GitGuardian - Developing code security for the devops generation with a woman's touch by Carole Winqwist

Nicole Kreider
Account Manager
Helene Hartmann
Account Manager
Julia Buchner
Product Manager
Alina Tugolukova
Software Engineer

Video Transcription

Hello, everyone. Welcome to this uh G guardian session, meet and greet. I'm really happy to be here today. I'm Carol Winquist. I'm the coo CMO of G Guardian and just a little introduction. Git Guardian is a French cybersecurity scale up. We develop code security solutions.Um And our main focus is on uh secret detection if any one of you know what it is. Um We also have a session later today where I explain a bit more about this. So please join us if you, if you're interested. Um Today, I'm here with uh four of my colleagues, Alina Julia Nicole and Ellen and I'll let them introduce themselves while answering my questions. And I also would like this session to be interactive as much as possible. So if you have questions, you can go through the Q and A or the chat. Julia will monitor the chat and I'll look into the Q and A for answering your questions. So um maybe Julia, we can start with you if you can introduce yourself and tell me how you entered uh the tech industry.

Uh Thanks Carol. Uh I'm uh on um I'm in the product. Uh the product team. I'm a product manager and I fall into the deck quite, uh, quite like, uh, the most ordinary geek movie. Uh, my mother bought me a computer when I was six and I used it a lot and not only for video games but a little bit and, uh, I start progressively, I start repairing, building my own computers, working on software, et cetera, et cetera. Uh, I become the tech, the family tech everything. Every time there was something broken like the printer. Uh it was me, we were repairing it. So when the question of my two days come, um and what will I do after the bachelor degree? The road was almost ready. It was computer science. So that's how I fall into to the tech industry.

OK. Thanks Julia. And, and maybe we move to uh uh uh even more techy person because she's a software engineer. So Alina, how, how did you fall into the potion?

Yes. Uh I think uh so yeah, I'm a software engineer in uh good guardian. And uh mm I started, I think uh my journey from being very interested in uh mathematics so high school, it was all about that and I was more thinking about majoring in this domain and I think what I like the most in uh that is uh to have some kind of uh um mathematical problem and uh thinking about it uh trying to come up with different uh solution and uh uh eventually the feeling of being able to solve it.

So this kind of feeling uh I always liked, it gives a kind of a sense of uh achievement. And so later I found the same kind of feeling with uh some uh programming algorithm uh problems and I decided to major in computer science. And uh so now I work in a software engineer and um I'm kind of happy that on every day basis, I can experience the same kind of things that I like to do to have some mental challenges and to uh to come up with uh with a solution.

And just a question since you're not French, right? You come from another country. And is, is it uh because in France we have a problem with getting women into the engineering space. Is it also a problem in your country or less than in France you would say?

Uh Yeah. Um I, yes, it's also the case in my country. Uh But um but I think the difference uh is less, I would say we had uh exactly like more or less the same number of uh um uh women and men in uh in university. Um Like I, I would say even 50 to 50 but uh maybe eventually, yeah, the girls went more to some other roles than uh software engineering. Uh Q A product owner, product manager. And a lot of also they um did uh do work now. As a software engineer. So I really, it's a surprise for me but I think in France, the, the the difference is uh is much bigger.

OK. Yeah. So some country managed to get more women into, into tech roles, I guess. And um for you Nicole, were you always in the tech industry? I mean, you're, you're not really in a tech role at the Guardian, but maybe you can explain how you, you also joined the, the tech industry.

Yeah. So uh it started somewhat young for me as well. My dad uh was not a software engineer, but he ended up really enjoying developing his own software and he created his own software to run sports tournaments. And so growing up, I was around him uh patching that software and deploying the software and just using it all the time and traveling with him. And uh so later on in life after I got my degree at university, which wasn't in anything technical. Um I was looking at what careers could be interesting for me and software ended up being uh a really great fit. And so I started in a sales role and then I moved to an it software company and uh I became a sales engineer and uh after uh doing that for a while, um I found that I actually really enjoyed that a lot. And so I spent more time building relationships with other de departments who relied on us and one of those that became a new function for us was a security, security tooling set and, uh, that security department needed, uh, sa sales engineers who were able to be interested in it and to be able to learn it and speak to it.

