Career, Development and Gender Stereotypes in Ukrainian IT – Interview with Marina Gaponova

In Ukraine, the same as in the whole world, IT sphere is disproportional – much more men than women are IT specialists. The editor of AIN.UA talked with Ukrainian women programmers and testers to find out how they came to this profession, whether they faced discrimination and what they themselves think about the gender disproportion in IT. One of them is Marina Gaponova – .NET developer at Daxx, we propose you to read her interview.

My way in IT began rather not with the love to computers, but with the passion of exact sciences. At school, I liked mathematics and physics. In 2005 I got the first mobile phone Siemens A57. It was primitive by our standards, but games, where you need to move boxes incredibly enthralled me and my classmates. I remember how suddenly social networks emerged. At first, there was no one, but very fast they literally included everyone. It was then, perhaps, when my curiosity flared up, why it is so enthralling and how it is arranged. And since people do it, maybe I can do something interesting as well.

In 2009, I entered the Faculty of Computer Systems, Energy and Automation in NMetAU. There was programming, but I wanted more – understanding of the relevant technologies and their practical application. Therefore, in parallel with studying in ШАГ, and entered the IT-academy of SoftServe in the direction: “Development on the .NET platform,” from there I got a job in SoftServe. Since then (2014) I have been working continuously in the industry as a .NET developer.

Today I work at DAXX on a project related to security at the airport in real time. I’m writing backend-part of the project. The team is small (there are two of us on the backend). We began to write the project from scratch 2 years ago, which gave a huge advantage in choosing technology and the ability to use the newest of them. Now we have 4 people on the project, I’m the only girl. In general, in the office of DAXX in the Dnipro simultaneously work 4-5 girls among about 50 programmers.

In addition to the main work, I read profile articles, listen to podcasts, try to be on the wave of technology – I think this is must have for a good programmer. At the moment I’m taking a course of Python on Udemy. I also practice solving algorithmic problems (at,, – it develops the brain. Participated in competitions (,,, it is a great way to test yourself as a programmer.

What I like about IT and what I don’t always meet in other industries is the focus on results and equality in assessing the contribution of each participant. Such a meritocracy in action. Those who are not ready to work will not advance further, and whoever is ready to make an effort has the opportunity to do so. In addition to wages, companies offer English courses, table football/tennis, coffee/tea /cookies, pizza events, corporate parties. All these are factors that stress that labor is in demand.

Gender disproportion in IT is a world trend. And large companies are making great efforts to reduce it. But in general, there are fewer girls both in schools with the focus on math and physics and in universities on technical faculties.

I’ve heard stories about discrimination. And I know that there are complaints that the girls are being underestimated on the interviews. From my personal experience: the first impression of a little pretty girl can be frivolous. But the answers, which show the depth and knowledge of the topic, are quite decisive. If a person is a professional, it will not be a problem for him or her to find a job.

In the IT sphere, most of the HR positions are occupied by women. Quite a few testers are women. Being inside of the sphere, they know for sure that it is possible to study programming, it’s just that their current role is probably closer to them.

Many girls are by nature more inclined to communicate than to study technical details. This is their choice. We live in a time when we have almost equal opportunities. Everyone decides who to become.

The whole article is available here.

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