And I am fed up with stereotypes. I want crush them, burn them, make them disappear completely. There are such stereotypes that women are needed in IT because they possess more soft skills than men, are more able to communicate with people and are generally better in social skills than men. There are also stereotypes that women tend to be more modest than men, about their work and accomplishments. All those stereotypes are bullshit!

Women are NOT needed in IT because of the reasons I mentioned above. Instead, we are needed because we are good at what we do, we are intelligent, wonderful, passionate human beings who want to create something that we can feel proud of. Just like any professional out there, no matter which gender they represent. And I don't think women are modest. Different people just have different ways of showing that they are proud of what they are doing. Not all people have the need to shout to the whole wide world about their accomplishments.

I don't need to have the most perfect people skills or "softness" in me just because I am a woman. And men don't need to be over-analytical and mathematically gifted engineers, to be able to work in IT. Let us all be what we want to be, instead of judging each other and making us fit some ready-made categories and stereotypes. An open mind is the key here - as it is in other aspects of life as well.

One of my own superpower moments recently are related to open-mindedness, too. I jumped out of my comfort zone, to something completely new. I was the first warrior sent to Switzerland, as a Futurice employee. Of course I was scared as hell, but at the same time totally ecstatic about it. It was such a good opportunity that I just simply couldn't resist. And needless to say, my gender was the last thing in my mind when I was pondering whether or not I should take this challenge.

And now, after being here for a few months, I have realised that I clearly made the right decision. I have gained a lot of confidence, other people are listening to my opinions, they have been relying on me, letting me take responsibility and following on my footsteps in this amazing adventure I have stepped into. That makes me extremely happy and proud. I am proud not only of myself, but also the whole team that is now functioning here at full speed.

We are a pretty awesome bunch of humans in IT.

– Anu Ylänen, Senior QA Specialist


I'm a senior software specialist. Does it sound fancy? Well, it is. I do a lot of coding. But I also do a lot of stuff on top of that. I listen, discuss, study, draw, write, understand, learn, measure, analyse, learn some more, write post-it-notes, commit, argue and share ideas. There are two things that I like most in my work: One is that I get to create something new and the other is that I do that together with awesome people.

What inspires me in my everyday work is the whole process of understanding a need and then creating something new to solve that. It begins by listening, observing and trying to understand. As a consultant I work with a lot of different people with different ideas, needs, worries and hopes. I need to understand what is valuable for them. That is the basis for building a solution. Coding is one big part of building the solution.

What fascinates me most in coding is the logical thinking and problem solving. It's like solving a huge sudoku. I also like that I get to know so many different worlds through the projects. I have done apps for well-being, hunting, weather, and movies to name but a few.

Seeing someone use an app I have made gives me satisfaction in my work. I wonder if they enjoy the cool design and easiness of use. I'm thinking if they understand how hard it was to combine and synchronize all the data from various databases to get it working as smoothly as it does. Maybe they don't and actually they don't even need to. It's enough if they are just happy to use it.

But I couldn't do this all just by myself. I can do this together with my colleagues, partners, clients, customers and end users. We can share our ideas and make them even better. Together we can create so much more.

Janetta Koskela, Senior Software Specialist

I love my job. Yes really, I do. Why, you may ask. Well let me tell you what I do. I compose beautiful things like an artist. I learn new things daily. I solve problems and watch how small pieces fit together and form larger entities. I believe that through my work I can help people in their daily lives and change their life for the better. Hell, I'm creating the future!

But wait, there is more. I like doing things together with other people and I enjoy understanding different solutions. I like seeing things work. Sometimes while at work hours just fly by. And it never gets boring. There is always more to learn.

So what do I do? I'm a woman working as software developer and I'm proud of it.

– Tiina Romu, Software Developer


I write software for mobile phones. I like it because it's fun to make your phone do whatever you want it to do, and get paid for playing with it. It's even fun to make your phone do whatever the customer wants it to do - customers sometimes want the weirdest things, and it's very entertaining in the same way as puzzles are.

It feels good to please the customers, too, and even more so to please the users, and occasionally to see one's own software advertised on TV or on a bus stop.

Part of the fun is that something new is always happening.

Vera Izrailit, Software Developer

My passion at work is great customer experience. It is about meeting and exceeding customers’ expectations. It is about making people (and myself) happy. And, it is about aiming high: making customer promises that are not trivial to meet – and that are really challenging to exceed. In a company like Futurice, customers are expecting a lot by default. And that’s awesome!

I found Futurice four and a half years ago as a young, fresh from the university. Since then, I’ve gotten to challenge myself over and over again. I’ve worked in different roles: project manager, marketing lead, consultant, account manager. I’ve learned a lot. And that is because of the inspirational colleagues and customers that I get to work with and because of the company culture that gives me great freedom and responsibility.

The best thing in my work is that I love it. Okay, even the working life is not a bed of roses but I think the point is just that. When I really have to work hard on something – even something that might feel difficult, scary, boring or unresolvable at some point – I get the kicks when I get it done. Getting things done is great feedback, especially something concrete enough like “yay, we got the offer presented and the customer really liked it!” or like “yippee, the project demo exceeded everybody’s expectations!”. After all, I think I live of feedback.

– Anni Tölli, Account Manager, Consultant

Hello, my name is Shumeng and work as a mobile developer at Futurice Berlin. Already shortly after starting, I got to get my hands dirty in working with clients in projects and that has been a super fun ride. I mostly work with iOS right now but also enjoy developing with Android. I think I’m a self-confessed addict to learning new things and solving problems! In my daily work, it’s most rewarding to see the progress of something you’ve contributed to building.

When asked about writing for the international women’s s day, I initially had some mixed feelings. As a female developer you’re often perceived as an oddball by the outside world and initiatives to change that are great. On the other hand, it feels quite outdated to keep underlining gender differences and be singled out. In an ideal world, I hope there would be no need to highlight women working in tech and we would be the norm instead of the exception. At Futurice, I actually haven’t been addressed as a female before and for me that’s something really worth celebrating on women’s day!

Shumeng Ye, Software Developer

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