And they ended up coming to me and, uh, saying that maybe I could be interested and maybe I could be a good fit for it. And so it was from there that I got introduced to the security side and uh it ended up being awesome, like it's, there's always something new. Uh I kind of feel like I'm doing good for the world in a cool way. Uh And so, yeah, I've enjoyed it and now I'm entirely on the security side uh working as an account manager. So both uh a sales engineer role still as well as uh working a bit on the sales side. So it's a great combination of the two.

Yeah, great. And, and uh maybe uh Ellen on your side, I think you have a full, also full profile. Sure. University and your work.

Sure. So it's not going to be super original. So I heard that that mom uh so same story for me here. Uh I was good at math. So my dad said, well, you should be an engineer. I graduated as a, as a security engineer because at the time I graduated, there were like uh very high profile security like attacks and it was, uh it was super exciting. Um Now I realized I wanna work in that area, but a person, what gives me energy is to work with other people. And though I really enjoyed, you know, the mental challenge that you talked about Elena before I really liked it, like, you know, solving problems, coding and et cetera. It was really cool. But then I realized I'd ended up like working with a computer all day, all by myself and I wanted to work with and for other people. Uh So that's where I decided to move to more consulting roles or project management roles. And now I'm a sales. Uh um So really also just like uh like you said before, Nicole, I'm, I, I love that field. I, I'm super happy to have like a positive contribution to the world.

Um I think uh I've developed some competence too uh which as a woman is a, wow, it's hard to uh to have that feeling because we uh very often have uh the imposter syndrome. But um yeah, it's, it's really cool. It's uh exciting, cool. We meet great people. Get a chance to uh to contribute.

Yeah. And since we had all these technical profile, maybe I can also reassure some other women that you can also work in tech and not have studied it. So it's, it's my kind of profile. So I studied international law so completely different. And then I studied also a bit of marketing, but I've always worked in the tech industry, the software industry and as for Alina and the other girls here, what really drives me is the technology, the the fact that to understand complex system and to uh bring a solution to the market and be able to articulate the message, articulate the value for our customers and our prospects.

I love the challenge because uh dealing with technical products, it's not, we are not selling. Sometimes I say we're not selling shampoo, right? We, we need to understand the need and greet and uh open the hood and be ready to understand and to challenge ourselves every day because it's, if it's not your profile as it's, I'm not an engineer. Sometimes it's, it's tough, but it's also really great because it's never easy. And this is what I like every day. So I think it's a bit of what all of you said. Um this challenge, intellectual challenge is really what makes me, you know, go to work every day. Um Maybe I can jump into different questions. Uh maybe back to the sales role, Nicole Alan. Uh Do you think it's, uh it's an advantage to be a woman into a sales relationship or a consulting relationship in a man's world because you're facing a lot of men? Is it an advantage or it's more a problem? How do you, do you have any, anything to say about that

Carol? That's a really tough question? Super tough question. So, you know what I led it to Nicole.

I think naturally a lot of women have some really cool relationship building and empathy skills that uh maybe are more natural to us than our male counterparts. And I think that is so important when you're working in a sales role or sort of customer facing role where you're not just out here pitching a product, you're actually trying to solve a problem and you're trying to build a relationship with somebody so that they know that they can trust you so that they know that you're giving them the best advice and that you are going to solve this problem that they're facing.

So I think absolutely, like a women are really, really successful in these roles and they're vital to a company strategy, I think because of these relationship building and empathy skills specifically. Obviously, there's a lot more, but those are two of the main ones that come to mind.

Yeah. And, and, and uh Ellen, do you want to add anything or? No?

I do. I, I agree. I agree. Uh Sometimes it's hard because uh maybe they won't take you as seriously as uh as you would if, if you were a man. But uh, but I really agree with what Nicole said before that we add something else.

