Blog post

Celebrating International Women's Day with the women of Sonar

Liz Ryan photo

Liz Ryan

Product Marketing Manager


  • Clean Code
  • How we work
  • Culture

International Women's Day (March 8) is a day dedicated to celebrating the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women around the globe. Women play an ever-present, evolving, and essential role in society and the workplace. 

From Ada Lovelace, the first computer programmer, to Radia Perlman, the mother of the internet, and beyond, countless impressive women have changed the course of the world with their intelligence, drive, and technological advancement. 

We at Sonar want to recognize the impressive women that aid in the continued success of our culture and our business every day. Today, we're interviewing women across Sonar's many teams about their careers in technology.

How did you get into a career in technology?

Megan Wilson, Support Engineer: My dad minored in computer science in college, and he worked on computers as a hobby when I was growing up. Because of this, I've had a computer since I was three. I learned about computers from him, and then took a programming class in high school, where I realized it was what I wanted to do. So I was a computer science major in college and got a job in Austin afterward. 

Ashelena Leveille, Customer Success: I grew up in a tech family. My dad started as a programmer of mainframes before I was born and still works in technology. My mom started her career as a switchboard operator in telecommunications, then she was a stay-at-home mom, and then she ran an audio-visual company. She also became a systems engineer, so for me, growing up, it was all about new technology in the house - new computers and the internet - things that other people hadn't seen before. It was completely fascinating to me, so going into a career in technology was a no-brainer.

Jean Jimbo, Product Manager: I went the traditional route of studying computer science. When I finished high school, and went to university, out of the options I had, computer science was one of them. I was trying to pick a field of study that was future-proof. Growing up, I used my mom and dad's computers and found them fun. I thought they were super useful and they opened the world to me. Consequently, whenever I had an opportunity to do something related to tech, I always took it.

Claire Villard, SonarCloud Backend Developer: When I was a child I used to fix small pieces of equipment from the house or the car with my father. This thinking process is what I like about my job - starting with a problem and using your knowledge, sometimes your intuition, to test ideas and find solutions. This, plus a global interest in science led me to an engineering school and then to my first developer job. What I love about my job is problem-solving and being a developer with hands-on the code almost every day.

Kirti Joshi, Product Marketing: I come from a family with a very strong science background. My dad was a virologist. He researched infectious diseases and my mom was a science and math teacher. So from the beginning, we had a lot of exposure to science and technology in the house. This naturally led me to pursue a career in engineering and technology. I have a masters in computer, electrical, and computer engineering and spent the first ten years of my career in the semiconductor industry doing chip design. Then I was naturally inclined to the business side of things and conscientiously steered my career into product marketing where I am today.

What or who inspires you when it comes to your career?

Megan: What inspires me is that technology allows you to become independent and empowered by having these little tools in your tool belt and being able to create something. 

Ashelena: My mom. She was able to build this rich career in technology after being a stay-at-home mom was incredibly inspiring. I grew up going to her office and seeing all of these great things. Knowing that it's possible for a woman to do anything and lead in technology was inspiring to me.

Jean: This answer has changed depending on the season of my career. Early on in my career, it was my brother because he was in tech, and it piqued my interest. In a different season, where I struggled to find my place, I had this amazing manager who built a diverse team. The manager made me see that you can be in this technical role and still build people up in a healthy and helpful way. And in this season of my life, I have a friend that dreamt of being a head of marketing, and she made it happen. And she makes me think about my long-term goals and how I can achieve them. 

I’m also inspired by Grace Hopper, one of the first female programmers and a United States Navy Rear Admiral. You can't help but wonder what life was like for her, and at the same time, she was able to achieve so much and make such a name for herself. It must have been amazing to work with her.

Claire: I try to find someone that I aspire to be and then I try to figure out how to achieve what they’re doing. I'm also a member of the women in tech community named Duchess France. Thanks to that community, I’ve met really inspiring people that are very active in the open source community with strong values and very successful careers. Being able to meet with such role models is really inspiring for me. 

Kirti: I love to solve complex problems and explain them in easily understood terms. That's the thing that inspires me most about my career. Throughout my career, I’ve met some outstanding women and I was really inspired by them because of the way they carried themselves, their confidence, and their approachable nature. Also, seeing younger generations grow into strong leaders is very inspiring to me.

What advice would you give to a young woman entering the tech industry?

Megan: I volunteer to help teach computer science to students, and many of my students have this huge hurdle to overcome when they encounter their first error.  When this happens to girls, they tend to feel more critiqued by the computer, and delete everything. So they will only have work to show instead of trying to figure out what the error is. The fear of revealing something wrong is worse than just revisiting the fundamentals. Female programmers are so strong that they make sure their foundation is rock solid, but it also slows them down at first because they don't show their errors. My advice is to be brave enough to show the error you encounter to your teachers or managers and ask for help.

Ashelena: My best advice is to remember that any job is possible in technology. No matter your skills or what you love to do, there is a path for you. The industry constantly evolves and creates new roles for men and women who want to be in tech. Get out there and ask questions. If you have a local networking group that you can join to talk to other folks about what they do, that's helpful. Remember that the industry is entirely open to whatever suits you.

