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Being a woman in tech happened by chance. When I was young, I didn’t really know what I was passionate about. The only thing I knew was that I wanted to get a job and earn money. My parents also had a specific idea of what my career should look like. So, I started my studies in Business Administration and Accounting, got my degrees, and got my first job in this area. It was only then that I realized I am the curious and passionate about learning and improve myself. I simply want to understand how things work.

And then I received an opportunity that would send me on a completely different path: the SAP Academy. Then I ask to myself:
"Should I quit my job in accounting and do something different altogether?"

It was a hard decision.

I decided to take the leap, but the transition into tech wasn’t easy. Back then, the industry was still very much dominated by men. I was the only woman and  I was judged because of that. I was told I talk too much, have a different style, and maybe I wasn't even  suited to be in this area. But I was confident that this was the place for me. I wanted to be a woman in tech.

I worked hard, double even, to show everyone else that I have the skills and competent. It is my belief that knowledge is power and the key to success. You must study and you have to take action to change your life. The world changes quickly, and so does the technology industry. There is always something new, some innovation. You must know  studying is part of the process and I am glad that there are offerings such as the latest digital-skill initiative from SAP, where you can find tailored learning resources that will help you kickstart your career in tech.

It would pay off: I put my SAP Certification on LinkedIn and on my resume, and was what distinguished me from other candidates in the job market.

I have seen a lot of people who were waiting for the right moment to steer their lives in a new direction. They were not ready for something new or they are, simply afraid. But living in the past is not good. Yesterday can’t do anything for you; Today can.

As a mentor, I often get asked: How do I start? I recommend finding a mentor, someone who can inspire and guide you. I recommend looking at job profiles and opportunities that interest you to find out what skills you are still missing. Make a list of things you want to get better in. Engage in discussion. Get out of your comfort zone. And most importantly: make mistakes and then analyze them. Get some lessons learned.

I wish I had known that back then. I wish I had been more disciplined in the past. Time is valuable. Don’t get me wrong: It’s never too late to learn something new. But the earlier you start, the earlier you will benefit. I can only encourage you to learn and to go for the next challenge. Strive for something higher, and you will grow – professionally, but most importantly: personally.

For my parents, it is still hard to understand what I do. I would show them my blog posts and interviews, and they would say, “this is my girl”." They are very proud. I feel more confident in what I do today, and I love sharing my knowledge and experience with others. This morning, I got a message from one of the young girls I am mentoring as a volunteer. She texted me that she got her first opportunity for a career in IT. She said thank you and was so happy. And I am too, because I know there will be another woman in tech!!!



About the author:

Karen Rodrigues is from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. She works as an SAP consultant and is part of two SAP groups, the SAP Mentors group and the SAP Latam Influencer group. Karen teaches SAP solutions and mentors young people who want to start a career in the technology industry and improve their English skills.
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