Yeah. And I think we have angles right to um to take the lead and, and to position ourselves and to be listened to, I think it's, we, we should always think that people are going to listen and, and be in a top position rather than, you know, in a below position in a way and, and believe in what we are putting together and, and be a bit strong, I think, um just a question with, for you Alina because I have a belief, uh maybe it's, I'm completely wrong because you said, you know, software engineering is about math.

But I have a belief that uh computer, computer science and computer science is also about language. And usually women are very good at languages, you know, learning them and, and communication and, and so I don't understand why so many women are afraid of going to, you know, uh development because I think they believe development is all about math when I think there is a component of language that we should take into account and also a lot of components around um design and front the front, for example, front development, you have a lot of design and stuff where women have talents.

So I don't know, is it something you believe too or I'm completely wrong?

Uh Yeah, I think uh you're very right that uh it's not uh really mandatory to uh to, to major in math or uh to have uh to even like uh math or uh I know many, many people, not only women but uh uh many engineers who were not either interested in math or uh uh they were not maybe very good, but now they are uh good uh software developers.

So it's uh I think what relates to those two fields is really like a liking of problem solving. And uh I think in um both of them, you can find the, the same uh the same challenge. But yeah, it's uh uh rarely we would uh re really use uh what uh what we study in mass in everyday life as a software engineer and about languages. I it's an interesting point. I never thought about it uh from the uh from this way because indeed it's uh like programming languages and uh studying languages. Um Are there any similarities uh uh um ha uh hard to say. But uh um

yeah, I, I think about it as a system, right? And I think women can have a very logical mind too and, and therefore the system should be, I think one of the mistake we do in some countries. And I believe in France, one of the mistake we do is that we select people by math only when it comes to having people being developers or being technical when we should have a wider panel of uh capacities. And we would get more developers, more technical people because we, we have a shortage because I think we narrow down our selection on too few items that are not and, and these items. Um I don't know if you're aware of, but we had a change in our, in, in France in the way, uh, people, uh, went to graduation in, in high school where you could choose math or not as an option. They made this mistake like two years ago and they had a drop of 50% of women because women prefer to choose history, economics. Uh, I don't know, uh, biology and not math. And so they lost so many, uh, mass, uh, graduates because of this mistake. Um, and, and I think it's, it's really important to help people understand that, uh, you know, math is not the absolute and they can go through other elements of, of, uh, of studies.

Yes. But, yeah, you're, but you're right also, um, also in, uh, in Ukraine in my country, uh, to start a, of the studies of the major studies, uh, you would need to pass, uh, in, uh, either mathematics or physics. And, uh, it's true that, uh, you may not be so much interested so it could kind of, uh, limit your options, uh, by what the subjects you prefer in school. Um, it's, uh, very true and I think it is, uh, it is something that, uh, we as a society could work on. Uh, but, uh, also I know many, many, uh, like girlfriends that, uh, um, majored in something else in medicine, in journalism, in, uh, in some other, uh, fields that they didn't find finally, which are maybe you could think of, uh, the subjects that are more frequently chosen by women but finally they didn't find themselves in the subjects and, uh, later they, uh, uh, started, uh, developing on their own and they really found it.

So it's the same shame that they spent some years of studying something that they, uh, just because it was more, uh, let's say, natural path for them.

Yeah. And, and Julia, I see you're a bit stuck in the image but maybe you can, you can also still uh you, you're into a product. Do you think there is something that women see differently and to uh you know, uh dealing with the development? I mean, the product management of maybe the, the U I or I don't know, is there anything or not really? You work as, as if we, you know, you were a man or?