Jean: My career, like most people, might look like a straight line, but I tried many different things to figure out where exactly I fit. Opportunities come from places you don't expect. If you want to make a name for yourself, find tech that's up and coming. If there are new technologies or ideas people are exploring, get involved. Being an early adopter helps you differentiate yourself because you contribute to building something from scratch. Also, If you feel imposter syndrome, finding a mentor and a sponsor is significant. They'll help you remember why you got to where you are and encourage you to move on to the next step and keep track of your successes.

Claire: Believe in yourself. If you think that there's something worth fighting for it or if you have a gut feeling about something, you can trust your feelings and you can trust your knowledge. This applies to your job, to development, and to all the other areas. If what makes you have a great day at work is coding, solving problems, architecture, or anything, and someone is trying to steer you away from it, fight for it.

Kirti: I have two pieces of advice. First, don't be afraid to be assertive. If you have a new idea, even if it's in a room full of experienced people, be confident and never be too shy. New ideas fuel innovation and bringing new ideas to the table is a gift. Second, find a mentor from the beginning that you can use as a sounding board and that can guide you through your career. I think having a strong mentor by your side is essential.

What do you think the future of women in tech will look like?

Megan: The future of technology could be safer, stronger, and more sustainable with the rise of women in technology. But the rise of women in tech depends on correcting the recent decline of women in the tech industry. We need to add computer literacy standardization to our school curriculums. Thankfully this is starting to be corrected. Mobile phones were marketed more to teenage girls in the 2000s. Then in the 2010s, cell phones developed into computers as smartphones, making computing more integrated into our everyday lives and pushing for a representation in education. Within the last few years, I've seen digital games becoming more gender-neutral, especially with the rise of mobile games. As a result, young girls are beginning to have equal access to computer literacy through gaming and school. This makes me hopeful that more women will re-enter college computer science majors. In the meantime, I try to do my part to share and educate my passion for computer science.

Ashelena: The future of women in tech is so bright and exciting. We're already seeing more and more women entering tech every day, and the effects of women in technology - creating new things and giving new perspectives. The future is bright, especially in this generation that sees more and more women as leaders in technology. Kids and young adults of today are even more able to find ways to get into tech. 

Jean: I hope that we have evolved conversations about diversity. I would like to see it be a space where women feel ownership. I hope we grow past the conversations we have today and start making space for people. I want to see women driving diversified technology in different industries. 

Claire: I'm sure it will be great. First, because I'm optimistic in general, but second because I think society is changing especially in the tech industry. We see more and more women in tech and even if the gap is big and it is slow to change there are more people working against bias and lack of diversity. It takes time, but I'm confident the future will be great.

Kirti: I feel that the future is very bright because women are strong decision-makers and bring a balanced viewpoint. This industry is changing rapidly and we need to keep encouraging women to rise and grow their careers. We can all work together to help them pave their career.

Why is Clean Code important to you?

Megan: In my first development job, I was introduced to SonarQube and SonarLint, which I'm eternally grateful for because it's done so much for me. After leaving my first job, I realized how much of an advantage I got from working with the Clean Code methodology. My commits were more solid, I had fewer critiques on my code, and I was going through code faster than my peers. I also had more knowledge to support me when I was reviewing the code. So I saw a huge impact on the quality of my work, which made me so passionate about Clean Code. It's the standard that we should be working by.

Ashelena: Clean Code is so important because it's a standard. Developers don't go into development to clean up old problems or fix errors. Clean Code enables developers to reduce their technical debt and focus on what they want to do: to create new technologies that change the world. Clean Code is the standard, and will only help us create a better world.

Jean: In my second job as a software engineer, I came across Sonar for the first time. I remember rules being enforced, and I quickly realized there was a standard to meet. Slowly I started building my confidence because I knew that if what I was delivering passed the quality gate or I got feedback on my code, I was growing my knowledge. Slowly I went from feeling like an imposter to feeling good at coding. I hope that this is how developers feel when they use our products. When I think of Clean Code, I think of Sonar, and of hitting a standard in the quality of code you're writing.

Claire: Coding is what I do every day and Clean Code really makes my job easy. It makes sure that the code shows all the information I need. It makes it easy to find and easy to read and it keeps all the information I don't need at that moment on the side. And with that, I can really focus on what matters, which is how to implement the best feature or fix or solve the problem I have that day.

Kirti: I've been in the development field for the last two decades and I can confirm that Clean Code is fundamental to software. Great software is not possible without Clean Code because it makes your core, your codebase, strong. It's like your health. If you don't take care of your health from the beginning, it can have consequences. Same thing with software. If it's strong from the core, it's going to be better overall.

What are three words that describe the future of Clean Code in the tech industry?

Megan: It's "foundational" - where you start coding. The second is "quality" because it allows you to have quality code reviews. And the third is "speed."

Ashelena: The first word is "standard" - it should undoubtedly be the standard. The next word I would use is "secure" - software should be error-free. And finally, "growth" - having Clean Code means that we can push out more software and solve more problems faster

Jean: Standard. Efficiency. Effectiveness.

Claire: I want it to be the norm. I want it to be easy and I want it to be everywhere.

Kirti: Clean Code is not optional. Clean Code is the standard.

We want to hear from you! Tell us what women have inspired you in your tech career by visiting our Community discussion.