Sociomantic Women in Tech: Real Talk From Our Software Developer

Liza Churkyn adresses some misconceptions about working in tech

In this series,we hear from women in different departments at Sociomantic about their roles, their unique experiences and their recommendations for those interested in joining the industry. After interviewing technical account managers and UX designers, we now speak with Liza Churkyn, a software developer that works at the heart of our business. She gives us some insights into why software development is for everyone.

What are your responsibilities at Sociomantic and what is it that you enjoy most about your current job?

I’m a backend server developer with the reporting team. I am responsible for storing large amounts of data every day, which gets read by our bidding and campaign control applications.

There are a lot of things I love about being a developer. When dealing with computers, things make sense for me: problems are solvable and solutions range from ingenious to elegant to dirty. Another thing I find satisfying is that no matter what I’m working on, it will start bearing fruits quickly, and I’ll see results within hours, days or weeks. I also love the peace and quiet as I can work completely independently; there’s something liberating about not being dependent on anyone. And at Sociomantic, there’s no dress code (not even an unspoken one) — what matters is the work you do.

What are the challenges that come up in Software Development, and which kind of skills do you need to overcome them?

My team works with real-time, server-side applications that have to accurately process a large amount of incoming traffic. We need to make sure that our applications are resilient to network problems, hardware issues and any fraud attempts by malicious users. Our entire business relies on our data being up to date and correct, which makes our applications a critical part of the system. We need to know what we’re doing and not to panic when for example live systems fail.

What advice do you have for any women who is looking to work in tech?

I think there are some misconceptions about what working in tech is like. Lots of people don’t think that the tech industry is for them, but many are unfamiliar with it and are simply intimidated. Instead, I wish people would try it out before deciding if that’s what they want to pursue. There are so many online courses that can introduce you to the subject, some that include a hands-on approach to give you a strong understanding of the technology.

And how do you respond to people that perceive the tech industry as boring?

Software development isn’t boring – it’s part of every aspect of our lives today, from mobile phones to hospital equipment. Some applications are designed with entertainment in mind, and some are developed to fight crime. The field of software development holds an ocean of possibilities, and is in no way less suitable for women. We all use apps every day, both men and women, so my advice for any women interested in tech would be to pursue it.

What is the greatest transformation in technology you’ve witnessed in your career?

The greatest transformation in technology in my career is the design of distributed systems to deal with mass production of data by the general public. Specifically, backend architecture that supports reliable storage of data and low latency of data access. The massive growth of data also spurred the development of algorithms that try to draw intelligent conclusions from all this data, for various purposes – and in our case, for targeted advertising.