Yeah. Uh you mean a difference between uh a different view kind of view we can brought to the, to the

job. Yeah, exactly. Is there something or not really? And, and you just have the same approach as your colleagues? I

think we cannot, we, we, we definitely can have the same approach. Uh There is a lot of uh so there is a lot of a way to do a project to design it. So as any other person, a man or a woman can work on it and give his own touch. So instead of asking what a woman can bring different uh then men to the product uh and the product development in general. Uh I think we sh we can remember that we already brought a lot of change. There is, there are 1000 of name uh that participate to build what are computer science now? Uh For, for example, you have a dilemma which, which um help to develop the Wi fi uh that is still used in a lot of uh devices. There is Ada Lovelace Marga Hamilton. So there is a lot already, a lot of women that put the touch in product development and it in general. So we forgot a lot of them. And we, I think sometimes we have to prove that we are relevant in the tech industry. Whereas I feel that we are, we already did that we are all, we are already relevant to this, to this industry.

Um So

yeah, I I agree with you on, on the, on the software. Now, there are some products, I mean, I always remember some people telling me that if you go to uh you know, uh air condition air conditioning systems, they're developed by four men of, you know, 80 kg and 50 that are always hot and, and we freeze in rooms. And I'm more looking at the US because that's how may maybe Nicole you can, you can explain that. But in the US, you're always freezing and the men, they are always hot because the system is developed by men for their way of living. Right. So there are some bias like this, but you're right. In software, it's maybe a bit less, I would say.

I, I remember uh the, it's quite a recent one but there is an ad that was, I think it's for that. It did, uh, for a, for a car and they did uh an, uh, an advertising where they talk about a car where nothing, uh, no, all the technology that was built by women, for example, the, a lot of stuff were out and it was kind of weird because there were no safety. No. Uh, well, being there is a lot of, uh, of, uh, things, sorry, I don't have the name in France, for example, Deist that wasn't present in the, in the car because it has been made by women. So I think there is a, there is this thing on all product developing. Yes, the woman can give their own, uh, their own view and their own own sensibility as Nicole was talking about previously.

Mhm. Mhm.

Yeah, I agree. Um, Nicole or Helen, do you think there are cliches uh, in, you know, in us working in this industry that we need to break or we're over that and everybody now, you know, has integrated the women into the world of technology.

Oh, yeah, I do. I think, I mean, there's stereotypes for everything, right? I think for a lot of women, there tends to be some cliches or stereotypes like s like, uh, we're very sensitive, we're very soft, we're afraid of conflict. Um, uh, you know, maybe if you really wanna get worse, like, we're not able to think for ourselves, like all these sorts of things and I think in terms of breaking them, it's just a matter of, like, more so being confident in, in who you are and being confident enough to present that, you know, when we're speaking to customers or when we're prospecting and you know, doing a sales pitch to a potential customer, you know, we're, we're communicating clearly and very directly to solve a problem and we're confident in what we're saying because we know that we're fully capable and all these things.

So and you know, you're not overly sensitive and so I don't think, I don't think those are true stereotypes or cliches anyway, obviously, but I think those are something that we commonly run into on the sales side. Oh,

so yeah, so there are some cliches. Um However, I, I see like a very positive trend um in, in our field in security. Uh There are more and more s IOS so female CS so chief information, security officers and females who are, you know, like visible. And so I think this really tends to um to like to give us more visibility and to make it clear that you can like work in this area and be a female too. So, yeah.

Yeah, there is one thing, um, I've, I've been into different, uh, sys in my previous company. Uh, we had something called Women Network and Networking and I was coaching some younger girls to, in their career and there was one thing that I always, uh, told them is it's all about the attitude and the posture as Nicole was saying, if you're confident, I don't see why people would not think, you know what you're talking about, right?

This is something that we need to assume. I mean to, to make sure that we convey that message and that attitude towards the the other people. So then they see, OK, this person, she knows what she does. I can trust her and, and go with that because that's, and, and I don't think it's, it has anything to do with being a woman or being a man. Iii I think it's more, you know, just be, you know, sure about what you say. And, and I think there are some um maybe some culture or probably some culture where you learn this younger than in other culture. And one of my belief is that we need to work with very young uh girls um in the in schools, for example, where we should um tell them, you know, first that they can be whatever they want. They, they should, they should have, you know, all the dreams they want and, and not limit them to certain type of roles or, or, or, um, career and also, uh um, put them in front of technology very early, very young. So they become completely integrated with it and they are not afraid of it. Like, oh, this is, this is not for me. This is too techie, I'm not for, you know, I'm, I'm, this is not for me.

