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Finding strength in diversity: Lessons from my Thoughtworks journey

Finding strength in diversity

Lessons from my Thoughtworks journey

Throughout my career journey, I have encountered various challenges that have helped shape my professional growth. From stakeholder management to different company cultures, these situations required me to adapt quickly, be flexible in my approach and remain focused on the bigger picture. I learned the importance of staying adaptable, embracing change and finding ways to transform challenges into opportunities for growth. Building resilience became a crucial skill in managing uncertainty and overcoming obstacles in my career.


Additionally, I faced the pressure of being a woman in a predominantly male-dominated industry. Culturally, I grew up with the unconscious belief that I had to constantly prove my worth and measure up to certain expectations. Overcoming this challenge required a shift in my mindset. I  constantly needed to remember that my value as a professional was determined by my skills, knowledge and contributions. It was a personal journey of challenging and reshaping cultural biases and stereotypes, and it ultimately empowered me to embrace my unique perspective and contribute to the industry in a meaningful way.


From these experiences, I learned valuable lessons. I understood the significance of soft skills in managing complex relationships, the importance of adaptability and resilience in navigating internal challenges, and the need to challenge cultural norms and biases. These lessons have not only strengthened my professional capabilities but they have also shown me how important it is to find a safe and empowering environment. A place where you have the tools and the people that can enable you to be the best version of yourself, not only in a professional matter but a personal one as well. And that's what I found at Thoughtworks.


My journey at Thoughtworks

It began some years ago when a friend of mine who started to work here, and with whom I usually met from time to time, told me about his experience inside the company, the values and the ways of working. I found Thoughtworks’ emphasis on creating a diverse and inclusive work environment particularly appealing, as I strongly believe that diverse teams drive innovation and create better solutions. At that time, I was feeling a bit burnt out with my current job and in need of a change in my professional career, so when my friend told me that he could refer me to start the application process, I took the opportunity and applied.


WomenUp event


During my interview process, I discovered WomenUp. WomenUp was an initiative carried out by Thoughtworks in 2021 that consisted of a series of free webinars and workshops to which women with programming knowledge or experience could sign up. The goal was to allow us to improve our consulting and technical skills. This event was great to change the mental chip of my previous company and start me off with many new ideas to apply working inside Thoughtworks. We were all able to ask questions, raise concerns and even share about current situations in our work environments and ask for advice on how to apply certain practices to improve the situation. 


Thoughtworks University


When I joined Thoughtworks, I was able to remotely participate in the Thoughtworks University program. The program consisted of three weeks where we had theoretical and practical sessions on everything we would need when we start on a new project. For the remainder of my first year, this was followed by a monthly, one-day session on topics that were yet to be covered. In addition to all the knowledge that we were able to consolidate, interacting with such a diverse group of people from other countries, in a safe environment in which nobody made you feel judged was key to gaining the necessary confidence to face the future challenges that we would see later in the projects where we entered. In my case, I was able to devirtualize some colleagues and it was a very pleasant experience.


Support figures


So far I have met many wonderful people at Thoughtworks who have always been willing to help me when I needed it., I think the first person I would highlight is my Graduates Engagement Leader. She was my first contact in Thoughtworks and the person who initially helped me throughout the entire interview process. She was very nice and always willing to help with any questions. 


TheSpain People team has also been willing to answer my questions at all times, and my onboarding buddy has been an incredibly kind person with whom I have been able to share my growth and ask for direct advice on steps to follow. And the people from whom I have been able to learn the most to grow in my professional career have been my colleagues in the different projects in which I have worked. Being able to have various occasions where I meet with them and with the stakeholders, follow their advice and pair program has contributed a lot in my development.


Learning resources


Thoughtworks offers countless free courses for employees through platforms like Campus and Udemy. They support the different communities of interest that have been created within the company and promote various initiatives, such as Lunch and Learns (where a topic of interest is exposed during lunchtime) and in Spain, we even have two extra days to use for training or activities focused on social impact. Thoughtworks provides many opportunities for technologists to give talks or participate as a volunteer to host sessions (for example, in Factoría F5, YConf, Codebar, XConf…). In between projects we are given opportunities to focus on continuous learning and improving via courses, study groups and social impact projects, among other things.


Thoughtworks really makes you feel that if you want to grow in your professional career, they will be there to give you the support you need. There is no greater motivation than making you believe in yourself and your goals.


My advice to you


I think it's essential to explore and find those resources that align with your specific interests and career goals. Networking with peers, attending conferences or participating in online communities can provide valuable insights, support and opportunities for growth in your career. More than a specific course or book, here are some tips that worked for me during these years: 


  • Don’t surrender or be discouraged for not having that many female references, if you don’t find them, do your best to try to be the reference for other female developers who might need it to feel encouraged.


  • Try to ignore your imposter syndrome monologue and always be willing to give your opinion or to ask questions when you are not sure about something. Nowadays we have so many expectations for ourselves that sometimes we forget that we are humans, we have the right to make mistakes.


  • Everyone has their own path and rhythms. Take small steps and try not to get overwhelmed with the size of the path that you need to go through to accomplish your aims. In some way or another, you will learn a lot with every small victory, and that’s the most valuable lesson that you will learn to yourself.


  • Get out of your comfort zone. It’s the best way to learn and to accomplish new goals. You are more capable than you think.


  • Go to conferences or events organized by women (for example, AdaLoveConf, Women in Tech Summit, Grace Hopper Celebration…) to find more motivation and be inspired by others.


At the end of each day, we are defined by the people and environments we choose to embrace. Surround yourself with individuals who not only see your potential but inspire you to surpass it. 


Disclaimer: The statements and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the positions of Thoughtworks.

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