But if, if you're playing with computers and as you said, all of us, all of us here and more you than me. But you played with computer, your parents put you in front of a computer very young and therefore you didn't see that as a limit. Right. And I think if we work in schools with, you know, girls 56, they should be, you know, in front of computers and try to play with it and find it playful because I'm sure why, why wouldn't they find it playful? I don't know if you agree with that. But that's one of the thing I, I think we should work on as, as a, as a country or as countries.

Yeah, I, I, this, this made me think about and, uh, something I go through when I would just, uh, when I, I was searching for what will, what's today's will I do? And I remember that I had, uh, um, um, um, uh, um, an orientation, uh, meeting with somebody at my, uh, high school and I, I wasn't really good in mathematics. And I still talk to this lady that I want to do computer science to this. And she told me no, it's mathematics. You are not, not good at it. And in addition of that mathematics are not for women, she totally tell me that I go back to my mother and II, I tell her what this woman told her and my mother told me, yeah, but it's you that should decide what you want to do with your life. Nobody even me can tell you that I can advise you. I can help you. But you are the only uh the only owner of your story and uh your life and your job. So, yeah, maybe this advice could be put to a bigger, a bigger uh next organization.

I think we, we're nearly to the end of this, of this session. Maybe uh anyone wants to do a closing remark or just uh one thing that I want to say to everyone is um at G Guardian, we are trying to hire more women. We want, you know, more women in our, in our ranks. We, we, we try to have them work for in all, in all uh segments, you know, sales, uh marketing, but also engineering uh product and everything. So if anything, um if you're interested, we have a lot of open positions and we are looking for more women for sure. Um And it's always, you know, difficult to, to have a 5050 in, in, in our industry because there are not enough uh women uh in engineering, for example, even if we want to hire them, we don't find them. So if you are studying now or if you are looking to choose of your subjects, go into software, you'll find a job like this because we are looking for um smart, smart girls who want to uh you know, uh challenges and want to uh to solve complex uh complex problems. So go for it.

Alina may be uh closing remark to push people to come this

industry. Yeah, I understand. But I mean, we, we, we can do, we can try to hire more women. But uh eventually it's all consequences of the decisions that uh we took as a young girl, girls some many years ago. So it will for sure. I, I I'm sure that it will happen. It will just uh take some uh some more time. But uh eventually it's just a shame that this is his career is very fulfilling and very, I don't see any reason why, why would the uh why wouldn't it possible for uh uh a any person to do it? And uh um it's, it's also part of an

option. Yeah, it's an option and it's also possible to have a family. I know I have two kids, Ellen. You, you're, you're also a mother. So, and you, you manage to do your career, I guess even if it's not always easy but, you know, it's uh something we can do, right? Yeah. Sure. Sure. Yeah. So it's uh ok. Well, I, I'll close it for, uh, for today. I thank you, everyone. Uh I don't see any questions into the Q and A, uh anything in the chat, uh Irina or there's

like one question, uh if we could give some like concrete examples, uh what does a job in tech look like? Um So who wants to start here?

Um OK. So we, we could be very quick. We, we have uh different types of jobs. So you have the very technical jobs more what Alina is doing. Um or, or Julia because they're working deep in the product. But you can also have marketing roles or sales role where you need to understand, but you don't need to be as technical maybe. So there are different grades and of course you can work in, in finance or, or um even legal and there you, you need even less uh technical knowledge still, you need to understand what we're talking about. But that's the different gradients. Basically, there are different gradients of techniques that you need to go deep into. Um Do we have any graduate roles? Yes, we, we have open roles for um end of studies uh internship and graduation. Yeah, you, you should just look into uh into our um Good and then careers. Uh we have all the open position but you can also send your resume um like this and I think I need to close it for today. Thanks a lot and see you in the office. Bye bye. Thank you. Bye bye.